Bobby Miller still plans on heading to Louisville later this summer, after his right knee is healed, to play baseball.
That could change for the McHenry graduate, depending on what happens in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which begins Monday. Although, like many high school players with college commitments, there is an issue of signability to complicate the draft process.
Major league teams will hesitate to draft high schoolers early on and possibly lose the pick if the money is not enough. Miller (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) had an outstanding senior season and has drawn interest from many teams, but his commitment to Louisville could deter a team from selecting him.
Miller had surgery to repair meniscus damage in his right knee Wednesday, one day after he was named the Northwest Herald Baseball Player of the Year. Miller said the surgery, performed by Dr. William Cox of Centegra Physical Care-McHenry County Orthopedics, went well and he likely will be ready to resume physical activities within six weeks.
“They were not able to repair it, so they cut some meniscus out to clean it out,” Miller said. “It’ll probably be four to six weeks instead of three months. I doubt that it will happen again because it’s not bad.”
He will ice and elevate his leg this week and see Cox next week before starting physical therapy.
MIller’s parents, Bob and Tracy, have hired Jim Bullinger, with Meister Sports Management, as an advisor through the draft process. Because Miller may still play in college, he cannot yet hire Bullinger as an agent.
Bullinger has worked with the Millers since December. Warriors coach Brian Rockweiler said before the high school season that some scouts thought Miller, who has reached the low 90 mph range with his fastball, might go as high as the second round.
Miller, a right-handed pitcher, was on McHenry’s varsity for four seasons. He threw 59 innings this spring with 93 strikeouts, 19 walks, a 6-1 record, a 0.83 ERA and a 0.847 WHIP.
At Louisville, Miller would have housing and meals taken care of, while in the minor leagues, he would be living out of hotels and be away from his family for the first time.
“We have talked with my advisor a lot,” Miller said. “As of right now, I still really want to go to college, unless I get some magic number (for money). You never know.”
Bullinger is a former major league pitcher who threw with the Cubs, Montreal and Seattle. He has spoken with Miller about the pros and cons for both college and professional baseball.
“(The draft) is exciting,” Miller said. “But I’m still focused on college. If I get that magic number, then maybe I’ll take it. Either way, I’ll have a really good career, if I get drafted or go to Louisville. I’ll have great coaching either way.”
Those high school players who go to NCAA Division I or II schools are not eligible again for the draft until completion of their junior year or until they turn 21.