Herald Staff Report
Former Bayfield High School ace Clay Miller has signed a contract to play professional baseball.
According to a Monday news release, Miller was signed by the Tucson Saguaros of the Pecos League after an impressive performance at the team’s three-day tryout camp in Tucson.
“Clay was clearly the best pitcher and the best hitter at the tryout camp,” said JD Droddy, Director of Baseball Operations and Saguaros 2016 Field Manager. “I project that he will be throwing in the low-to-mid-90s during the regular season. I surely understand why the Royals drafted him out of high school. If he stays healthy, I have no doubt that he will be an impact player for the Saguaros in 2017.”
After a senior season in which he boasted a 1.09 earned run average in 45 innings pitched, Miller was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 35th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The hard-throwing lefty opted to go to South Mountain Community College, in Phoenix, Ariz. In nine outings at the school, he struck out 45 batters, walked 11 and posted an earned run average of 1.54, but an arm injury cut his season short and required Tommy John surgery.
After a long rehabilitation process, and a coaching stint at Ignacio High School alongside his father, Robert, Miller will be good to go for the start of the season.
Tucson is the largest market in the independent, 10-team Pecos League, and the Saguaros are the defending champions. The team made a splash by sporting a 55-15 record and taking the league title in its inaugural 2016 season.
In the last two seasons, two Pecos League players have gone on to play in the major leagues, Jon Edwards (Texas Rangers) and Chris Smith (Toronto Blue Jays).