Braves One Year Wonder: Shelby Miller

Today’s subject famous for being the key piece in the heist of the Diamondbacks to land Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, and Aaron Blair. However, Braves One Year Wonder, Shelby Miller, had a career year in his short stint with Atlanta to net that return in the following offseason.

Braves One Year Wonder, Shelby Miller

Shelby Miller was traded to Atlanta along with top pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins in exchange for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. Heyward was a fan favorite, so it was difficult for the fan base to put much faith into the St. Louis arms. Shelby quickly gained attention around the league after becoming a true top of rotation pitcher in his first and only season with the Braves. Many believed he had finally become the pitcher most thought he would evolve into when he first arrived in the big leagues . 

In 2015, Miller posted career highs in a 4 WAR season with a stellar 3.02 ERA. He led the league with 30 games started at only 24 years of age. It was also Miller’s lone all star appearance and only season where he would go on to pitch more than 200 innings. He finished with an astounding 6-17 record due to the lack of run support from a rather lackluster Braves squad. Shelby Miller took a huge step forward in 2015 and looked to be a key piece of the Atlanta rotation for many years to come.

Shelby Miller 1 Year Wonder

Shelby Miller is famous for being the key piece in the heist of the Diamondbacks to land Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, and Aaron Blair. However, Miller had a career year in his short stint with Atlanta to net that return in the following offseason.

Shelby Miller was traded to Atlanta along with top pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins in exchange for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. Heyward was a fan favorite, so it was difficult for the fan base to put much faith into the St Louis arms. Shelby quickly gained attention around the league after becoming a true top of rotation pitcher in his first and only season with the Braves. Many believed he had finally become the pitcher most thought he would evolve into when he first arrived in the big leagues . 

In 2015, Miller posted career highs in a 4 WAR season with a stellar 3.02 ERA. He led the league with 30 games started at only 24 years of age. It was also Miller’s lone all star appearance and only season where he would go on to pitch more than 200 innings. He finished with an astounding 6-17 record due to the lack of run support from a rather lackluster Braves squad. Shelby Miller took a huge step forward in 2015 and looked to be a key piece of the Atlanta rotation for many years to come. 

“How ’bout Some Lunch, Mr. Stewart” ~Coppy

Ultimately, Atlanta would go on to take advantage of the 1 year wonder that was Shelby Miller. The trade with Arizona seemed lopsided from the beginning. No one thought Miller would regress as much as he has, though. The following season Shelby would pitch only 100 innings in tune to a 6.15 ERA. He has since bounced around the league and is currently a part of the Brewers organization. Luckily for Atlanta, Shelby Miller is the perfect example of timing being everything.

Thanks for reading on Braves One Year Wonder, Shelby Miller. Remember to check out our entire Wonders and Wankers series here!

10 thoughts on “Braves One Year Wonder: Shelby Miller”

  1. This is a great series.

    Dansby looked at worst as a league average shortstop for 6 years of control. So far, that is about what he has been. The one thing about this deal that I have never felt confident of the answer given is “Did Coppy have this deal in the works when he moved Andrellton?” As I remember it was only about 10 days later.

    Ender seemed at the time like a guy if you squinted right could be a pretty good player and thus a pretty good value. He at least has met that.

    Blair seemed like an if you squint right might be a mid rotation piece. Performance never showed that high of a level and then, injury.

    I think the trade is a lesson in “value trading.” Certainly the Braves needed starting pitching. Although Shelby probably wasn’t an emerging star, he could have been. So, whenever you can get value, make the trade. When you can’t get value only make the trade if the piece is not available in your system and having the piece makes division winning or world series winning much more likely.

  2. At the end of the day, this trade was a ridiculous overpay — we didn’t necessary hose them quite as badly as the Rangers hosed us for Tex, but we basically got a mixture of high-ceiling and high-floor and so even though a lot of the individual pieces didn’t live up to all their expectations, we STILL harvested a ton of value from the deal. (Like, Saltalamacchia was the centerpiece of that deal, and he didn’t really perform well in Texas, and the deal was still the most lopsided win since A.J. Pierzynski brought back Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and Francisco Liriano.)

    Any time, @2 — let us know whenever you need more recommendations and I’m sure we can come up with a bunch more! Good luck, man.

  3. @3 If Dansby’s hard contact rate ever shows the offensive potential it should and he becomes a top-5 shortstop in the game, then that thought might be challenged. I’d also say that Miller wasn’t the caliber player that Teixeira (still a douche) was, though he did have 1.5 more years of control than Tex.

    Here’s fWAR breakdown for players in Tex trade during time with Rangers:
    1. Feliz- 4.6
    2. Harrison- 8.1
    3. Andrus- 28.4
    4. Salty- -0.8
    40.3 total fWAR

    1. Teixeira- 10.2
    2. Mahay- 0.2
      10.4 fWAR

    Difference: 29.9 fWAR

    Here’s breakdown for players in Shelby Miller trade:
    1. Shelby Miller: 0.7
    Total: 0.7 fWAR

    1. Ender Inciarte: 9.9 fWAR
    2. Dansby Swanson: 4 fWAR
    3. Aaron Blair: -0.8 fWAR
      Total: 13. 1 fWAR

    Difference: 12. 4 fWAR

    There’s still a wide margin to make up, and this isn’t an exact science as it doesn’t take into account trades that spun off of the original deal, salary vs. WAR production, etc, but it does paint a picture that if Dansby becomes what he could become, and signs an extension with the Braves, there’s hope that we’ll look back at this as our Teixeira trade. Only 18ish fWAR to go!

  4. @ 4,

    Does Andrus’ total include production out of the “controlled 6 years?” To me, that needs to be taken out for good comparisons.

    And on a percentage basis, our performance has already exceeded the Rangers haul because they gave up a lot and got a great big lot. Braves gave up almost nothing and ended up with a lot.

    Also, I remember reading somebody (Fangraphs?, maybe 5 years ago) that posited that trades of prospects for vets usually were going at projected WAR of 4 given for each WAR picked up for a pennant drive, but that the actual number was more like 2 because the vet projections were more accurate. The author gave several examples. So, that means the value mismatch on Teixeira wasn’t so bad. The bad thing about it was he wasn’t the one piece that would take a team unlikely to make the postseason and make that team a likely World Championship contender.

  5. @4 “Still a Douche” is still one of my favorite stories from this site after all of these years…lol

  6. I just realized that in the editing process, I forgot to change the author! Drake Dodd is responsible for this wonderful piece.

  7. Thanks Ryan! The Braves certainly made the most out of the 1 year left on Heyward’s deal in the end. The Rangers deal will certainly go down as one of the worst trades in Braves history. I would have loved to see Elvis in the Braves middle infield for all these years. He was definitely a Rome Braves fan favorite.

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