24. 2B Jalen Miller
Current Level: Double-A
Acquired: Draft (2015, 3rd Round)
Future Value: 35+
The San Francisco Giants decision to reach for Chris Shaw helped them to sign Miller to an above-slot bonus as a third-round pick in 2015. He played shortstop in high school, but always profiled as a power-first second baseman.
He has been challenged aggressively as a pro. Even after struggling in a full season at Single-A Augusta, he was promoted to High-A San Jose the following year. They had him repeat High-A last season, and he had a career year, batting a solid .276/.321/.434.
The 22-year-old got off to a hot start this season at Double-A, but he has regressed as the season’s gone on. However, his numbers are somewhat muddled by a .251 BABIP that is likely a product of bad luck. He has never had a BABIP lower than .271 prior to this year.
Miller’s arm limits him to second base, but he’s a good athlete with above-average speed and soft hands. He generates solid bat speed and has always shown a knack for barreling the ball. Most importantly, his walk rate is at a career-high 9.4 percent this season and his strikeout rate is at a career-low 20.2 percent.
Since he’s limited defensively, it’s unlikely he’ll have an opportunity as a utility player. That means the bat will have to justify an everyday role, and maintaining the progress he’s shown with his plate discipline will be key.