It’s Miller time in Brew City

Owen Miller, who grew up in Fredonia rooting for Milwaukee, is traded to the Brewers in what he describes as a ‘dream come true’ homecoming

FREDONIA’S OWEN MILLER led the Double-A Texas League in hits with 147 in 2019 as a member of the league champion Amarillo Sod Poodles. After last week’s trade from the Cleveland Guardians, Miller will be playing this season for his favorite childhood team, the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ozaukee Press staff

Owen Miller has realized his lifelong ambition to play professional baseball.

But to play for the Milwaukee Brewers, the team he rooted for while growing up in Fredonia, barely half an hour’s drive to the ballpark where his favorite stars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder smashed homers?

The cherry was put on top of that sundae on Dec. 14.

Miller, a member of the Cleveland Guardians, was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers last week for a player to be named later.

“It’s a dream come true to come home and play for the Brewers,” Miller said.

“Some of my earliest memories are my grandparents taking me to games when I was a kid. I couldn’t be more excited to join such a great organization, and I look forward to playing in front of so many friends and family.”

His father Tom found out about the trade 45 minutes before the public did.

“And that’s when he found out. He didn’t know,” Tom said.

“He called me from Puerto Rico about 4:15 Wednesday.”

Miller, 26, is continuing to hone his hitting and fielding skills in Puerto Rico and plans to come home on Thursday, Dec. 22.

“It’s exciting. We’ll save on some travel expenses,” Tom said.

“It’s good for the community, too. People can go who know him.”

Miller primarily played first base for the Guardians — 80 games there last season — splitting time with 25-year-old Josh Naylor, who came to the Guardians from the San Diego Padres in the same trade that brought Miller to Cleveland in August 2020.

The Guardians earlier this month signed free agent first baseman Josh Bell, meaning there were three people at one position, so it wasn’t inconceivable that Naylor or Miller would be moved.

Miller also played 25 games at second base and four at third base for the Guardians. He was the designated hitter in 22 games.

“It’s a good thing for your career if you can play different spots,” Tom said.

Miller hit .243 in 424 at-bats last season with six home runs, 51 RBI, 53 runs scored and two steals. He walked 32 times and struck out 93 times. His on base percentage was .301.

He started hot, hitting .400 in 16 games in April.

According to the Milwaukee Brewers’ stats, Miller’s .243 average ranked fourth on the team among players with more than 400 at-bats.

Hunter Renfroe hit .255 in 474 at-bats and Christian Yelich hit .252 in 575 at-bats. Kolten Wong hit .251 in 430 at-bats, and he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals this month.

The Guardians didn’t play the Brewers in Milwaukee the past two seasons, so his family and friends made trips to Cleveland or Chicago to watch him play.

Miller has some near history with the Brewers. On Sept. 15, 2021, he nearly broke up a no-hitter by Corbin Burnes after 7-2/3 innings. Miller laced a line drive to right-center field, which was caught by a sliding Lorenzo Cain.

Burnes left the game after that, and Josh Hader completed the second no-hitter in Brewers’ history with three outs in the ninth inning.

Miller’s path to the Major Leagues started as a young child.

“As long as I can remember, he has had a ball and bat in his hands,” his father said. “We also spent a lot of time at the park on our own and had a batting screen in the basement where he also hit off the tee and did soft toss throughout the winter months.”

As he grew older, Miller played in summer for Hitters Baseball in Racine, a youth travel organization that has had 12 members make Major League debuts, including Gavin Lux of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

That prevented Miller from playing for Ozaukee High School, but he played basketball and is one of the most prolific scorers in school history.

Miller played shortstop for three years at Illinois State. During one summer, he played for the Lakeshore Chinooks at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon. In July 2017, he hit for the cycle twice in three games, a Northwoods League record. That feat led the Chinooks to make a bobblehead of Miller riding a bike .

Miller was drafted by the Padres in the third round with the 84th overall pick in 2018. He made his way through the minor league system and ended up leading the Double-A Texas League in hits with 147 and games played with 130 in 2019, helping the Amarillo Sod Poodles win the league title.

He made his Major League debut May 23, 2021, in Cleveland. It was the day of his brother Noah’s high school graduation, and Noah insisted he and the family go watch Owen instead.

Noah hopes to follow in his brother’s footsteps to the Major Leagues someday. He was drafted with the final pick of the first round by the Minnesota Twins last year and played Single-A ball last season.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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