In his first season with the New York Yankees, fans and fantasy owners alike, could not have asked for much more from Andrew Miller as he would go on and take the reins of the closer gig and dominate all season. Out of his 38 Save opportunities he would go on to only blow two all season and posted supporting peripherals that ranked him amongst the best in the game.
His 2015 line, 36 SV/100 K/2.04 ERA/0.859 WHIP, could have even been better if not for him missing time due to a forearm issue. So he could of have very easily surpassed his career high in K, 103 in 2014, and improved his SV totals even further if he was able to stay healthy over that entire season. But, owners will not complain though as Miller was drafted late last season as the Yankees closer job was still in flux when drafts were taking place.
Moving forward in 2016, Miller has unquestionably earned being the closer and even though his name has been floated around in trade rumors, thanks in large part to a weak RP market, he will more than likely be suiting up for the Yanks next year. Now it is nearly impossible to predict who will lead the MLB in Saves year to year, but the biggest predicting elements have to be the pitchers skillset and the overall outlook the team they are on. Last season the three top closers strictly Saves wise were, Mark Melancon, Trevor Rosenthal, and Jeurys Familia, players that were all on good teams, with decent staffs and solid bullpens.
Looking at Miller, I am optimistic that he can challenge for the top spot for a couple reasons. One is specifically the presence of Dellin Betances, who is his own right has become a must draft set up man. With him pitching right in front of Miller, I do not worry about leads not making it to Miller as with some of the other top candidates.
From a team outlook, every season people want to write the Yankees off as being too old or what have you, but one thing has always stayed the same: they are going to win their fair share of games no matter what. Now I know they are littered with question marks and doubt should be raised, but they still manage to win 80+ games every season and that near assurance is a boost to Miller’s value.
Like in Aroldis Chapman’s case, there is no other guy that I want to invest in fantasy wise thanks to his stats, but if there are no Saves to be had on a struggling team then he loses significant value, especially if I can select someone like Miller who offers similar outputs withe SV chances to boot. There are some worries with Miller and the Yankees as well that may hurt his ranking. I, like many people, was completely bewildered at the trade of Justin Wilson who really stepped up last season as the 7th inning man. With him gone and Adam Warren out of the picture for middle relief, the Yanks have a glaring hole in the bridge to Miller.
But, GM Brian Cashman said he is not done addressing the relief position yet, so it remains to be seen if he can fortify the 5th-7th innings span where most games are won and lost and subsequently save chances are determined. Miller was one of only three true closers to have over 100 K last season so no matter where you stand on the whole, when to take a closer argument, these types of pitchers offer you a weekly advantage that nearly no one else in the league will have. So if there were a closer to target early, Miller fits the bill.
Miller has the arsenal and a decent situation, to definitely be in the contention for being the first RP selected in drafts this spring. For me, he sits firmly in the top tier of RP next season so if an owner decided that Miller should be the first one taken, they would certainly have a valid argument. He should remain a high value target in 2016, so do not be afraid to solidify your bullpen with him being your ace reliever.
2016 Early Projection: 38 SV/105 K/2.10 ERA/0.850 WHIP