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Tigers take Andrew Miller with the 6th pick

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Postby moochman » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:43 pm

Much thanks, Danno ;-D
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Postby Dannomyte » Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:59 pm

Baseball America names Andrew Miller College Player of the Year!

Andrew Miller's 13-2, 2.11 season stands as a key reason for North Carolina's first College World Series berth since 1989. But the junior lefthander would rather be known as one of many Tar Heels piled atop one another after Chad Flack's game-ending home run to clinch a super-regional series win at Alabama.

"I think he kind of feels uncomfortable talking about himself," North Carolina coach Mike Fox said of his junior lefthander. "You know how kids can be, they don't want people to think they think they're better than anybody. His parents said he's always been like that. Even in high school he didn't really want the attention. He's a big kid at heart and a great teammate."

But Miller, all 6 feet and 6 inches of him, can't hide from the attention now. His dominant junior season, in which he posted a 119-36 strikeout-walk ratio and allowed seven extra-base hits (and only one home run) in 111 innings, not only helped him meet a personal goal of reaching Omaha, but also earned him Baseball America's College Player of the Year award.

"I appreciate all the awards and the accolades, but the biggest memory for me is going to be we went to Omaha and what we accomplished there," Miller said. "I certainly wouldn't want to have a good year on a team that's not as good. I've never really been a part of a team like this."

First Lefty

Miller becomes the sixth pitcher to win the award in the last 25 years and the first lefthander to ever claim the award. The honor--and humility--came in the middle of perhaps the best week in Miller's life. The Tigers drafted him sixth overall on a Tuesday, and three days later he struck out 11 Alabama batters over seven innings without allowing an earned run to put his team just one game from Omaha. He used his mid-90s four-seam fastball, 88-90 mph two-seamer and power slider to dominate the Crimson Tide, recording three strikeouts against leadoff man Emeel Salem.

"There's a reason he's the sixth pick in the draft. He's a great pitcher. And it's really hard to solve a guy like that," said Salem, who hit .356 and was the only consensus selection on the all-Southeastern Conference first team.

"He has three pitches and even movement on a 97 mile an hour fastball. We didn't capitalize when we had chances but he didn't make enough mistakes for us to get anything going."

Good luck blending in after a game like that. Even Alabama fans were asking for Miller's autograph the next day. After honoring those requests, Miller settled into the North Carolina bullpen. Mr. All-American (the only player on both BA's preseason and postseason first-teams) was down there holding a walkie-talkie, serving as the team's communicator by relaying the coaches' wishes from the dugout as to which relievers should warm up.

That perch gave Miller a great viewpoint to watch Flack's heroics. "The great performance in the most exciting baseball game I've ever seen," Miller said of the sophomore first baseman giving UNC a 5-4 lead with a three-run homer in the eighth inning and then turning a 7-6 deficit into an 8-7 win with a two-out, two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the super-regional.

"I just ran in from the bullpen as fast as I could," Miller said. "I basically was right with Chad rounding third base. It was a unique feeling I don't think I've ever had.

"That's been our goal all year to get to Omaha. A lot of people started to think that Carolina is a team that never really makes it--a pretty talented team that falls apart at the end of the year. We're finally going to Omaha and I can't wait."

Fox, who was coaching third base, said he'll never forget the look on Miller's face as he sprinted past, walkie-talkie still in hand, to join Flack and the rest of the team in a giant celebratory mass. It was all arms, legs, hats and cleats. Nearly impossible to discern any particular player. Just all Tar Heels. Just the way Miller likes it. ... 61705.html
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Postby Dannomyte » Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:18 am

Andrew Miller wins Clemens award

HOUSTON -- A southpaw topped a trio of right-handers Wednesday night for the Roger Clemens Award.

University of North Carolina left-hander Andrew Miller was the recipient of the third annual award at the Marriott Westchase of Houston. Miller won the award over right-handers Eddie Degerman of Rice, Tim Lincecum of the University of Washington and Brad Lincoln of the University of Houston.

"I never really thought it would happen," Miller said. "Those other guys had such great years. It's just such a huge honor to be here. It was in the back of my mind. To win an award with Roger Clemens' name on it is amazing."

For Miller, this last month has been a whirlwind. First of all, North Carolina played in the College World Series finals. Then, the Detroit Tigers selected Miller No. 6 overall in this season's First-Year Player Draft.

Now this.

"It's a huge honor to even make the finals," said Miller, who finished his junior season with a 13-2 record, a 2.11 ERA and 119 strikeouts. "I'm just happy to be here."

While the award is special, a simple 10-minute conversation with The Rocket about the art of pitching might have been even more memorable for Miller.

"He talked to all of us and I think everybody was in such awe," Miller said. "It was a conversation that I don't think any of us will forget. He talked to us about pitching, which is what we all love to do. That is so special to have Roger Clemens talk to us about pitching."

Like Clemens, Miller is a power pitcher. So does his talent coupled with this award mean he can live up to The Rocket?

"I don't think anybody can expect anything like that," Miller said. "Right now, I just hope I make it to the Major Leagues. He's probably the greatest pitcher of all-time."

Another pitcher Miller has been compared to is Yankees left-hander Randy Johnson. At 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, Miller's got the build of the Big Unit, if not the height.

Still, Miller isn't ready to step in Johnson's shoes just yet.

"I think that's another lofty comparison," Miller said. "I enjoy those kind of things, but I can't put too much into that. Those guys are out of my league."

At UNC, Miller set career marks for strikeouts in just three seasons, and he led the Tar Heels to the College World Series this season for the first time since 1989.

Miller showcased his talent at the World Series in Omaha, where he picked up a save to put North Carolina into the championship series against Oregon State, which won the national championship.

But a second-place finish can't taint Miller's season. He was named Athletic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year with 13 wins in 16 starts. Miller was just as good against ranked teams, winning five of six decisions with a 1.27 ERA.

Miller was able to win that many games because he never really gave up the big hit. He allowed just seven extra base hits, including one home run, in 110 innings during the regular season.

Miller wasn't the only candidate with a spectacular season. Degerman led Rice to a Conference USA title, Linecum led the nation with 199 strikeouts and Lincoln was the Pitcher of the Year in his conference.

"You're going to see a lot of them because they wouldn't be here if they weren't deserving," Clemens said.

Angels right-hander Jered Weaver is proof of that. Weaver was the recipient of the Clemens Award in 2004, and he's already in the Majors. Right-hander Luke Hochevar, last year's winner, was selected No. 1 overall this season by the Royals in the draft. ... &fext=.jsp
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