Miller's Legs
An extra +0.5 or +1.0 WAR, from the SS legs, are OK with Dr D


Dr. D has paid exactly zero attention to Spec's and Gordon's warnings that Brad Miller is fast, man, fast.  First of all, if he's kinda fast, that means What to me?  Baseball isn't about fast, any more than it's about tall.

;- )

Second of all, he ain't really that kinda player.  Right?

Third of all ... in Miller's debut game, they showed a high-angle RF shot of Miller stealing second base.  Dr. D's yap snapped shut so fast you could hear his teeth click.  


Just the Fa'ax, Ma'am

Villanueva threw a 1-0 slider to Dioner Navarro, and Endy Chavez leisurely took a strike.  

Because Chavez was disengaged from the pitch, and batting lefty, Navarro was able to comfortably stand up while waiting for the pitch to arrive.  He did not step with his back foot; he took a half step with his front foot, with an outstanding quick setup.  He fired a seed down to Castro at second base, knee high, a yard to the side of the bag.

Miller slid in safely.  Since they had the RF camera on it, we can give the technical-type details:

  • He read the pitcher like Rickey and had a jump that was much better than ML average.
  • Miller's get-off was nimble, a la Ichiro, but not explosive, a la the Uptons, or Michael Bourn, certainly.
  • His straightaway speed was eye-opening.
  • His closing speed to the bag was explosive.
  • He dove in headfirst, which Dr. D firmly insists can save a runner a full 1-2 feet.
  • All this occurred on the first 1-0 pitch of Miller's baserunning career.
  • It occurred in a tight game, when it mattered.
  • It was brazen.

Yes, those last two bullet points are "facts" rather than value judgments.  :- )  It was a brazen move -- as was Miller's big rip at the first pitch thrown to him in a big league game, which drew gales of laughter from Jay Buhner and Mike Blowers.  ... Dustin Ackley, the kid ain't.

Navarro's pop time had to have been excellent, and the throw was right on the money, and Miller nabbed it anyway. On that one play, just watching the play, you'd have thought that Brad Miller was an elite base stealer.

G, Spec, now I'm all ears.  What kind of SB's are we talkin' here?


Baseball Prospectus, Dept.

Where does that leave Miller going forward?  Well, if you can steal bases when the catcher does everything perfectly, obviously you can steal bases when the catcher does things less than perfectly.  Which also happens.

It's a funny thing; good wheels, good baserunning, you can add 0.5 to 1.0 WAR per season for it, if a guy's really good.  Like Michael Saunders.  That 0.5 to 1.0 isn't going to hurt Brad Miller, any, if he can get it.  An extra +5 or +10 runs, offensively, would be nice from a Mariner shortstop.

But also, if you were ever actually in a pennant race, in some tight games .... Felix vs Verlander, Iwakuma vs Darvish, score's 3-2 and the game matters ... now, then, manufacturing runs, those runs can be highly leveraged.

"Don't play for one run," Earl said, "Unless you know that run is going to win you the ball game."




The pop out was behind 3rd base/shallow OF and Miller outraced Seager to the spot EASILY.  It would have been a very tough play for Seager but Miller eased into it, no problem.  Kid can run.  As far as steals he's probably good for 20-25 if they run him (and he's on base enough - batting 9th can be problematic in that regard, but it's unlikely he stays there forever, y'know?).
Funnily enough, if you want a SS who swipes bags, that guy is Chris Taylor, who recently graduated to AA after being the best base stealer in the Cal League (23-for-25 in half a season).  He gets the jump that most of our quick runners struggle with. Taylor's continuing to hit in AA, I might add, and he makes the play going into the hole that Miller struggles with.  The prospects keep coming...
Miller will get better at it.  The dude is a dirt dog.  He and Franklin are gamers, through and through, with tangerine-sized chew for Franklin and the bare-handed batting style and stirrup pants of Miller.  Those guys love every day of baseball, 365 days a year.  It's a good thing.


:- )
Can guarantee you that there would be GM's who would LOVE to gamble on Taylor and Ackley, as supplemental players... Taylor looking more and more like Rafael Furcal, and Ackley leaves with that Carlos Guillen mystique...
A little more seriously, to get an impact player, my guess would be that you'd need a feature piece, perhaps Hultzen, Nick Franklin or the like...
If the incoming player had some issues, like a short contract or something (Zobrist, Choo etc), perhaps Wilhelmsen-Ackley-Taylor would work there?


That's an experience thing, or technical thing, or what?  Looks to me like his ARM is about like Ryan's, for what that's worth -

M's Watcher's picture

Unfortunately, trading Ackley now would be selling low. You might get more selling ROY candidate Franklin. It would be better to look trade Ackley in the off-season, after a big second half.


ONCE he is comfortable, I'd like to see him at lead-off, with Franklin at #2. The hit-and-run could be fun with wheels like Miller's on base. And with, say, Ackley-Zunino-Chavez at 7-8-9, the lineup could turn over without a real weak spot.


Whether he's comfortable or not, he's at leadoff with Franklin at #2. The pitcher (Harang) is batting, but Zunino-Saunders-Ackley are 6-7-8. Hopefully this will start working.

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