The SF Giants called up veteran right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller and optioned reliever Cole Waites to Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday prior to the team's game against the Rockies. Miller signed a minor-league contract with the Giants earlier this year and has spent the entire season in the minors up to this point. However, he will not have appeared in parts of 10 MLB seasons.
Miller was a first-round pick out of high school by the Cardinals in 2009 and quickly became a consensus top-100 prospect in the league. Miller made his big-league debut as a 21-year-old late in the 2012 season and was a part of the Cardinals bullpen in the playoffs when they faced off against the Giants in the NLCS.
The following year, Miller became a mainstay in St. Louis' rotation, recording a 3.06 ERA across 173.1 innings pitched and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. After another impressive season in 2014, where Miller started against the Giants in the NLCS, Miller was a part of a blockbuster trade that sent him to Atlanta for outfielder Jason Heyward.
Miller had a career year in 2015 with Atlanta. He earned an All-Star selection and recorded a 3.02 ERA across 205.1 innings pitched. Then, that offseason, Miller was surprisingly traded once again, this time to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Ender Inciarte and a package of prospects that included the most recent first overall pick (Dansby Swanson).
It's unclear whether Atlanta and St. Louis knew Miller's early-career success was unsustainable or not, but he imploded almost as soon as he arrived in Arizona. He posted a 6.15 ERA in 20 starts and was optioned to Triple-A while the Dbacks tried to get him back to his previous form.
The following year, Miller underwent season-ending UCL surgery. While he has appeared in nearly every big-league season since (he opted out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Miller has never rekindled his early-career success. From 2018-2021, Miller appeared in 37 games combined with the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Cubs, and Pirates. He has a 9.17 ERA in 72.2 innings pitched (37 games) with 57 strikeouts and 48 walks.
This season, Miller has spent the year with the Yankees and Giants Triple-A affiliates. He has been quite effective. Miller has 12 saves and a 2.87 ERA in 43 appearances with 69 strikeouts and 21 walks in 53.1 innings pitched. Granted, his ERA has jumped to 3.62 in the hitter-friendly environments throughout the Pacific Coast League. Still, his numbers are far better than the league average.
Waites is a fireballer reliever who has skyrocketed through the Giants farm system over the past two years. An 18th-round pick out of the University of West Alabama in 2019, Waites became the first player drafted under SF Giants amateur scouting director Michael Holmes to reach the majors when he was promoted two weeks ago.
This season, Waites has 1.99 ERA in 37 appearances with 75 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched combined between stints at High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He made five appearances with the Giants and allowed just one run over 4.1 innings pitched. However, Waites struggled to limit baserunners, surrendering five hits and four walks while striking out just four. He will aim to continue improving his command back at Triple-A.