In 2016 a humble pitcher from the Pennsylvania blessed the Everett AquaSox with a championship run. Brandon Miller was one of the Seattle Sports Union’s (SSU) 1st interviews that season, and we had the opportunity to catch up with the former Frog this year to check on his progress.
SSU: In 2016 you had a fantastic season for the Frogs, striking out 1/2 the NW league. You were a part of a magical run that almost brought us back the championship. What are some of your memories of the run to the playoffs?
Brandon: 2016 was quite a year for sure. We had very talented players and coaches that knew how to lead a high caliber team. Coming into my first professional season I was unsure of what to expect. As the season continued on, I started to develop routines for myself along with friendships that I still have today. We did fall short of our goal in the end but nonetheless we had a blast taking the field everyday with each other. That team was a brotherhood.
SSU: In 2017, you jumped to Class A Clinton. How did it go for you Brandon? Was there a significant difference in talent jumping up into Class A?
Brandon: That year was a huge learning experience. It was my first professional full season (140 games) and I had to learn how to take care of my body mentally and physically to get through those long 6-month seasons. I had some really great stretches and some rough ones, but I ultimately learned the most from the times of struggle. As for the talent level, the opponents were definitely better. As pitchers we have to learn quickly as to how to pitch to better players. How to locate our pitches better and what pitches to throw in certain situations or else we will get beat around by the offenses.
SSU: You were traded during the 2017 season. If you don’t mind me asking, what was your reaction?
Brandon: At first, I was really shocked. I was not expecting that at all. It was tough saying goodbye to friends I had made during my time with the Mariners, but what made it a little easier was knowing that there were 3 other Mariners players coming to the Marlins with me.
They flew me to Miami first, just to get acquainted with some of the management. Yes, they welcomed us with open arms and didn’t waste any time getting us back on the field with our new teams.
SSU: You were assigned to Greensboro for the remainder of the season and are currently playing for them in 2018? How’s it going if it’s ok to ask? How’s the transition? Do they let you hit since you are a part of the NL now?
Brandon: That transition was tough. I struggled a lot early on. I had to make a few mechanical changes and am finally putting it all together. Still working through some minor things but I’m seeing a lot of positives every day. This league is an offensive league. The hitters are very good and for some reason the ball flies a little further here on the East Coast.
They let us take batting practice occasionally, but we will not start hitting in games until we making it to Double A.
SSU: How many pitches do you currently throw, and do they have you working on another pitch? You played with King Felix for one game in 2016. Did he talk to you or the team as a whole? Inquiring minds also want to know, also have you met Derek Jeter (part owner of the Marlins)?
Brandon: I currently throw 5 pitches: 4 seam fastball, 2 seam fastball, slider, curveball and changeup. At the beginning of the season, I added the 2-seam fastball to my arsenal. That pitch has helped me a lot during outings.
I did play with Felix but we did not get to talk to him much. He was not at the clubhouse too long and he was pretty busy. And unfortunately, I have not seen Derek yet but hopefully in the near future.
SSU: You are from Pennsylvania any one particular food you miss from your home state that you can’t get where you have played?
Brandon: Not one particular food I miss but I do miss home cooked meals. My wife is a wonderful cook and I miss a good home cooked meal.
SSU: What are your long-term goals that you want to be doing after baseball?
Brandon: After baseball I would like to finish my degree in engineering at Millersville University and then possibly go into business as a home remodeler or designer of some kind.
SSU: From what I understand, you are a man of faith.
Brandon: You are exactly right, my faith in God has really been a blessing to me in times of success and times of struggle. He is always someone I can go to and lean on throughout my everyday life. My wife and I donate to our local church to help support missionaries world-wide that have gone out from our church.
SSU: Any final words for the Frog fans?
Brandon: I personally would like to thank all the fans, coaches, staff and host families that I met during my time there. I would not have wanted to start my professional career anywhere else.