Shelby Miller was rumored to the key piece in the Cardinals' bid to land a starting pitcher, namely Roy Oswalt, last summer.
Miller is so well-regarded that the possibility made Cardinals fans think the young pitcher is too valuable to be part of a package for Oswalt.
That's the sign of a premium prospect. The thought of trading him for a player who's already established seems to be too steep of a price.
In Miller's case, the feelings of St. Louis' fan base seem to be on target.
He's next up in our breakdown of the best baseball prospects from a fantasy perspective.
As we mentioned in the first piece, we started this project with three rules of thumb: 1. Each player must be under 24 years old. 2. A position player has to have fewer than 100 at-bats in the majors, and a pitcher must have thrown fewer than 40 innings in the bigs. 3. The top 10 are ranked according to how effective we think they will be in fantasy baseball. The 2011 season would be nice, but we're more focused on how they will perform in the future and their staying power.
On to the Cardinals' hard-throwing No. 1 prospect.
7. Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals
- Height, weight: 6-3, 195
- Bats/throws: Right/right
- Born: Oct. 10, 1990 (20 on opening day)
- Rank on Baseball America's top 100 for 2011: 13
Two quotes to remember
- "I know it's a huge leap for a 20-year-old. I know it's been done." Miller to stltoday.com, on his desire to open the 2011 season at Class AA after pitching in low-Class A the year before
- "Just a bullet-throwing robot out there that works at the same pace throughout the game while showing no emotion or reactions to questionable calls, poor defense or his own mistakes." Baseball Prospectus' scouting report on Miller
Miller slipped to 19th overall in the first round of the 2009 draft because some teams felt his price was too high. Some teams are now kicking themselves after seeing how he produced in his first season as a professional.
Miller was 7-5 with a 3.69 ERA, which might not seem impressive. He also struck out 140 in 104 1/3 innings in 2010, displaying the lights-out fastball for which he is known.
In his final 13 starts, he was 6-2 with a 2.86 ERA. He's never pitched above lower-level Class A, but he's expected to make the jump to Double-A early in 2011 and could make his way to St. Louis as soon as 2012.
Baseball Prospectus compared Miller to Matt Cain. No word on whether St. Louis fans would approve of such a trade.
PREVIOUS: No. 8, Domonic Brown
NEXT: No. 6, Aroldis Chapman
2011 fantasy baseball rankings:
Catchers, First basemen, Second basemen, Shortstops, Third basemen, Designated hitters, Outfielders, Starting pitchers, Closers, Top 100 overall, Guide to our 2011 fantasy rankings, Guide to the top keepers
For updates, analysis and links during the season, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.