|Luke Miller, image- Jay Floyd|
After opening the 2019 campaign in Extended Spring Training, Luke Miller joined Class A Lakewood and quickly proved to be a steady contributor. After roughly a month of success with the BlueClaws, Miller was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he has played like an All-Star.
In 21 games for Lakewood, the 22-year-old tallied a .260 average with two doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI. Since joining the Threshers, Miller sports a .325 average with two doubles, two homers and five RBI in 11 games.
The righty batting Miller was the Phillies' 22nd round draft choice last year out of Indiana.
Around the time of his promotion to Clearwater I chatted with Miller about his season thus far, lessons from his coaches, early memories of baseball including the 2008 and 2009 World Series that features the Phillies, another pro player in his family and more. Read ahead for that complete interview.
-It's been a big year for you despite starting the season in extended spring training. You joined Lakewood, spent about a month there, then earn a promotion to Clearwater. What are your thoughts on the year so far?
I started in extended, and it felt like I hit pretty well through extended. I tried to bring that (to Lakewood) when I got promoted. I was just trying to stay with my approach and do what I was doing down there, which was just basically "hit the ball hard and see what happens" and it worked out for me.
-Starting out in extended spring, what's that like. Obviously, everyone would want to open April with a full-season club. So what was the spell in extended like for you, then the satisfaction of getting to come to Lakewood after some time?
In extended, it's a grind. Waking up early in the morning and then working out, then have a full practice and then play a game after that. So, it's a grind going through that. But, getting (to Lakewood) was really good for me. I felt like I needed it and I came up and played well.
-What was it like on the Lakewood team? What was the vibe like around the clubhouse and with that team?
It's good. You know, it's like a big family, just growing together and learning how to play the game together. As you could see, we were starting to win games late and be able to stay in game and come back and win, so just continuing the growth and building with the team is important.
-When you get news that you're going up, whether it's to Lakewood or to Clearwater, what is that like to get the promotion news?
The manager usually calls you in (his office) to tell you and after that, everyone else usually finds out and everybody comes up and congratulates you. They just tell you, "Good luck" and everything.
-What was your exposure to or knowledge of the Phillies before becoming a player in the organization? Did you have much exposure to the team in the past?
I mean I watched the 2008 Phillies. I watched baseball growing up, so I saw that and saw how great they were back then and the dynasty they had. But other than that, I wasn't really a huge Phillies fan or anything like that. But coming into the organization, it's a great organization to play for, so...
-What was your favorite team growing up and what are some of your early baseball memories?
I was a big Yankees fan. Obviously, there's no Major League team in Indiana, so I grew up watching Derek Jeter. So, I loved watching Jeter play, just how he handled himself. Them winning the World Series, I think it was 2009--
-Against the Phillies!
Against the Phillies, yeah. That was one of my biggest memories of watching baseball as a kid.
-How old were you then?
2009? I was...that's 10 years ago, so I was 12. But those were some of my earliest baseball memories, those post-seasons.
-Were there any other players that, into high school or college, that you would take hints from or watch and want to emulate or try to focus on to learn stuff from?
I mean, my cousin was a first rounder out of high school. He was five years older than me, so he taught me a lot, just about the process and everything. That and what to expect, so that was really helpful.
-What is his name and what team did he go to?
His name's Justin O'Conner. He was a first rounder with the Rays and he's with the White Sox now.
-So he's still playing?
Yeah, he was a catcher, but they're switching him to a pitcher now.
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