Bobby Miller, current pitcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers system and former McHenry High School Warrior and Louisville Cardinal, has come a long way since his early baseball career. Bobby was an Area Code, Chicago Scouts Association's Jupiter Fall Team and I-94 Conference participant that was selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft with an exciting young arm. How did he get there though? I had the opportunity to speak with a few different coaches that had a role in Bobby’s recruitment and development throughout his high school and collegiate career.
Brian Rockweiler, Head Baseball Coach at McHenry High School, coached Bobby during his time at McHenry. Rockweiler says that Bobby was a bit quiet and reserved when he first showed up to McHenry but was never afraid to ask important questions and was always a great teammate. Rockweiler first became aware of Bobby and his talent during an open gym and projected to be a solid contributor as a position player rather than pitcher early on. As his high school years went by, Bobby’s velocity as a pitcher started to jump and his junior year is when things “really started to click” according to Rockweiler. Bobby’s development as a flamethrower, his frame and national exposure in Area Code and CSA events set him up for an opportunity to continue his baseball career at the next level.
Eric Snider, Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at the University of Louisville Baseball, played a part in the recruitment and development of Miller. Miller popped up on the Cardinals’ radar in the early stages of his high school career. Snider explained that Miller always knew he wanted to be a big leaguer and that he always had his eyes on playing for the Louisville program. Rockweiler confirmed this and said Bobby was more focused on Louisville than the draft later in his high school career.
However, it was never a slam-dunk that it would all fall into place. “We still had to recruit him and his family” Snider explained even though Bobby was all-in on the Cardinals. A torn meniscus forced Bobby to get surgery a week before the 2017 MLB Draft. Had this not happened, Bobby’s draft stock may have been higher but nonetheless the Orioles selected him in the 38th round. Rather than sign a professional contract, Bobby opted to attend Louisville to develop his game and pursue a degree.
“Always stay true to yourself…whether you’re at the top or bottom. If you’re at the top, someone will always be trying to knock you off and come for your spot. If you’re at the bottom, you have an opportunity to go knock someone off and take their place.”
From day 1 Bobby was “focused on what he wanted to do” and did so by taking advantage of all the resources available at Louisville, ranging from academic support to strength and condition to nutrition. Like Rockweiler, Snider described him as a great kid and a hard worker who was always a great teammate and had players legitimately enjoying being able to play behind him. Not only did Bobby focus on becoming a great baseball player and teammate but is also just 16 credit hours away from earning his degree in Criminal Justice. A big focus of the Louisville baseball program is that they push their players to earn their degree in 3 ½ years, according to Snider. “We’ll help develop you in baseball, but you must get your degree!” says Snider.
I was fortunate to be able to speak to Bobby himself about his journey and how he got to this point in his career. He is very grateful for those that helped get him to where he is today, especially his parents who sacrificed their time and money to get him in front of coaches and scouts in different showcases and events which he believes helped his development and gain national attention. He also credits his high school and college coaches as well as his teammates for “pushing him mentally and physically”. He says that attending Louisville was an “easy choice” and as soon as he got the offer, he took it and never looked back. “I don’t know how much better I would have gotten had I not attended Louisville” said Bobby.
For those pursuing the same dream that Bobby did, he offers up some advice for young ball players. “Always stay true to yourself…whether you’re at the top or bottom. If you’re at the top, someone will always be trying to knock you off and come for your spot. If you’re at the bottom, you have an opportunity to go knock someone off and take their place.”
It was never easy, but Bobby overcame adversity and worked his tail off to get to where he is today while learning the value of taking advantage of all resources available and the importance of pursuing a degree. The lessons learned along the way will continue to help the now-Los Angeles Dodger as he embarks on a new stage and challenge of his young career.