Appy notes: M's Miller a 'reliever at heart'

FSU product comfortable with role at back end of Pulaski's bullpen

A ninth-round pick in June, Peter Miller worked primarily as a starter at FSU but closed his college career in the bullpen. (AP Photo)

By Bob Sutton / Special to | August 7, 2014 10:00 AM ET

Peter Miller thought he wanted to be a starting pitcher in college for Florida State.

By the time his collegiate career wound down this spring, he was more comfortable in the bullpen. That's where he's working with the Pulaski Mariners after he was a ninth-round selection in June's Draft.

He's often a late-inning reliever for the Mariners.

"I've always been a reliever at heart," he said. "It wasn't a hard change. It's actually been an easy change for me."

The right-hander said at times he became caught up with the status of being in a college starting rotation.

"I think I was just lying to myself trying to be a starter," he said. "My place really is the bullpen. I didn't really accept that until this last year [as a senior]. Giving it 3 1/2 years as a starter is enough, and it isn't for me."

He posted one career save at Florida State. He had four saves for Pulaski by the first week in August.

Miller, a 22-year-old from Lutz, Florida, stayed at Florida State despite being a 16th-round selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. Yet he wasn't a closer for the Seminoles, who had Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston in that role.

Miller, though, brings experience as the second-oldest pitcher on the Pulaski staff.

Pulaski manager Rob Mummau ought to have a good sense of Miller's abilities. Mummau is a scout for the Mariners organization, evaluating players for the Draft.

One of the players he monitored ended up playing for him a few weeks later.

"I've seen him pitch since high school," Mummau said. "I saw him a bunch in college."

Miller said a familiarity with his manager has been one of the comforting aspects of his first couple of months as a professional player.

At Florida State, Miller said the regular stream of scouts watching games was encouraging even if "usually they weren't there for me."

Yet there was a point at which Miller wasn't so sure he was still on Mummau's good list.

"I thought he lost interest," Miller said.

Not so, because Mummau said he recognized that Miller was equipped to pitch in pro ball.

"I pride myself on being able to adapt," Miller said, pointing out the need to be ready at all times as a reliever. "I enjoy that. It keeps your mind in the game. I like just being thrown into any situation."

That's an adjustment that has gone smoothly for Miller, who's 2-0 with two saves across his past five appearances. In 15 outings, he holds a 1.71 ERA.

Mummau said Miller might be best suited for the back end of a bullpen. With a fastball that already reaches 93 mph, it may be a good fit.

"He has a lot of confidence, which helps," Mummau said.

In brief

Other forms of production: Even with Max Murphy promoted from Elizabethton while leading the Appalachian League in batting average (.378) and home runs (10), the Twins still have run producers. Elizabethton first baseman Tyler Kuresa moved into the league lead in RBIs, knocking in 10 runs over a nine-game stretch.

He 'nose' best: Burlington Royals shortstop Marten Gasparini is considering surgery after suffering a broken nose when a thrown ball hit the 17-year-old in the face. That might cause a premature end to the season for the Italian prospect, who's consulting with doctors and his parents. "It's just so I don't have a problem later on," he said.

Doing his thing: Despite a 3-for-16 series at Burlington, shortstop Richard Urena of the Bluefield Blue Jays is hitting at a .322 clip. Bluefield manager Dennis Holmberg said the 18-year-old has adjusted well. "It's a great spot for him to be in," Holmberg said. "I like his defense. I like everything about him."

Bob Sutton is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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