MLB Draft 2012: Shelby Miller's Velocity Drop Shows Fickleness Of Draft-Day Profiling

Ahead of the 2012 MLB Draft—and ahead of our inevitable fetishization of whomever the St. Louis Cardinals select in it—it's worth talking a little about Keith Law's assessment of Shelby Miller, the Cardinals' top prospect from the moment he was draft No. 19 overall in 2009. Back then—and since, when he's made his uninterrupted climb up into the Top 10 of most MLB prospect lists—he was lauded for his mid-to-high-90s fastball. Now, per Law, his fastball is down to "90-93," but he remains a top prospect (and an effective pitcher in AAA Memphis.)

Forget about his effectiveness: The Shelby Miller we get in 2013 might look nothing like the one we were promised in 2009, no matter how good he is. Prospects make wild shifts like these all the time; the most confusing one for me has been the plight of longtime Tampa Bay Rays prospect Reid Brignac. In the low minors he was an imposing slugger who probably didn't have the glove to stick at shortstop; now he's an outstanding shortstop who doesn't have the bat to stick in the majors. To move across sports, it's a little like a more abrupt version of the change that occurs in the NBA periodically, a kind of Dan Majerle syndrome—where a ferocious dunker becomes, after he turns 25, a smooth three-point shooter.

Miller, in all likelihood, is fine. So when the Cardinals make their pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, just remember that the shortstop with the great arm and excellent speed might, before he's winning All-Star Games for the National League, end up a power-hitting catcher.

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