Boston Red Sox: Is Andrew Miller the Next Big Unit?

Ethan NemkovichContributor IIJuly 3, 2011

HOUSTON - JULY 02:  Pitcher Andrew Miller #30 of the Boston Red Sox laughs with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 after he was hit with a ball during a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

After winning two of his first three starts since being called up from the minors, there is much buzz in Red Sox nation surrounding the potential of 6'7" hurler Andrew Miller.  Even with the imminent return of Clay Bucholz to the rotation, Miller has seemed to solidify the argument for keeping him in the starting rotation.  

With his imposing height, the best comparison that can be drawn would be to a young Randy Johnson.  Miller is 26 years old, and has seemed to overcome the problems with his mechanics that plagued him early in his career.  

He came over from the Tigers to the Marlins as part of the Miguel Cabrera trade, and was then acquired by Boston via trade.  Boston decided to start Miller off in Pawtucket where he could work on his mechanics, and it paid off.  

In his last four appearances before being called up, he displayed his improved control, striking out 26 batters while only walking three.

I draw the Johnson comparisons because Randy did not have his breakout year until he was 26, as well.  Like Miller, a change of scenery helped Johnson's career moving from Montreal to Seattle. Miller may be even a little bit ahead of Johnson at this stage in his career as the Big Unit led the league in walks his first three years with the Mariners.  

With a strikeout per nine innings ratio of of 7.3 for his career (7.7 this season), Miller is on pace with what Johnson's strikeout stats were early in his career, as well.  

With the run support that the Red Sox have been giving him, and as each win piles up, Miller's confidence can only continue to grow.  If Andrew Miller reaches his full potential this season it could make a very dangerous team even better.