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Matt Miller (minors03)

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Matthew Jacob Miller

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Outfielder Matt Miller was a MVP in A ball and an All-Star in AAA yet never made the majors.

Miller won a Texas state title in high school. He went on to junior college and was All-Conference as a sophomore. Transferring to Texas State, he hit .387/.444/.580 with 52 RBI in 58 games in 2004. He was named Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and led the Conference in hits (92) and total bases (138) while tying for third in doubles (18), tying for 4th in RBI and placing second to Hunter Pence in average. He failed to make the All-Conference team.

He was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 13th round of the 2004 amateur draft behind the advice of scout Jeff Edwards, one round before Colorado took Dexter Fowler. Matt made his pro debut that summer with the Tri-City Dust Devils and hit .269/.337/.461 with 8 home runs and 25 RBI in 43 games.

He spent most of the next year with the Asheville Tourists, hitting .331/.375/.573 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs and earning South Atlantic League MVP honors. He was 2 for 5 after a late-season promotion to the Modesto Nuts. He led the South Atlantic League in hits (168, 4 ahead of Brian Horwitz) and total bases (292, 19 more than Joe Koshansky). He was also second in the league in homers (6 behind Koshansky) and slugging (28 behind Koshansky), 4th in RBI, tied for 4th in doubles with Grant Richardson (34) and tied for second in average (with John Otness, behind Horwitz). He and Koshansky were the first SAL teammates to have 30 homers and 100 RBI in the same year. He was picked as a SAL All-Star outfielder alongside Horwitz and Hunter Pence. He led Rockies farmhands with 170 hits and tied Koshansky for the most total bases (294). He tied for 4th in the affiliated minors in total bases, even with Koshansky, Delmon Young and Chris Lubanski and trailing Brandon Wood, Andy Green and Billy Butler. He was named the Rockies Minor League Player of the Year as well. While he would remain a .300 hitter for much of career, he never came close to that kind of power display again, with 12 home runs being his next-best performance.

In 2006, he hit .323/.381/.486 with 12 home runs in 92 games for the Nuts and also saw his first action in AA (.229/.330/.301 in 27 games for the Tulsa Drillers) and AAA (8 for 24, BB for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox). Had he qualified, he would have been third in the California League in average behind Chris Rahl and Reid Brignac and he made the league All-Star team, joining Rahl and Carlos Gonzalez in the outfield. He then appeared in the Arizona Fall League. With Tulsa for all of '07, he looked far less sharp than 2005-2006, batting .262/.337/.395.

The Texan rebounded in 2008, back with Tulsa. He hit .344/.408/.469 with 87 RBI in 106 games. Promoted to Colorado Springs, he batted .331/.410/.444 with 26 runs in 33 games. For the season, he had hit .341 with 35 doubles, 98 runs and 107 RBI. He set the Rockies' record for average by a AA farmhand, breaking Juan Pierre's 8-year-old mark of .326. He beat out Dexter Fowler for the Texas League batting title by 9 points and also was second in OBP (behind Fowler; some sources list Jesus Guzman as qualifying and thus winning the title) and tied for 5th in RBI. Among Rockies farmhands, he scored the most runs, led in average and led in hits while placing second to Koshansky in RBI. In the affiliated minors, he was tied for 10th in batting average with Daniel Nava and was second in hits, behind only Cedric Hunter. He was named to the TL All-Star team, his 3rd postseason All-Star team in six years. The other outfielders chosen were Fowler and Aaron Cunningham.

The next year, back with the Sky Sox for a full year, he hit .319/.380/.476 with 39 doubles, 9 homers and 98 RBI. He led the 2009 Pacific Coast League in hits (167, 11 more than runner-up Terry Evans) and was among the leaders in runs (83, tied for 6th with Kila Ka'aihue), doubles (3rd behind Randy Ruiz and Jason Lane), triples (8, tied for 8th with Cameron Maybin, Chris Roberson and Greg Golson), RBI (3rd behind Ruiz and Mitch Jones), double play grounders (24, 1st) and average (5th, between Esteban German and Jason Bourgeois). Among Colorado minor leaguers, he was first in total bases (249) and RBI. In the 2009 AAA All-Star Game, he hit 6th and played left field for the PCL. He struck out against Andrew Carpenter in the second. In the 5th, he singled off Jose Vaquedano and scored on a German single. Chad Huffman replaced him in left and the PCL went on to lose, 6-5. He made the PCL postseason All-Star outfield alongside Evans and John Bowker.

Miller kept it up in 2010, with his third straight .300 campaign in AAA. He hit .325/.404/.436 with 90 runs and 81 RBI for the Sky Sox. He was 8th in the 2010 PCL in runs, 2nd in hits (165, 4 behind leader Jamie Hoffmann), tied for 10th in walks (66, even with Sam Fuld), 3rd in average (behind John Lindsey and Chris Davis) and 5th in OBP (between Brandon Allen and Lindsey). He led Rockies farmhands in average, runs and hits. In the 2010 AAA All-Star Game, he played left and hit 6th again for the PCL. He singled off Carlos Torres in the second and came home on a Darwin Barney hit but it was the lone PCL run in a 2-1 defeat. In the 4th, Miller grounded out against Nate Bump, then he drew a 6th-inning walk from Anthony Slama and fanned versus Michael Dunn in the 8th. He did not make the 2010 PCL postseason All-Star team as Peter Bourjos, Brad Snyder and Chris Carter were picked for the outfield slots.

Miller moved on to the Philadelphia Phillies chain in 2011 but hit just .236/.303/.283 in 35 games in their organization between the Reading Phillies and Lehigh Valley IronPigs before retiring. He had hit .311/.376/.461 with 577 RBI and 504 runs in 867 career minor league games.

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