With less than 48 hours remaining until the signing deadline passes, Brownwood graduate Shelby Miller ó the 19th overall selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft ó is still optimistic a contract can be worked out with the St. Louis Cardinals, though his level of certainty has diminished slightly since being drafted on June 9.
ďThereís a good chance Iím going to sign,Ē said Miller, who was in attendance at the Abilene Bev Ball Classic volleyball tournament over the weekend. ďIt would be really hard to pass up what will take place here in a couple of days. Itís nerve-racking to see what they are going to put out there, and if doesnít work out Iíll go down a different path.Ē
Miller must sign by the end of the day Monday or wait at least one year ó but more likely three ó to re-enter the MLB draft.
If Miller follows through on his letter of intent to play at Texas A&M, an NCAA Division I program, he cannot be drafted for three seasons. However, if Miller were to attend a junior college ó which is among the options he is exploring ó he could be drafted again next year.
ďI donít know what the future holds for me yet, but Iíll find out here pretty quick,Ē Miller said. ďIf I donít sign, Iíll end up at either A&M or a junior college. A&M is good place to go if things donít work out, and I havenít really looked at a junior college yet, so Iíd have to do that pretty quick.Ē
Though negotiations have been ongoing since the draft, no official contract has been offered to this point, according to Miller, who also stated that the majority of MLB first-round picks have yet to sign with their respective teams.
ď(The Cardinals) still havenít made an offer yet,Ē Miller said. ďIím just waiting. Negotiations are going pretty well right now, but only 13 first-rounders have signed so far. Nothing bad has happened. A lot of teams wait until the last day to decide what they are going to give the players.Ē
Miller did not discuss any potential financial terms of the deal, which is being handled by his advisors Gavin Wright and Peter Vescovo of Select Sports Group out of Houston.
ďI donít know money yet,Ē Miller said. ďThey say thereís slot money and different things they can give players. I donít know a price yet, but thatís what my advisors are talking about with the Cardinals. Itís going to be a win-win situation. Itís not about what the Cardinals do or donít give me.Ē
If Miller signs with the Cardinals, he expects to be sent to an instructional league in Jupiter, Fla. in October, but those plans arenít set in stone. To pass time over the last two months, Miller stated he has just tried to stay in shape and remain healthy.
ďSo far itís been slow for two months,Ē Miller said. ďI thought it would be a whole lot quicker, but itís definitely a process thatís taken a while and hopefully something happens pretty quick. I just want to get to the point where I can play baseball.Ē
Miller was voted Gatorade Texas High School Baseball Player of the Year as he went 10-2 on the mound with a 2.00 ERA and 153 strikeouts, 39 walks, 38 hits and 22 runs allowed in 77 innings. At the plate, he batted .430 with five home runs and 37 RBIs.
Miller also helped lead the Brownwood Lions to three consecutive playoff appearances, including the 2009 Region I-3A championship game, which matched the deepest run in program history.