Miller named to all-star team

Professional baseball career is off to a hot start with Tri-City Dust Devils

OZAUKEE HIGH SCHOOL alumnus Owen Miller ( right), along with Tri-City Dust Devil teammate Olivier Basabe, were two of five team members to make the Northwest League’s all-star squad this summer. Miller, who was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the third round in June, attributes some of his professional baseball success to playing with the Lakeshore Chinooks last summer. Photo courtesy of the Tri-City Dust Devils
Ozaukee Press staff

Ozaukee High School alumnus and San Diego Padres draft pick Owen Miller this summer was tearing it up with the Tri-City Dust Devils in Class A-short season in Washington State and was selected to the league’s all-star game.
Last week came more good news.
In addition to packing his bags for the all-star game in Colorado, Miller was told to bring everything else with him. He was being called up to the Class A affiliate TinCaps in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“I’ve been having a blast. It’s been a great start to my pro career,” Miller said of his time with the Dust Devils.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start.”
A few games into his career in late June, Miller said switching from aluminum bats in college to wooden ones in the pros was his biggest adjustment.
He soon figured it out.
In 49 games at shortstop with the Dust Devils, Miller led the team in hitting with a .335 average and led the Northwest League in hits with 64.
“I got used to it, I found the right models, got more comfortable as I went on,” Miller said.
In his final game with the Dust Devils on Sunday, he went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
Miller led the team in total bases with 84, on-base percentage at .395, tied for the team lead in triples with three, was second in on-base percentage plus slugging at .835, and was third on the team with 22 runs and 20 RBI.
The biggest challenge so far, Miller said, is adjusting to being a pro ballplayer.
He got help in getting ready for the big leagues close to home. Last summer Miller played 13 games for the Mequon-based Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League, a summer league for college players, and set a record by hitting for the cycle twice in a three-game span from July 3 to 5.
“Playing for the Lakeshore Chinooks helped me prepare for what I’m doing now. It was definitely a big contributor to my success,” he said.
In Pasco, Wash., Miller lived with a host mom and teammate. In Fort Wayne, he will share an apartment with a few teammates.
Miller’s parents had made plans to go see him play in Washington and then canceled their flight when they learned their son was being promoted and moved closer to home.
Miller’s father Tom had taught him to play baseball as a child.
“I feel he has adapted to this level of play and continues to work hard each day to hone his skills on the field as well as working out to get stronger,” he said.
For Miller’s success in the first half of the season, he, like Major League all-stars, didn’t get any kind of break.
He got up at 3:30 a.m. Monday to catch a flight to Salt Lake City and then on to Colorado for the all-star game at Grand Junction. The Northwest League and Pioneer Baseball League all-stars were to face off Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Miller was to join the TinCaps in Eastlake, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, for their game against the Lake Country Captains.
Miller said it has been cool to be moved up so fast.
“I’ve really enjoyed my start to my pro career. Now I hope I can finish out this last month strong,” he said.
He looks forward to playing at the TinCaps home, Parkview Field, which has garnered a slew of awards and has a capacity of 8,100 people.
“It’s a really nice stadium. I think it’s one of the nicer ballparks in minor league baseball,” Miller said.
After the TinCaps’ season ends, Miller will play in a fall instructional league at the Padres’ training facility in Peoria, Ariz. Then he gets to play three games at Petco Park in San Diego — where the Padres play — before coming home for the offseason.
He has plans when he returns to Fredonia.
“I’ll be working out getting stronger and faster, eating healthy,” he said.
Miller had a decorated college career at Illinois State, where he succeeded Paul DeJong, now the starting shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals.
He hit .328 as a freshman, .325 as a sophomore and .384 as a junior, including a .433 on-base percentage. In his junior season, Miller broke the school’s single-season record for hits with 88 and scored 45 runs in 52 games, the second most on the team.
He was drafted after his junior season and has one year left to finish his business administration degree. He said he may go back and get it, depending on how his baseball career pans out.
At Ozaukee High School, Miller played baseball his freshman season and was selected the team’s most valuable player before playing his final three years in high school with the Hitters Baseball club team in Racine.
In basketball, Miller broke the Warriors’ scoring record with 1,115 points.
For more information on the TinCaps, visit



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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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