Not only has Andrew Miller helped a depleted Cleveland Indians squad reach the World Series, he has single-handedly affected the way we view top relievers. Whether it's in the middle innings or late innings, and for one inning or multiple, Miller has consistently entered -- and dominated -- in high-leverage situations for the Tribe both during the regular season and this postseason.
Obviously it takes a special skill set to succeed in that role. Not just dominant stuff, but the ability to get both righties and lefties out, the mental makeup to deal with the inherent uncertainty (when will you pitch?), the stamina to throw multiple innings, etc. Guys like this don't exactly grow on trees -- even great closers like Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman don't fit the profile -- but they can be developed for the role, as Miller, a former starter and closer, was.
Either way, you can bet 29 other teams are now trying to identify the next Andrew Miller, someone affordable who can be groomed for the "super-reliever" role.
Let me be clear about one thing: Emulating the actual Andrew Miller is close to impossible. The 6-foot-7 lefty has a grade-70 fastball and slider (on the 20-80 scouting scale) and fills up the strike zone. Really the only pitchers capable of matching his success are either Cy Young-caliber starting pitchers, such as Chris Sale and Max Scherzer, or some of the game's dominant closers, like Zach Britton, Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon and Wade Davis.
But there are several talented young arms who have shown the potential to fit the Miller mold. Here are the ones who stand out to me:
Reyes has a 100 mph fastball and a wipeout curveball and changeup. He has super-reliever talent if the Cardinals decided to go down that road. I doubt they will, however, considering how valuable he is as a starter; I think he'll slot in as the Cardinals' No. 2 starter next year (behind Carlos Martinez). But he does have the stuff and the stamina to succeed in a relief role.