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Mitchell High catcher Jackson Miller first Tampa Bay prep prospect drafted

The left-handed hitter becomes the Mustangs’ highest draft pick after being selected by the Cincinnati Reds ahead of projections.
Mitchell High's Jackson Miller is slotted to earn a signing bonus of $1,025,100 if he turns pro.
Mitchell High's Jackson Miller is slotted to earn a signing bonus of $1,025,100 if he turns pro. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]
Published Jun. 11, 2020|Updated Jun. 11, 2020

Jackson Miller became the highest draft pick to come out of Mitchell High School on Thursday when the Cincinnati Reds selected him with the 65th overall pick on the Major League Baseball draft’s second day.

Miller, who committed to Wake Forest as a freshman and is signed to play college ball there, is slotted to earn a signing bonus of $1,025,100 if he turns pro.

He is the second Tampa Bay area product to be selected in this year’s draft. Former Steinbrenner High standout and current Florida State right-hander CJ Van Eyk was selected with the 42nd overall pick.

Related: Mitchell High teammates may give Tampa Bay a leg up in MLB draft

As a left-handed hitting catcher, Miller has been a well-regarded draft prospect for several years. Despite his senior season being canceled after just seven games because of the pandemic, Miller’s stock remained strong and a dozen teams were interested in him on draft day.

He was ranked the 99th best draft prospect by Baseball America, and was drafted well ahead of that ranking, selected in the Competitive Balance B round that followed the draft’s second round.

Before Miller, the highest-drafted player to come out of Mitchell was current major-league reliever Tyler Clippard, a ninth-round selection of the Yankees in 2003.

Related: Former Steinbrenner pitcher CJ Van Eyk selected by the Blue Jays

Miller hit .500 (13-for-26) in seven games before his senior season was cut short. He shined on the showcase circuit the summer before his senior year, showing impressive gap power and an 95-mph exit velocity while displaying steady catching tools, including a 1.89-second pop time.

Jackson’s Mitchell teammate, left-hander Mason Miller, is also expected to be drafted Thursday.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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