How good could Brad Miller possibly be? He's making me start to dream. I feel like Colin.
I'm not one to read into spring training stats at all -- it's been discussed a thousand times and their lack of correlation mathematically proven -- but the kind of wood he's been putting on the ball is incredible. Four home runs, four triples already? Forget the numbers just for a second and think about how easy it is to become a borderline superstar when you play the shortstop position. Miller, even at a conservative 138 games and 108 wRC+, is worth 3.5 wins with Steamer. What if he manages to be a 120 wRC+ hitter? Four, five wins depending on the defense? What if he hits at a Jason Kipnis level? Kipnis posted a 130 wRC+ last year with minus defense (-6.3) at second base, and he was worth 4.5 WAR. Toss in the better positional adjustment for Miller with that offense, and he'd suddenly be among one of baseball's more valuable players.
There's few players with more uncapped impact potential on the Mariners for the next six years, and that's why Brad Miller is going to win the shortstop job. It's over. Wrap it up. Not because of spring training - well, maybe a little - but because he has excellent offensive potential at a position he is continuing to improve at, one where he already posted solid defensive metrics his first season. Even if he never develops into anything other than an average/slightly minus fielder, five win seasons are not unreasonable if he gets into that 125-130 wRC+ range. Think about that. The shortstop position is incredibly difficult to field, and the Mariners look like they have themselves a guy who can possibly excel there for a long time. One position at a time. Building blocks.
Blake Beavan certainly had a chance to improve on his previously decent spring today, and he instead brought Randy Wolf back into the conversation for the final spot. Beavan got absolutely hammered today, and while we may not pay any attention to the spring stats, you better believe the Mariners are -- unfortunately, this one wasn't televised so there's not much to go on but the box score, but you generally don't give up four home runs if you're locating the ball well with any kind of movement. It's the kind of implosion the Mariners have seen too many times with Beavan, and even if today didn't matter, it certainly didn't help to bury those old memories.
Ramon Ramirez couldn't do much again as he came in and promptly gave up a bomb of his own, and it seems like only a matter of time before he's cast aside. He was a fun sleeper candidate especially when you looked at his pre-2012 numbers, but the location just hasn't been there this spring and he hasn't been missing enough bats, though he hasn't exactly gotten a ton of run. At this stage in his career, I'm not sure he'd accept a move to Tacoma before looking elsewhere, but he'd still be a nice guy to stash. I'd rather have him in the organization this year than Hector Noesi.
Mike Zunino and Kyle Seager hit their first dingers today, and from the sounds of it Seager really ripped his. Seager has had a fairly quiet spring so far especially compared to the dominant runs that Cano and Miller are having. If the Mariners only had a quality first baseman, the infield could be pretty spectacular for the next several years.
Justin Smoak is having a solid, not great spring, and while the numbers haven't been there, McClendon seems to be impressed with what he's seeing. I'm not making any conclusions on Smoak other than the obvious -- he has everything to prove and everything to gain, and I'm not buying anything anyone is selling until he gets it done in real games over a sustained period of time. Another horrific start shouldn't be tolerated again, not with how many other options are available at 1B/DH, including the never-ending sashay of Kendrys Morales.
Either sign Morales or don't. At this point, the two sides can't possibly be that far away on price, and time is running out for Morales to get his timing back. If you get the deal you want but Morales is ineffective and rusty for six weeks, what's the point? Enough.
But you guys. Brad Miller.