Among all the rookie pitchers the Dodgers deployed this season, Bobby Miller stood out as the best of the bunch.
Miller opened the 2023 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, displaying uninspiring results with a 5.65 ERA and just a 19.7-percent strikeout rate in four starts. As the Dodgers suffered injuries to starters Julio Urías and Dustin May, the latter being a season-ending injury, Miller was called up on May 23 from Oklahoma City to make his major league debut.
Miller’s first-ever start with the Dodgers came against an Atlanta Braves team that would go on to notch the top seed in the National League. He dazzled in his debut, limiting the Braves potent offense to just one run over five innings while striking out five and walking just a single hitter, securing the win in the process. Miller became the 13th pitcher in franchise history to record a win in his first career start.
Through his first four starts, Miller served as the most dominant arm in the rotation, posting a 3-0 record with a minuscule 0.78 ERA and a 2.17 FIP in his first 23 innings, striking out 23, walking seven, and limiting hitters to a .150 average. Miller became the third Dodger in baseball history to allow two earned runs in his first 23 innings, joining Fernando Valenzuela and current free agent Kenta Maeda.
Miller created his own unique record, as he became the first pitcher in baseball history to go 3-0 with a sub-1.00 ERA, strike out 23 hitters and surrender less than 15 hits in his first four career starts.
After his historic start, Miller struggled mightily in the middle months of the season, as he allowed a combined 13 earned runs in his next two starts. From June 17 to his 12th career start on August 4, Miller limped to a 6.25 ERA over his next 40⅓ innings, with hitters slashing .297/.352/.497 with six home runs.
Miller rebounded down the stretch for the Dodgers with a 5-2 record with a 3.25 ERA in his final 10 starts of the regular season, striking out 57 hitters while walking 15, and allowing an opponent batting average of just .201 and an opponent OPS of .575.
Miller finished the season as the Dodgers’ only rookie pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 and at least 10 starts. Miller was also one of only three pitchers in an injury-riddled Dodgers rotation to start 20 games, joining Clayton Kershaw and Urías.
With a fastball velocity ranking within the 98th percentile, Miller proved to be the hardest-throwing Dodger in the rotation, with a fastball easily touching triple digits with a 98.9-mph average.
Miller’s first postseason start did not go well, allowing three runs while recording only five outs in a loss in Game 2 of the NLDS.
Stats: 11-4, 3.76 ERA, 1.102 WHIP, 22 GS, 124⅓ IP, 119 K, 32 BB, 116 ERA+, 2.1 bWAR, 2.8 fWAR
Game of the year
In just his third career start, Miller faced the New York Yankees in the first meeting between the two teams in seven years. Miller dominated in six shutout innings against New York, tossing 86 pitches while allowing just a single hit and striking out seven. Miller held things down, while the bullpen faltered in a 4-1 loss to the Yankees.
It was the first scoreless start of his career, and was the first of two consecutive scoreless starts. Miller had four scoreless starts during the season.
Miller has 132 days of major league service time and a secure spot in the Dodgers rotation.