After a stellar senior season at the University of South Carolina, Aiken, Josh Miller had his named called by the Oakland A's in the 23rd round of the 2013 major league draft. Miller hit .355 during his senior season, walking more than he struck-out and slugging at a .523 clip. Miller, who split his time between left field and catcher, also stole 14 bases (in 19 chances).
Miller signed with the A's soon after the draft and was assigned to the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters to begin his professional career. He split the catching duties with Ryan Gorton, appearing in 40 games in his pro debut campaign. Miller helped lead an impressive Lake Monsters' pitching staff and he received praise for his work behind the plate. He struggled to produce with the bat, posting a 453 OPS in 131 at-bats.
Miller is currently competing in the A's fall Instructional League camp. Donald Moore spoke with Miller during the Lake Monsters' final roadtrip of the season.
Donald Moore: Hi Josh, how is everything going for you this year?
Josh Miller: It's going good. You know it's a change from college to pro ball for sure. Everyday coming out you got to do early work and then DFPs and all that stuff, and then you play a game. It's a grind, but it's fun.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
JM: This year, just come out and get acclimated to the pro ball atmosphere of it. Catch well, learn the game behind the plate and play better. Become a better hitter and stuff like that. Trying to polish myself, I guess.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a ballplayer?
JM: Probably my knowledge of the game, I would say. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a father that was very knowledgeable about the game so I got to learn from him. But just managing the game behind the plate, I think I'm good at that calling a game, so I'd say that and calling a game.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on specifically?
JM: My defense needs improving. Throwing to the bags for sure. I'm going to Instructs and I'm hoping that will help. Barreling up the ball consistently at the plate. Getting good position and finding the barrel seven out of 10 times, I'd say, would be good.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
JM: It was a struggle at first, but I think now towards the end of it, it's starting to get a little bit better. You get more of a routine and then you find a routine that works. It usually takes a while to find one, but once you find one, it comes into its own.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro ballplayer?
JM: Just getting to play baseball everyday. Getting paid to do what I love, that's about it.
DM: Any pregame routines?
JM: Not really. I'm not super superstitious, or anything like that. I come out before game, I stretch, run with the pitcher, so that's about it.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
JM: Golf. I'm not allowed to, but golf is my thing.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
JM: I grew up in West Palm, so it had to be the Florida Marlins, now they are the Miami Marlins. But they are not very good, and now it's the Oakland A's.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
JM: My dad, for sure. He played a little bit, but he had an injury in high school that didn't allow him to get drafted. He said he was good, but I never got to see him play. He taught me everything I know.
DM: Craziest thing you've ever seen on a baseball diamond?
JM: It was this year at college. It's kind of a bad story, but we were in the middle of a double-header and an old man in the stands died. So we cancelled the second game. He was like 85 and the school's biggest fan and he just passed away in the middle of our game. But, I guess it was good, because he went out doing something he loved.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
JM: Doing what I can to get up the ranks and hopefully make it to the big leagues. That's my goal and that's what I came here to do, so hopefully give myself a chance to do that.
DM: Josh, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you.
JM: Absolutely, thank you.
TROY, NY - After a standout career at the University of South Carolina, Aiken, catcher Josh Miller made the transition from college ball to the pros in 2013. Donald Moore spoke with the A's 23rd-round pick about that transition and more.
Donald Moore spoke with the Vermont backstop.
Josh Miller caught 40 games for the Lake Monsters.