Yea, remember him? Wade Miller, a right-hander originally from Reading, PA, was drafted by the Houston Astros in 1996. This highly touted hard-thrower had a lot going for him and had some great stuff coming out of Alvernia College in his hometown.
Miller, a 20th round pick, spent more than three seasons in the Astros' farm system before making his debut in July of 1999.
He did not have a very successful Major League Debut, giving up seven earned runs in three innings against the Diamondbacks. After a dismal first season, Miller spent the beginning of the 2000 campaign in Triple-A. But after being recalled on July eight, he was lights out.
That season, Miller pitched more than five innings in every start, finishing the season 6-6 with 89 strikeouts in 105 innings pitched. And this was only the beginning.
Miller, still only 31 years of age, saw his career come to light in 2001, the best season of his career. In '01, he went 16-8, struck out a career-high 183 batters an finished with a 3.40 ERA in 212 innings pitched.
The success continued in 2002 and 2003, when he went a combined 29-17 and had a total of 305 strikeouts. This guy was drafted in the 20th round, but pitched like a first-rounder.
But 2004 was the beginning of the end. After going 7-7 in the first half, Miller had season-ending rotator cuff surgery in the end of June. That would be the end of Miller's tenure with the Houston Astros.
Before the 2005 season, Miller signed as a free agent with his new team, the Boston Red Sox.
He was activated off of the disabled list on May eighth and made his Red Sox debut the same day. For the season, he went 4-4 and had a 4.95 ERA. But due to more injuries, Miller missed the entire month of September. And that would be that for Miller's time in Boston.
In January of 2006, Miller signed with the Chicago Cubs, though he didn't actually pitch until September of that season and only made five starts that year. Those five starts were more than he made in 2007, when he made just three for those Cubbies.
All in all, Miller hasn't thrown a pitch since April 22 of last year, and is not affiliated with any Major League team here in 2008. And now in '08, Miller has become somewhat of a forgotten name.
Here's a guy who was almost unhittable as recent as five seasons ago, but since then, he has completely fallen under anyone's radar. But, he's still young - he'll be 32 in September.
If he has become healthy again, I would imagine a contending team could use his 93mph fastball at some point in the future. Miss ya Wade!