Phillies top prospect's career night proves again that he is too good for Single-A

It's time to see Aidan Miller face stiffer competition.
Philadelphia Phillies No. 3 prospect Aidan Miller
Philadelphia Phillies No. 3 prospect Aidan Miller / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Aidan Miller was picked before the season as a candidate to have a breakout year. It looks like the Philadelphia Phillies' MLB Pipeline No. 3 prospect is doing just that. He continues to impress against competition he's clearly too good for in Single-A.

Miller made the case for a promotion again this week with a career game against the Tampa Tarpons. He went 4-for-5 on the night, but that is just a drop in the bucket compared to what he has been doing with the bat for the Clearwater Threshers so far this season.

The 19-year-old, who has exclusively played shortstop so far in his professional career, got his season off to a hot start. He made headlines early on with a scorching start at the plate that included a 427-foot home run he launched at 106.3 mph.

The 27th overall pick in last year's draft has continued his trend of punishing Single-A pitching with lots of hits. Lots of extra-base hits and plenty of hard-hit balls. After hitting .359 with a 1.024 OPS over his first nine games, he has posted a .317 batting average and an .879 OPS in his last 10 contests. He has four doubles, a home run and four stolen bases over that span.

But more impressive than the counting stats is how he's doing it — with hard contact and high exit velocities.

Phillies top prospect's career night proves again that he is too good for Single-A

This past Wednesday, Miller's four-hit night featured three hard-hit balls over 102 mph in a Threshers 9-8 loss. After starting his night with an 88.1 mph double, he mashed a 102.6 mph two-run home run. He wasn't finished there, however. He laced a 104.2 mph single in the seventh and ended the night with his hardest-hit ball of the game, a 107.2 mph double.

He finished the game with four RBI and now has driven in 15 on the season. On the year, he's hitting .338 with a 950 OPS, three homers, eight doubles and nine stolen bases. He has the highest slugging percentage and the second-highest batting average and OPS among qualified hitters in the Florida State League.

Miller has started to tap into his power potential after putting on muscle in the offseason, according to MLB.com's Ben Weinrib. His top exit velocity last year was 105 mph, and, per Weinrib, he already has seven batted balls hit harder than that this season.

The Phillies' minor league infield coordinator Adam Everett gave Miller a glowing review, not just about his power but also about his awareness of the strike zone, plate discipline and work ethic.

"He's a big strong kid. He sees the ball well. He swings [at] strikes. He doesn't swing [at] too many pitches off the plate, which is a lot of the reason why he hits it so well," Everett said, per Weinrib. "He works at it. It's one thing to have ability and talent, and it's another to have ability and talent and work hard and be humble about it and keep grinding and wanting to get better. Ever since the day we've signed him, he's been impressive."

What does Aidan Miller have to do to earn a promotion to High-A?

We don't know what benchmarks the Phillies have set for Miller to earn a promotion. If they wanted to see him strike out less than he did in his short 10-game stint with the Threshers last season, he has been doing that so far. He's striking out at a 20 percent rate, down from 22.7 percent in 2023.

He's not walking as much, but it's fair to venture that's because he has been more aggressive. Miller is pulling the ball way more (46 percent) than last season (25.9 percent), which is obviously helping him tap into his power. He's still going opposite field 31.7 percent of the time, though.

He is hitting more ground balls, up to almost half his batted balls at 48.4 percent. That's not exactly what you want to see, especially because his line drive rate has dropped from 25.9 percent to 19.4 percent.

We'll have to wait and see how long the Phillies keep Miller at Single-A before relenting with a promotion. Even with the high ground ball rate, it will be hard for the organization to keep him trapped in Clearwater for much longer.

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