The Tale of Two Pitchers: Different Paths Same Destination

Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha chose different directions out of High School. I am not here to say one is better than the other. With the 2013 MLB Draft approaching, baseball players will be facing that same decision.

Shelby Miller was drafted by the Cardinals out of Brownwood High School in Texas in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Miller became one of the highest rated prospects in baseball. He was named the Cardinals’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2010 and he participated in the All-Star Futures Game in 2010 and 2011.

He committed to attend Texas A&M University on a scholarship to play college baseball for the Texas A&M Aggies baseball team. The St. Louis Cardinals selected Miller in the first round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. Rather than attend Texas A&M, Miller signed with the Cardinals, receiving a $2.875 million signing bonus on the August 17 deadline.

In 2009 and 2010 he pitched in Low-A ball at Quad Cities where he appeared in 26 games. He walked 33 and fanned 140 batters in those 2 years. In 2011, he split time between High-A baseball in Palm Beach and AA in Springfield, Missouri. He appeared in 25 games and was 11-6 on the year. In 2012 he found himself in AAA Memphis and struggled in the first half and put it together down the stretch. He got a September call-up to the Cardinals where he started the last game of the season appeared in 6 games.

During Spring Training he pitched well enough to get the nod to be on the Opening Day roster for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Michael Wacha left Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas as a baseball star. He was not highly sought after in the draft that season but he had a scholarship to play baseball at Texas A&M. As a Freshman, he appeared in 25 games and was 9-2 with a 2.90 ERA. He was named Freshman All American and Honorable Mention All-Big 12. He went 9-4 the next year where he fanned 123 batters and walked 30 in 130 innings pitched. He was named 3rd Team All American, 2nd Team All Big 12.

In his final year with the Aggies, Wacha posted a 9-1 win-loss record in 16 starts with 116 strikeouts and just 20 walks and a 2.06 earned run average.

Wacha started the 2013 season with the Memphis Redbirds of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League, going 4-0 with a league-leading 2.05 ERA in nine games started and 52.2 IP. He gave up 35 hits (5 HR), walking 15, striking out 34 with a .187 O-BA and a 0.95 WHIP. He made his major league debut on May 30, 2013 where he retired the first 13 batters he faced before a hit was made off him, a double in the fifth inning, who then scored after another hit. He pitched seven innings with 93 pitches (67 strikes), giving up only two hits and one run, walking none, and striking out six, leaving with a 2-1 lead. He also got his first major league hit.

NOW, that is the tale of how two young pitchers from the State of Texas, who could have been teammate at A&M,  found their way to the major leagues.

You can’t fault either of them for the path chosen because everyone has to do what is best for themself.

“Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want.”

-Robert G Allen