Early this morning, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter that left-handed reliever Andrew Miller was headed to Cleveland just hours after the Indians struck an (yet-to-be-finalized) agreement to acquire Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, top prospects Justus Sheffield and Clint Frazier as well as two additional minor-league pitchers will be headed to New York as compensation.
Since being converted to a full-time reliever at the beginning of 2012, Miller has become one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Over 240.1 innings pitched since the beginning of that season, Miller owns a 2.21 ERA, 2.20 FIP, and has struck out an incredible 379 batters against just 81 walks. This year, Miller was selected to his first All-Star Game, and currently owns a 1.39 ERA and 1.77 FIP with a ridiculous 77:7 K:BB ratio in 45.1 innings of work.
In addition to an incredible bullpen boost going into October, Miller will provide stability at the back end of Cleveland’s bullpen for years to come. The six-foot-seven 31-year-old is under contract through the 2018 season for a relatively affordable $9 million a year — exactly the type of low-cost value that a financially challenged team like Cleveland needs to compete for the postseason.
The Indians didn’t land Miller for a small price, however, as they’ll be sending their #1 and #5 prospects (according to MLB Pipeline) as well as two additional pieces to New York.
Clint Frazier — younger brother of White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier — is the centerpiece of the deal, and was previously the Indians top prospect. Since being picked fifth overall in the 2013 draft, Frazier has hit .278/.360/.452 with 47 home runs in just over 1,500 plate appearances. This season, Frazier hit .276/.356/.469 with 13 homers and 13 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances with Double-A Akron. Since being promoted to Triple-A Columbus less than two weeks ago, Frazier has gone 5-for-21 with a triple in five games. Frazier turns 22 in September, and could be in the major leagues as early as 2017.
Sheffield, the Indians’ #5 prospect, was drafted 31st overall by the Indians in 2014 out of Tullahoma (TN) High School. Standing at just five-foot-ten, some scouts were turned off by his height, but so far he’s succeeded in climbing the prospect rankings despite his average stature. In three professional seasons, Sheffield owns a 3.55 ERA and 260:87 K:BB ratio in 243.1 innings of work. This season with High-A Lynchburg of the Carolina League, Sheffield sports a modest 3,59 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 40 walks in 95.1 innings.
Heller, #30 in the Indians’ system, is in his fourth season of affiliated baseball and currently with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. In 28 relief appearances for the Clippers, Heller owns a 2.49 ERA and a 25:7 K:BB ratio in 25.1 innings. The six-foot-three, 24-year-old right-hander projects as a back-end reliever, reportedly touching 100 mph with his fastball. Heller turns 25 on August 4.
Feyereisen is not ranked in the Indians’ top 30 by MLB Pipeline, but sports impressive career numbers. In 105.0 professional innings, Feyereisen has a 1.80 ERA and a 136:37 K:BB ratio. Currently, the 23-year-old right-hander boasts a 2.23 ERA on the season with Double-A Akron. In 33 games and 40.1 innings, he’s struck out 56 batters and walked 20.
After making deals for both Miller and Lucroy (and assuming the last piece of the Lucroy deal is Triston McKenzie) the Indians have now surrendered their #1, #5, #6, #9, #12, #22 and #30 prospects, as well as Feyereisen.