Dodgers Rookie Bobby Miller: Changeup Development Helped ‘A Lot This Year’

Bobby Miller turned in a strong rookie season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the focus now shifts to the postseason as the club looks to bring another World Series title back to the city.

Miller made his final tuneup start on Sunday, throwing 57 pitches with a focus on continuing to prepare for the playoffs as the regular season came to an end. The right-hander threw four innings while giving up just one hit and striking out for compared to one walk in the 5-2 victory.

Miller’s next start is set to come in the National League Division Series, and he’s looking forward to taking the mound for October baseball, as seen on SportsNet LA:

“I feel like I’m very ready for the postseason. I’m super excited for it. I learned a lot this year and really thankful to be a part of this team.”

In his final inning of work, Miller struck out Joc Pederson with a changeup to complete his fourth scoreless frame. With an electric fastball, that is generally Miller’s go-to pitch, but he also relies on a slider and multiple offspeed pitches, with the changeup being used the least.

However, that pitch has also been important for the 24-year-old in his development at the Major League level, where hitters generally don’t struggle much to catch up with 100 mph pitches unless they are paired with quality offspeed pitches:

“It’s always been a really good pitch for me, but it took me a while to realize how much I actually need that pitch in order to keep guys off of the fastball. I kind of just use it as a front-to-back velocity. It’s a pitch I sell better, more than most of my offspeed pitches to make it look like a heater out of my hand, unlike my other pitches. It’s helped me a lot this year.”

Miller still used his changeup for 16% of his pitches this season, which is only slightly below his slider usage (16.7%) and his curveball (18.5%), but he has the highest whiff rate on it at 39.9%, which is above an elite level.

Hitters are also hitting just .133 against the pitch and it has a hard hit rate of just 28% — both marks are the lowest average against any of his offerings.

On the season, Miller finished with an 11-4 record across 22 games, posting a 3.76 and 1.10 WHIP across 124.1 innings while striking out 119 batters.

When is Bobby Miller starting in NLDS?

Although the rotation order has yet to be officially set, manager Dave Roberts previously said Miller would pitch in one of the Dodgers’ first two games to open the NLDS. Roberts since indicated Kershaw is the likely option for Game 1, which puts Miller in line to start Game 2 of the NLDS on Monday, October 9.

The Dodgers will face either the Milwaukee Brewers or the Arizona Diamondbacks, depending on the results of their best-of-three Wild Card Series.

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