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The Dominance Of This Oakland Athletics Flamethrower

Believe it or not, the Oakland Athletics have an exciting young flamethrower dominating out of the bullpen. A former top starting prospect, Mason Miller made four starts before experiencing right forearm tightness in May. Oakland shut him down from throwing after an MRI revealed a mild ulnar collateral ligament sprain.

Many expected the worst, as forearm tightness tends to be signs of a serious injury. To the team’s surprise, Miller returned in September and made six appearances, mostly from the bullpen. The Athletics decided to keep him in the bullpen this season, hoping that a lighter workload can keep him healthy.

In return, Miller dominated in the spring and quickly earned the closer role. As a starter, Miller often reached 100 mph with his fastball and showed electric strikeout ability. His stuff has only skyrocketed thanks to the nature of shorter stints out of the bullpen.

Mason Miller Is Dominating In The Oakland Athletics Bullpen

Being able to go max effort for two or three innings, rather than five or six, has allowed Miller to sit above 100 mph with his fastball and even reach 103.7, which he did on Thursday in a save against the reigning world champs.

Miller’s outing generated headlines for more reasons than that one hard pitch. Miller tossed nine fastballs out of his 16 total pitches, all of which were 101 mph or harder. He even threw six of these electric fastballs in a row.

Miller turned heads by reaching 103 mph in his final two fastballs of the night. Both pitches registered as the hardest pitch thrown in the majors in 2024. While 103 is undoubtedly eye-popping, it doesn’t come close to Aroldis Chapman’s record-breaking 105.8 mph in 2010.

According to Statcast, Miller has thrown 70 fastballs this season, 65 percent of which have reached at least 100 mph. Additionally, Miller leads the league with 46 pitches at triple digits, 22 pitches more than the guy in second place.


Miller’s A Pitcher, Not Just A Thrower

What’s even more encouraging is that Miller is using more than his fastball velocity to succeed. In five games, Miller has thrown seven innings with 12 strikeouts and a 2.57 ERA. Walks have been an issue in the past for him, but his three this year is more than manageable.

He even grades out favorably in the most advanced metrics. According to Statcast, Miller is the hardest thrower in the league and is among the leaders in Whiff, Chase, and Hard-Hit percentages.

While his fastball velocity will receive most of the headlines, Miller features a great slider in his repertoire. He throws it just under 43 percent of the time, and it currently has a Run-Value of 3. The slider has performed better than his fastball at putting hitters away, getting swings and misses, and generating strikeouts.

A Needed Positive Development For The Athletics

The Oakland Athletics have become synonymous with losing, dysfunction, and embarrassment. It seems that ownership encouraged, if not directed, an exodus of high-quality veteran talent for cheap youngsters in the disguise of a rebuild.

While controversies surrounding the organization don’t seem to end anytime soon, it’s encouraging that young players like Miller are starting to establish themselves. Miller and the team still expect him to return to the starting rotation after this year. But for now, getting him through the year healthy seems like the main priority. And if Miller becomes the best reliever in the game, they’ll take it.

Main Photo Credits: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports


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