Mariners manager on Bryce Miller: ‘Calm, cool as any young player I’ve ever seen’

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Bryce Miller’s performance for the Seattle Mariners late Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum reverberated all the way back to his Texas home, where he made at least one evening television sportscast in San Antonio on Wednesday night and generated stories on more than a few local websites.

In his major league debut, the 24-year-old New Braunfels High School alumnus took a perfect game against the A’s into the sixth inning. He finished with only one run allowed on two hits in six innings. Perhaps more eye opening, the 24-year-old righthander struck out 10 and walked none.

Yes, he did it against the A’s, the team with the worst record in baseball. But his stuff was so good, it raised eyebrows in the Mariners organization, with manager Scott Servais calling it “an unbelievable performance” in postgame comments aired on Roots Sports.

“Calm, cool as any young player I’ve ever seen, for any young player getting to start his first major league game,” Servais said. “That’s kind of what we saw in spring training. But you never really know when the lights come on, and it was the same guy.

“He got in an awesome rhythm, a groove, with his secondary pitches. Obviously, the fastball’s got all kinds of life on it, and the swing and miss that that can bring from other lineups. You can’t ask for much more. That was some kind of shot in the arm.”

When the game started, it was sort of a curiosity, with A’s rookie Mason Miller going against a kid from Texas named Bryce Miller (no relation). When it reached the sixth inning, both pitchers were still in the game and both had no hitters going.

In the bottom of the sixth, with Bryce on the mound, the A’s came to life with Tony Kemp delivering a one-out single. Eventually, former San Antonio Missions star Esteury Ruiz doubled to drive in Kemp with the game’s first run.

By the top of the seventh, the A’s had a 1-0 lead, with Mason Miller still on the mound, throwing well and retiring the Mariners 1-2-3. For the A’s rookie, that was it. He was done, and the game would be turned over to the A’s bullpen. The Mariners took advantage of the situation, scored twice late and won the game, 2-1.

In the aftermath, historians and data specialists determined that Miller had become the only pitcher in Mariners history to strike out 10 batters in his debut. He joined Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto as the only pitchers in AL/NL history to post 10 plus strikeouts and no walks in his first game.

Bryce Miller was still beaming about it all in his first Mariners’ post-game news conference. “I’ve been dreaming about it since I was little,” he said in remarks published by “I’ll definitely take the results from today.”

Earlier in the afternoon on Tuesday, New Braunfels coach Robert Alford talked about the pride he feels in what his former player has accomplished in simply reaching the big leagues. Alford coached him for three years on varsity through 2017 on a team that also included Baltimore Orioles’ prospect Jordan Westburg.

“It’s just a really, really cool deal,” Alford said of Miller’s promotion to the majors.

Alford said Miller had “a ton of upside” coming out of New Braunfels and elected to play one year in 2018 at Blinn Junior College. From there, he signed with Texas A&M of the Southeastern Conference and continued to progress.

At A&M, he faced a serious challenge when his second season with the Aggies in March of 2020 was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. Undeterred, Miller didn’t flinch. By June, he joined the Brazos Valley Bombers in the Texas Collegiate League and continued to work on his craft.

Alford applauded Miller and all the ball players around the state who pursued their goals during a time of uncertainty.

“Like you said, it was just a lot of people trying to chase their dream,” Alford said. “There was so much fear of the unknown and what was happening with Covid … but (there was a sense that) ‘I still need to get out there and do what I’m supposed to do.’

“I saw it all across the summer, because I’ve got two boys myself, and we were driving all over Texas and watching them play. You see all those kids out there, just trying to have some sense of normalcy. It was pretty impressive.”

Missions president Burl Yarbrough ran the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio in the TCL out of Wolff Stadium in both 2020 and 2021. In 2020, the TCL was the only baseball show in town after the minor league season was canceled.

Three years ago, Miller and the Bombers were the opposition to Yarbrough and the Chanclas. But upon learning Tuesday morning that Miller had made the major leagues, he acknowledged that it “was really cool” to have someone from the 2020 TCL break through to the highest level of baseball.

Recalling what it was like to meet specific health and safety protocols on a nightly basis that summer, Yarbrough reflected on what it all meant to him.

“None of us had ever been through anything like that,” he said. “You take those kids that had their season taken away from them at the college level, and we had lost our (entire) season at Triple-A that summer. We were just looking for something to put together and have an opportunity for kids to play. It’s something that I’m very proud of, that we were able to get all that done.

“Because, man, it would have been a long, long year without baseball.”

Bryce Miller from New Braunfels and Texas A&M started on the mound for the Brazos Valley Bombers and pitched three scoreless innings against the Flying Chanclas on Tuesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander

Three years ago, former New Braunfels High School standout Bryce Miller pitched for the Brazos Valley Bombers in the Texas Collegiate League. Today, he is coming off a historic first start in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners . – File photo by Joe Alexander

New Braunfels’ Bryce Miller expected to make his major league debut tonight

Bryce Miller from New Braunfels and Texas A&M started on the mound for the Brazos Valley Bombers and pitched three scoreless innings against the Flying Chanclas on Tuesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander

Bryce Miller, from New Braunfels and Texas A&M, pitched for the Brazos Valley Bombers in the Texas Collegiate League during the summer of 2020 – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Bryce Miller, who survived the pandemic summer of 2020 pitching in front of sparse crowds with the Brazos Valley Bombers, is expected to make his major league debut tonight.

The Seattle Mariners’ No. 2 prospect is being recalled from Double-A Arkansas and will start in Tuesday’s series opener against the Oakland A’s, according to a story by Daniel Kramer published Monday on

It’s a story that I’m following closely, because it’s such a testament to the resilience of youth.

Here’s what I know about Miller and his journey to The Show:

The righthander pitched for New Braunfels High School, for Blinn College and for parts of three seasons at Texas A&M before he was drafted by the Mariners in 2021 on the fourth round.

During his time at A&M, the careers of young ball players everywhere were threatened by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and Miller was no different.

College seasons in the spring of 2020 ended in March when the impact of the national health crisis started to be felt. Eventually, most sporting events around the nation went on pause.

Even though the major leagues would eventually play a shortened season in 2020, minor league pro baseball scrapped its season entirely, giving rise to independent leagues willing to continue to operate.

Locally, Miller joined some of the other top players in the developmental phase of their careers gravitating to the Texas Collegiate League.

The Flying Chanclas de San Antonio, run by the administration of the San Antonio Missions, played in the TCL out of Wolff Stadium.

It was at Wolff in July of 2020 when my friend and colleague Joe Alexander took some pictures of Miller, a 2017 New Braunfels graduate, pitching for the Bombers.

I’ll always remember that summer as one of great uncertainty.

Fearful of being around anyone outside of my immediate family, I didn’t attend the TCL games at Wolff, but I did watch games from my home on a livestream, talked periodically on the phone with Flying Chanclas manager John McLaren and wrote stories for The JB Replay from my kitchen table.

That’s why I’ll be really happy to see what happens when Miller takes the ball for the Mariners tonight in the Oakland Coliseum.

Three years ago, the lanky righty likely had some thoughts of uncertainty himself, especially when his college season at Texas A&M was shuttered.

He probably wondered where it was all going as he joined the Brazos Valley club, rode the bus and played in front of sparse crowds in the stifling heat of Texas, all to keep his dream alive.

Tonight, I’ll be on campus at UTSA watching the Roadrunners play the Sam Houston State Bearkats. But I’ll keep an eye on the proceedings in Oakland, eager to see how Miller fares in his first start in the majors.

One of the boys of the pandemic summer has made it to the big leagues, and knowing where we all were three years ago, that’s a reason for everyone to toast the occasion.

Trade speculation swirls around former Mission Taylor Williams

Taylor Williams pitching for the San Antonio Missions against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on April 28, 2019 at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander

Taylor Williams pitched in 46 games for the Missions last year. He was 3-3 with a 2.83 ERA and six saves. – photo by Joe Alexander

The name of a player familiar to fans of the San Antonio Missions has surfaced in speculation with the baseball trade deadline approaching on Aug. 31.

It’s 29-year-old Seattle Mariners reliever Taylor Williams, who might be a target of teams contending for the playoffs.

According to a story in the New York Post, Williams, a right-handed reliever, might be a player who could help the New York Yankees. In addition, SB Nation mentions that the Tampa Bay Rays also might benefit from his talents.

Williams pitched in 46 games for the Missions last year, all out of the bullpen.

He was 3-3 with a 2.98 earned run average and six saves in San Antonio, where the Missions served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

During the season, Williams was called up to the Brewers a few times, but he never seemed to gain any traction. He was 1-1 with a 9.82 ERA in Milwaukee.

On Feb. 21, the course of his career took a detour as the Mariners claimed him off waivers.

Though the Mariners have struggled with an 11-19 record, Williams has emerged as one of the bright spots in the bullpen.

He has made 12 appearances out of the bullpen and has recorded six saves. He’s been steady, with a 3.00 ERA. In 12 innings pitched, Williams has struck out 17 and walked just four.

Recently, the Vancouver, Wash., native of has pitched well in two outings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the best record in the majors.

Combined, Williams yielded only one hit in two scoreless innings while striking out five L.A. batters. On Aug. 17 at Dodger Stadium, he struck out two in one inning. Two nights later, at Seattle, he walked two but retired the side on three strikeouts to earn the save.