MLB Draft: Detroit Tigers Squeeze Value Out of First Round Picks

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Jun 2, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Andrew Miller throws against the Seattle Mariners during the eleventh inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

2006 MLB Draft

Andrew Miller, SP – North Carolina

It’s tough to look back and realize that the Detroit Tigers selected Andrew Miller one pick before the Dodgers took Clayton Kershaw, but in the end this picked worked out tremendously for Detroit.

Miller was one of college baseball’s big stars as a dominant lefty for North Carolina. He was named national player of the year by Baseball America and would be a sure-fire star in the big leagues. Miller has turned himself into a relief ace — he’s now dominating as the closer for the New York Yankees — but his road to this point was a long one.

Miller mad a handful of relief appearances for the Tigers in 2006, started 13 games in 2007, and looked like he might join the rotation full-time in 2008, but the Tigers pulled off a blockbuster offseason trade.

Miller ended up being (basically) one-half of the package that brought Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers from the Marlins. Willis never recouped his early-career magic, but Cabrera has grown into the greatest hitter of the current generation.

Miller spent three seasons with the Marlins floating between the majors and minors (without much success) before moving to Boston in 2011. He spent one up-and-down year in Boston as a spot starter before moving to the bullpen full-time and finally hitting his stride. He’s now in his fourth year of strong relief work.

Next: 2005 MLB Draft: Cameron Maybin