HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – Holly Springs Salamanders outfielder Brian Miller leads the Coastal Plain League (CPL) with a .444 batting average, .509 on-base percentage, and 63 hits heading into the 2015 CPL All-Star Game that will take place at Sparrow Stadium in Florence, S.C. on Monday.
The rising sophomore, along with pitcher Brett Daniels, represent the North Carolina Tar Heels playing for the league’s newest team in Holly Springs, and has become one of the most reliable players for the Salamanders and the CPL’s most consistent hitter.
On Saturday, Miller went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs against Martinsville, while extending his current hitting streak to 22 games and hitting safely in 31 of his last 33 games.
Starting 35 of 36 games all season, he matches fellow All-Star and teammate Collin Woody in that stat and the work he’s put in with his teammates is paying off as Holly Springs currently sits in first place in the East Division with a second-half season record of 8-3, while sitting 20-19 overall.
He’s taken a specific approach to working on his hitting that has paid off.
“It’s gonna sound weird, but just a mix of being patient and aggressive – just knowin’ when to trigger each,” Miller said.
Describing himself as a fastball hitter, teams around the CPL have caught on and are trying to challenge him with a variety of pitches – still with little success.
It’s something he apparently had already experienced during his season with the Tar Heels, and a situation that seems to have provided him with an extra edge at the plate during summer ball play.
“At UNC, once the scouting report came out, I started getting a lot of change-ups and a lot of off-speed,” Miller said.
“That’s what I’m gettin’ here (in the CPL). I guess I’m adjusting to it better. I know I’m not gonna get that many fastballs, so just tryin’ to find that one pitch to hit and bein’ on top of that and drive it somewhere. The rest is takin’ care of itself.”
In a recent blog post on the Tar Heels’ website, Miller wrote that he’s tried to emphasize improving his base-running and speed, as well as bunting for hits and getting plenty of defensive reps in the outfield and infield.
He’s accomplished all of that so far playing for Holly Springs.
Miller sits second in the CPL with 27 stolen bases on 36 attempts, the most in the league, while defensively he’s posted 42 putouts and five assists to equate into a .959 fielding percentage.
“My main goal is to get a lot of reps – that’s defensively,” Miller said earlier in the season.
“Offensively, I’m just tryin’ to stay aggressive. Not really changin’ anything offensively, just trying to keep my same approach.”
His performance has gone in line with the aggressive offensive style that the Salamanders play under coach Andrew Ciencin.
With the consistency Miller has maintained to date at the plate and in the outfield, an All-Star game start goes along with the well-deserved attention he’s getting as one of the Salamanders’ and the CPL’s marquee players in 2015.
Having played in some summer high school all-star games, he’s looking forward to this one as well.
“It’s an honor to be in the All-Star Game,” Miller said.
“I’m lookin’ forward to it. It will be fun.”