Clemson’s Ryan Miller, a junior pitcher described himself as “shocked and surprised” when he found out that the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 31st round (No. 920 overall) in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft.
“I was actually in Target when I found out,” the righty told The Clemson Insider. “Coach (Monte) Lee called me first and he said, ‘Hey Ryan congratulations on getting drafted.’ I was like, ‘I did? What?’ He said, ‘Yeah, 31st round by the Braves.’
“Then as he was saying that I was actually getting another call from the Braves scout that I had been in contact with so Coach Lee let me hang up and I talked to him and it was just pure joy. It’s something you dream about as a little kid. Hearing your name on draft day and I got the call so it was very exciting.”
Miller said he has not decided as to whether or not he will pursue his professional baseball career or return to Clemson next season. Though Lee said to reporters on Friday he anticipates Miller to return to Clemson.
“My situation is a little bit different. I didn’t pitch the second-half of the season due to some inflammation in my elbow,” he said. “I’ve been on a throwing program trying to work my way back so part of me getting drafted, before they give me any sort of offer, the Braves want to see me throw a bullpen in front of their head scouts. I’ll have to do that in the upcoming weeks and then make a decision from there.”
Miller, who is a junior college transfer originally from Venice, Fla. said being at two other schools before Clemson has created challenges at times, but his family has always been there for him every step of the way.
“Things just didn’t work out my freshman year at my first school and I changed positions,” he said. “It was kind of tough leaving there just because I had a set role and I had developed a bond with those guys. Then I went to junior college and now I’m a lot further from home (Florida). Just the constant support that my family as thrown at me has made the biggest difference. It’s meant the world to me.”
Not only does Miller credit his family for helping him along the way, but also former MLB pitcher Mark Guthrie, who has acted as a mentor for Miller dating all the way back to Miller’s little league days.
“I’m best friends with his son,” Miller said. “He’s always been that guy that coached me from seven-years-old through high school. I’m still in contact with him anytime I have a question or I need to talk pitching or just bounce something off of him.
“I call him or he’ll see me pitch on T.V. and if he sees something he’ll let me know. He’s been a big role model for me; just somebody to look up to and try to do the right thing and play the game the right way. He’s always been there for me.”