One of the players coming back to Oakland in the Sean Murphy deal, Kyle Muller is a pretty good prospect.
- Born: October 7, 1997
- B/T: Right/Left
- 6’7″, 250-lbs
- Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft from Jesuit College Preparatory of Dallas
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
After being drafted in 2016 as an 18-year-old, Muller spent that year and the year after in Rookie ball before reaching A ball in 2018. He did fairly well, just didn’t strike out that many. That same year he goes to High-A, and pitches about the same with a few more strikeouts but also a few more walks. So then in the same 2018 he goes to Double-A where he improves the walks and gets similar results.
The Braves had him repeat Double-A all of 2019, and his strikeouts improved, but his walk rate was ugly!
In 2021 he spends most of the year in Triple-A, and gets a few walks knocked off the list, but basically pitches about the same. He has some time in the majors, and his strikeout rate predictably falls off a bit.
He starts 2022 in Triple-A and this time he shows real progress: his walk rate gets cut almost in half and his strikeout rate is the best of his career. He gets a brief call up back to the majors where he again regressed.
His walk rate was only poor in May spent partially in the majors. Otherwise he really showed improvement through the summer before backing up a bit late.
His strikeout rate was great at times, but typically not great in the majors.
Handedness K% and BB%
AAA (vs RH): 28%K and 8%BB. (vs LH): 32%K and 7%BB.
MLB (vs RH): 20%K and 10%BB. (vs LH): 22%K and 33%BB.
Let’s acknowledge the small sample size in the majors (he won’t walk 1/3 of lefties faced). What we see is:
- He strikes out more lefties
- He walks about the same
- Major league batters are better at laying off pitches than AAA batters
He’s making progress on his walks, but he’s inconsistent.
He doesn’t yet strike out enough major leaguers to be truly dominant.
Muller is a big (6’7″) lefty who has plenty of innings at both Double-A and Triple-A. He might start there in 2023, but he only really needs to improve his control.
Then comes the big step, for when he reaches the majors in 2023, it’s likely to be his permanent home. Oakland will want to show what they got for Murphy, and his competition won’t be as fierce.
He has four pitches in his arsenal, with a mid-90s FB that can reach 99 and from a tall lefty that can be an overpowering pitch. When he controls it (ahem). He also has a sweeping mid-80s slider that can be plus at times. His low-80s curve has the potential to be a good third pitch, but he needs more consistency from it. His changeup is there, but less developed than his others.
It’s a starter’s package and a good one. He’s now 25, and he’s ready. He just needs practice to be a good one. While the walks remain (and he is working on it, you can tell), the WHIP will suffer. But once he learns to control his pitches, he will be dominant.
Oakland fans, you will enjoy Muller.