By: Michael Ganci

Brad Miller: From a Mariners’ Perspective

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It’s been no secret, especially with the Mariners’ recent acquisition of Seth Smith, that they have a couple of shortstops that could fill the void with the Mets. It’s no secret that they’re open to upgrading from Wilmer Flores/Ruben Tejada.

Initially from looking at the stats, nothing jumps off the page, but consider me convinced after chatting with Scott Weber from Lookout Landing. Here’s our chat.

Daily Stache: What kind of prospect is Brad Miller? How is he viewed by the team?
Scott Weber: Brad Miller has probably graduated from prospect status at this point, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have upside. His rookie year demonstrated just how rare of an asset he is — a left-handed shortstop with power who isn’t terrible at defense. The team is high enough on him to even suggest his bat could play in the outfield, but their recent addition of Seth Smith should put those talks to rest.
Stache: What have we seen so far at the pro level?
Weber: Outside of a wretched six weeks to begin 2014, Miller has shown consistent power and the ability to be a league-average or better hitting shortstop. At times, he’s demonstrated the ability to be as good of a hitter as Kyle Seager. Other times, he looks like a wild swing and miss machine. He’s had trouble adjusting to pitchers adjusting to him at times.
Stache: Tell me about his defense. How’s his range and arm for a shortstop?
Weber: Miller’s defense is interesting, because it’s not really a question of ability. Miller has the range and arm to play short with ease, and if he didn’t make so many errors, he’d probably grade out as a plus defender. But that’s the rub. Miller has been prone to errors on routine plays, skying throws to first, mishandling scoops to second, or booting easy grounders. The problems have always seemed more mental than physical. Even with the errors, which are frustrating, he’s a more than adequate defender.
Stache: What’s his achilles heal? What can he work on?
Weber:  Besides the errors, Miller needs to do a better job at coming to the plate with a plan. When Miller struggled for long stretches in 2014, most of it was due to over-aggressiveness at the plate, or being too passive and waving at terrible two-strike pitches. Miller is at his best when he’s aggressive, but only on pitches he can hit. When balls start to veer down and away from him and he’s forced to defend the plate, it can be ugly.
Stache: If you were the general manager, would you deal him for pitching? If so, what would you ask for from the Mets?
Weber: There aren’t very many circumstances under which I’d trade Brad Miller. Even though he carries a sizeable amount of risk, if he can return to his rookie year production and not improve on it at all, you’re looking at a borderline all-star. A top five shortstop with pop, especially left-handed, is a massive and rare asset to have. Even though the Mariners have Chris Taylor if they do choose to deal away Miller, Taylor doesn’t have nearly the same sort of upside as a glove-first singles-type hitter. I’d be hard-pressed to deal away Miller for anything short of high-quality MLB-ready players. The Mariners are going for it, and they’ll need him.
Stache: Better yet, if you’re the Mets, is this guy worthy of investing in to be the shortstop of the future?
Weber: If I were the Mets, I’d be all over this guy. He’d be an ideal trade target for any team. Even if he falters again, he’ll still be better than what a lot of teams field out there, and he’s controlled for five more years.
Stache: Lastly, finish this sentence. In five years, Brad Miller will be…
Weber: A free agent! Miller can be a star. But he could also continue to struggle with adjustments, and not fix the easy mistakes on the field. His upside is even better than what we saw his rookie year, and going forward I’d bet he’s closer to the player he was in 2013 than the one he was in 2014 going forward. Maybe even better.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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