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May 30, 2011 at 4:14 PM

The Book: Pawtucket 5.29.11

LHP Andrew Miller
Date: May 29, 2011
Team: Pawtucket Red Sox

Outing: 7.0 innings, 1 hit, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 earned runs allowed

Take: Mostly relying on his 91-93 MPH fastball, Miller effectively kept his heater down in the zone during the outing and limited the amount of solid contact against by moving the pitch around both sides of the plate. Throwing from about a mid ¾ arm slot, his fastball showed good life early in the performance, touching 95 twice in his first inning. He was able to maintain solid velocity deep into the game demonstrated when he reached back in his seventh inning of work to touch 94 MPH on a swinging strikeout. Miller’s fastball showed some late finish, but was mostly on the straight side. Batters were having a difficult time squaring it up due to him working consistently on the corners and out of the middle of the plate. When Miller missed with his fastball, he typically missed lower in the zone and off either side of the plate. He has a tendency to hang onto the ball too long and release it late in his delivery, which was the reason for instances of losing control of his fastball in spells during the outing.

Much of Miller’s command issues stem from trouble repeating his delivery and finding a consistent arm slot. It appears that he has settled in on throwing from a mid ¾ arm slot and looked more comfortable repeating it, but still fights himself some during his delivery. When Miller threw his 81-83 MPH changeup in the outing, he came from a higher arm angle and his mechanics throwing the offering were distinctly different than when he throws the fastball and slider. Despite showing some fade away from right-handed batters the deception with the pitch was inconsistent and hitters picked it up more quickly to take for balls. Miller also features a 77-81 MPH slider that showed good break down across the strike zone and into the dirt. He didn’t use either of his secondary offerings all that much, but his slider was the most effective when he established his fastball early in the count. Throwing 55 heaters out of 80 overall pitches, it was clear that Miller was working on becoming more consistent with his release point and repeating his optimal delivery. A building block outing, he still has work to do becoming more fluid and less jerky with his delivery, but Sunday’s performance was a step in the right direction.

CF Che-Hsuan Lin
Date: May 29, 2011
Team: Pawtucket Red Sox

2 for 5, 1 single, 1 double, 2 runs scored, 1 stolen base

Take: Recently promoted to Triple-A, Lin looked comfortable at the plate in the game and produced three instances of very solid contact. The best charge he put into the ball actually resulted in an out as he picked on a first pitch fastball during his second at-bat to rifle a liner right at the third baseman. Aggressive in his first three at-bats, Lin did a nice job going with a 1-0 fastball leading off the game to sting a line drive into right field for a single and then promptly stole second base by getting an excellent jump off the pitcher. He worked himself into a 3-1 count during his third at-bat before getting an inside fastball and quickly clearing the ball out to drive it to the warning track in left field for a double. Lin did look like he was cheating a bit and clearing his hips out early, but did a nice job getting the head of the bat out in front of the baseball to drive it well. His last two at-bats resulted in weak contact as he fisted a popup to the second baseman and yanked a changeup away to the third baseman for a slow roller.

A solid defensive player, Lin got excellent reads on the balls hit in his direction, including ranging deep on a ball hit over his head to reel it in with ease. He also made two nice plays coming in on soft liners to grab them before they dropped in for hits. Lin’s defensive game is trending towards becoming potentially elite at the major league level as he continues to slow things down and limit some of his instances of rushing throws needlessly. The majority of Lin’s work in Triple-A centers on creating better contact and cleaning up his swing mechanics to help him drive the ball more frequently. When making weak contact, he gets himself too far out in front of the ball and the head of the bat drags, causing him to chop, push, or roll-over pitches. In this game, Lin did a much better job of staying back and using his hands, which resulted in three instances of very solid contact for him and the ball coming off his bat well.