Photo Credit: Shari Sommerfield
Bryce Miller was chosen by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft. The 6’2 right hander from the University of Texas A&M had a stellar career, striking out seventy batters in 56 and 2/3 innings his senior year which including an astonishing fifteen strikeouts in one game. The Aggies played in the Southeastern Conference and struggled in 2021, but not Bryce who pitched like a future Ace of a major league franchise. On a team that finished with nine wins overall, Bryce had three of those wins.
Bryce joined the Texas A&M program his Sophomore year and pitched out of the bullpen. There he struck out forty-three batters in twenty-eight plus innings and finished with a 2.51 ERA. His Junior year in college, Covid struck our world, and his season was cut short. He closed out his college career as a starter and many teams noticed, including our beloved Seattle Mariners who took him with the 113th pick of the draft. After Bryce signed a contract with the Seattle Mariners, he finished out his summer with the Modesto Nuts.
In 2022 Bryce was assigned to our beloved Everett AquaSox where he has flourished from day one. His walks are down, and his strikeouts continue to rise each baseball game he pitches in. The velocity of his pitches seems to increase every outing (clocked in the upper nineties many times). At time of writing, he currently has a 3-1 record with a 1.86 ERA. He has struck out seventy batters in 53 1/3 innings and currently a 0.96 WHIP. Miller has walked seventeen batters and opponents are hitting .177 against him. What a difference a year has made with this young man.
Seattle Sports Union was fortunate to sit down with this young man during the most recent homestand.
SSU: Thank you for joining us tonight. We are excited to meet you and get to know you. We were happy to get this chance as we believe you will not be here too much longer.
BM: Thank you for that and thanks for having me.
SSU: You grew up in Texas. Where were you born?
BM: I was born in Mt. Pleasant, Texas but when I was one, we moved just outside of San Antonio.
SSU: When did you start playing baseball?
BM: I started playing baseball right away, I played Tee Ball. I did not become a pitcher though until my senior year in high school. I played infield and outfield growing up. I loved to hit, and I thought I had a future in playing the outfield and before we knew it, I became a pitcher.
SSU: Why did they wait until your senior year in high school to turn you into a pitcher?
BM: After my Junior year we lost a ton of pitching. I threw the ball pretty hard from the outfield, so the coaches wanted me to try out as a pitcher. I figured I would give it a shot and the rest is history. It all worked out I would like to say.
SSU: Where did you go to college?
BM: I went to Blinn College my freshman year looking to play in the outfield and as a pitcher. Turns out they needed me as a pitcher. After my freshman year I went down the road to College Station in Texas and attended Texas A&M University where I played for three more years.
SSU: In 2021 you were drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the Major League Draft, 113th pick overall. Where were you on draft day?
BM: I was at my house. We were there watching with my family and friends. We had a general idea where I was going but when Seattle announced my name, I was excited. My agent called me and told me, and I could not have been happier. I knew Seattle was interested but I truly thought it might be another team.
SSU: How many pitches does Bryce Miller throw?
BM: I throw a fastball, curve, slider, and a changeup. About a month ago I stopped throwing the curveball and started throwing two different sliders. One slider is like a gyro slider which I throw it 88 mph to ninety mph. The other slider is a sweeper and I throw it 82mph to 85 mph. It is something new for me but so far, it has been a success.
SSU: What has been the difference between playing with Modesto last year and Everett this season. Seems like a huge difference to me.
BM: I have been throwing well this year with more confidence. The addition of throwing two different sliders has certainly helped. Coming into this year I was able to trust my stuff and know that if I throw it over the plate and throw it where it is supposed to go then I am going to have success. In college we had a different approach which is maybe why pitching in Modesto was not as successful as Everett has been. I was more a fastball/slider pitcher then. I would throw them mainly outside, down, and away to right-handers. This year it is like I can throw my fastballs up and hit my target. Changing my mentality how I approach the game has helped me out so much.
SSU: Do you have one favorite college or high school baseball moment?
BM: I always go back to my Sophomore year at Texas A&M. I worked out of the bullpen that season. We were playing our rival the University of Texas in Austin. I came into pitch in the eighth inning against the team I grew up watching. The rivalry between these two programs is always insane no matter what sport. The crowd was loud, and their stadium was always full. We ended up winning the game by the way too.
SSU: What is a day in the life like for Bryce on the baseball field?
BM: It is much different then college. In college I was a reliever until my senior year where I came to each game expecting to pitch. Now, every day I go to the ballpark, knowing I pitch every fifth day, so I just work on tidying up my stuff and always being ready to go if they call on me.
SSU: The count is 3-2 and it is the bottom of the ninth inning. What pitch do you throw?
BM: I am probably going fastball up and as fast and as hard as I can.
SSU: Besides Funko Field here in Everett, what is your next favorite baseball field?
BM: I definitely got to go with Olsen Field where I played at when I was at Texas A&M.
SSU: What was your first impression of Everett, coming from the warm state of Texas to Washington State has to be a revelation for anyone.
BM: My first start here in Everett it was 38 degrees and raining. I was not too thrilled. But I really love it up here. It is so beautiful up here and look at the backdrop of this stadium. There’s snow in the mountains and it is June. I think that is really cool and am thankful I do not have to pitch in the snow lol.
SSU: What was your major in college? What do you plan to do with that major when you retire from Major League Baseball 20 years from now?
BM: I majored in Finance, and I minored in Sports Management. I actually have one more class to take before I graduate. Hopefully one day I can do that but for now my focus is on baseball. I really have not decided what I will do after my baseball career is over. I am interested in Real Estate and the Finance World. It depends on my baseball career. Hopefully, I will make enough money and have my own ranch one day.
SSU: Who plays Bryce Miller in your Hollywood movie?
BM: I got to go with Wyatt Earp. Why Wyatt Earp you say? It is because of the Mustache.
SSU: What does Bryce Miller like to do in the off season that is not baseball related?
BM: I love to go hunting and play golf.
SSU: Who was your favorite player growing up and who is your favorite player currently?
BM: Growing up it was Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros. Since I got into pitching, I like to say I model my game after Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
SSU: Last question we like to ask. What is your favorite sports movie of all time and why?
BM: Moneyball would be my answer. Recently I have gotten into learning and liking the analytics of baseball and that movie had a huge impact on me.
In my opinion, Bryce Miller is the future face of this Major League Baseball Franchise. What a pleasure it was to get to meet this young man. We cannot wait to watch you rise to the top. If you have not gotten the chance to watch him pitch, head to Everett sooner than later. Godspeed young man.