Cove Chatter 2016 Top Prospects: #19

Jalen Miller
A slick-fielding high school Miller. | Photo Credit: Unknown

San Francisco Giants Top 2016 Prospects

#19: Jalen Miller, SS, Age 19: Miller was one of the top prep SS and a top 50 overall prospect heading into the 2015 draft. He was still on the board in the 3rd round, and the Giants selected him. They signed him to an overslot $1.1M bonus and sent him to rookie ball. While he started hot, Jalen’s bat soon cooled off and he struggled offensively for most of the summer. He hit only .218/.292/.259 in 197 PA, but did steal 11 bases in 13 tries. His speed is rated as above average in the reports that I’ve read, and while he’s gotten a lot of compliments for his contact-oriented approach at the plate, it’s obvious he’s going to need plenty of time to develop his bat. Considering the Giants have the best homegrown infield in baseball, I’d say there’s absolutely no rush.

It seems like nearly every SS the Giants draft gets labeled as a future 2B, and already that’s the case with Miller. Depending on who you read, he either stands out for his defense or he doesn’t quite have the goods to stick at short. Personally, I don’t think the Giants are in any rush to move him off the position. MLB Pipeline rated him #7 in the organization last summer, dropping a Brandon Phillips comp on him in the write-up. For me, putting him near the bottom of the top 20 demonstrates the depth of talented players the Giants have in the farm system right now.  It’s also very hard for me to project guys at such a young age, but Miller sure was a pleasant surprise on draft day last June, and I’m excited to follow his development.


6 thoughts on “Cove Chatter 2016 Top Prospects: #19”

  1. I don’t get terribly upset about the whole ‘can’t play SS’ thing. That seems to be a very common assessment of SS candidates as the #1, #3, #7, #8, #9 Top-10 SS prospects at MLB have question marks as whether they can play SS and they’re already being ‘shunted’ (as it were) to 3B or 2B depending on arm strength. Truth is, it’s probably the second hardest position to fill after catcher. (Most would say SS, but I include pitch-framing which is extremely difficult to do and a good pitch framer, like Posey, is good for 2-to-3 hidden WAR.)

    Anyway, I understand why. MLB SS requires a great arm, great range, great reactions/quickness. And lots of very good college & prep players who came into the draft as SS’ just don’t have MLB SS tools. Panik and Duffy are prime examples of two excellent IFers who are, defensively, well above average at their positions yet don’t have MLB tools for SS.

    But it doesn’t hurt to give them a shot at the position since it’s so hard to fill. Even if they’re going to end up going down a different path sometime in their future. And with Miller, he’s got the tools for 2B and a SS’ glove, but the questions are arm strength and range.

    And, of course, he’s not the only one. With Arroyo it’s quickness (shunt to 3B). WIth Fox it’s fielding (shunt to CF).

  2. pretty much with you, dude.

    The BA & BP & rankings are a little too aggressive on the young guys for my taste as they have both Fox and Miller in the Top 10 and one of them more like Top 5. Let’s give them each a year and see what they’ve got against other young pros.

    1. Man, the more I read & watch about Fox, I’m starting to get pretty excited about the kid’s debut. But I’m certainly trying to keep things in check too. 18 is seriously young, and no experience is no experience. Can’t truly judge a player when they haven’t played against the best talent available.

  3. Miller-I think Miller is one of the best young hitters in the system.Has good speed,and a good arm.As he adds strength.All his tools should improve.I think the bat could be similar to Arroyo’s.The speed and arm give him the option to move to the outfield in the future.Should start 16′ in Augusta.

    Peace Cove

    1. Early on it seemed like he could breeze through the AZL just like Arroyo did, but Miller really struggled for most of the summer. I think he might need another crack at rookie ball, but maybe he has a great spring and shoots to Augusta?

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