Red Sox prospect Tyler Miller caps off productive weekend with Low-A Salem by crushing walk-off home run

Tyler Miller’s fifth home run of the season came at just the right time for Low-A Salem on Sunday night.

After Adenys Bautista blew a save opportunity by allowing the Lynchburg Hillcats to score two runs in the top half of the ninth inning, Miller was set to lead off the bottom of the ninth in what had become an 8-8 ballgame.

Having already gone 0-for-1 with one strikeout and a pair of walks on a rain-filled evening at Salem Memorial Ballpark, Miller found himself matched up against Hillcats right-hander Brauny Munoz. The left-handed hitter worked a 2-2 count before crushing a walk-off homer well over the right field wall to lift the Salem Sox to a 9-8 victory.

The 2022 season has been a tough one for Miller to date. It’s the 22-year-old’s first full campaign as a pro after being selected by Boston in the ninth round of last summer’s amateur draft out of Auburn University.

Following Sunday’s clutch performance, Miller is batting .193/.271/.370 (80 wRC+) with four doubles, one triple, five homers, 15 RBIs, 17 runs scored, three stolen bases, 10 walks, and 50 strikeouts over 31 games (133 plate appearances) this year.

After closing out the 2021 season with Salem, Miller returned to the Carolina League affiliate earlier this spring. The Alabama native held his own in April (122 wRC+), but had seen his production at the plate crater up until the latter half of Salem’s latest series with Lynchburg.

Miller played in the series opener last Tuesday and then rode the bench for two straight days. Since returning to Salem’s lineup on Friday, Miller has reached base in seven of his last 14 trips to the plate while putting together a three-game hitting streak.

Defensively, the 6-foot-2, 193 pounder has logged 62 innings at first base, 97 2/3 innings at third base, and 55 innings in left field. He has yet to commit an error at either of the three positions.

Miller, who does not turn 23 until December, is not yet regarded as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. He will likely spend the rest of the season in Salem before working his way up to High-A Greenville next year.

On that note, though, it will be interesting to see if Miller can use the momentum he gained over the weekend to turn his 2022 season around for the better beginning in Fredericksburg, Va. on Tuesday.

(Picture of Tyler Miller courtesy of the Salem Red Sox)


Red Sox select Auburn infielder Tyler Miller with No. 256 pick in 2021 MLB Draft

The Red Sox have selected Auburn University infielder Tyler Miller with their ninth-round pick in the 2021 MLB first-year player draft at No. 256 overall.

Miller, 21, was regarded by Baseball America as the 397th-ranked prospect coming into the draft.

Previously selected by the Pirates in the 23rd round of the 2018 draft out of Spanish Fort High School, the Alabama native opted to attend East Mississippi Community College before transferring to Auburn for his sophomore year in 2020.

Most recently, the left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing Miller compiled a .313/.354/.601 batting line to go along with 10 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 61 RBI, 38 runs scored, three stolen bases, 15 walks, and 44 strikeouts over 51 games (231 plate appearances) with the Tigers this spring.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 193 pounds, Miller is quite versatile, as he has seen time at left field, right field, shortstop, third base, and first base throughout his two-year career at Auburn.

According to his Baseball America scouting report, “Miller’s power went almost exclusively to the pull side this spring and it came with a strikeout rate close to 20%, but more concerning than those whiffs might be a lack of walks, as he took a free pass just 15 times in 231 plate appearances—a 6.5% walk rate that was towards the bottom for SEC hitters. Another potential concern is Miller’s ability to recognize and hit breaking stuff, as scouts noted that he struggled with those pitch types this spring and almost all of his impact came against fastballs.

“Miller has played a number of positions at Auburn, including third base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots, but spent almost all of his time at first this spring.”

Theoretically, Miller could return to Auburn for his senior season next spring, though it seems more likely than not that he will wind up signing with the Red Sox.

That said, the recommended slot value for the 256th overall pick in this year’s draft is approximately $160,300.

(Picture of Tyler Miller: Auburn University Athletics)