Player Profile: Brad Miller

“We should seek the greatest value of our action.” Stephen Hawking

Is it Miller's time in Seattle? Savvy drafters think so

Is it Miller’s time in Seattle? Savvy drafters think so

It should not take being a “Big Bang Theory” fan to realize how smart Mr. Hawking is. Suffice it to say on draft day one of the keys to winning a league is maximizing value. That being said I wanted to profile Brad Miller of the Mariners who in my estimation is being undervalued entering 2014. Setting the Fangraphs leaders board to 300 at bats to include Miller in the listings he holds his own in some telling statistics. Miller tied for eight in ISO with Jhonny Peralta at .154, was eleventh in slugging percentage and fourth in Z-Swing % (Swinging at balls in the strike zone). Using his minor league numbers, his opportunity to bat leadoff for the Mariners and his ability to reach double digits in home runs and steals as early as this year, Brad Miller is a player to target in upcoming drafts.

Minor League Stats

Since there is such a limited sample size of Miller in the majors, taking a look at his minor league statistics may provide a glimpse of what he is capable of.

Brad Miller

G

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG/OBP/SLG

BABIP

2011 Age 21 A

14

9

0

7

1

415/458/528

489

2012 Age 22 A+

97

89

11

68

19

339/410/512

394

2012 Age 22 AA

40

21

4

23

4

320/406/476

364

2013 Age 23 AA

42

27

6

25

4

294/379/471

333

2013 Age 23 AAA

26

26

6

28

2

356/426/596

373

Career 3 Seasons

219

172

27

128

30

334/409/516

 

Miller provides much hope with his ability to hit at each level. He was tearing up AAA when he was promoted to Seattle last year. In 2012 Miller hit 15 home runs and stole 23 bases at two levels and was on pace for a “double double” in 2013 as well. If you put all three levels together last year Miller had 20 home runs and 11 steals. While I will not be comfortable to forecast that type of production in 2014, it offers hope for a nice ceiling for Miller. There was a big adjustment in his average last season but there are signs for growth. His lowest BABIP in the minors was 333 when he started his second tour in AA. Upon promotion to AAA it rocketed up to 373 which is not an attainable number for him in the majors. But if he can push his major league BABIP up to the 305-310 level, it could raise his average into the 270’s and increase his value.

Major League Stats

Miller proved himself worthy of a midseason add last year and put up very respectable numbers in his 76 games in Seattle. Even though his time was limited he had some nice second half stats. Only Troy Tulowitzki, Andrelton Simmons and JJ Hardy had more home runs than Miller over the second half as they hit 9 to his 8. Miller was also sixth in runs and ISO, ninth in RBI and 14th in stolen bases. Here are his 2013 numbers in Seattle:

  • Brad Miller 2013 Stats – 41 R, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 5 SB 268/318/418

I am going to use Ben Zobrist as a comparison who on average is going more than 100 spots ahead of Miller in all drafts. First, I will project Miller’s above stat line to 155 games next to Zobrist’s 2013.

  • Brad Miller 155 G Projections – 83 R, 16 HR, 73 RBI, 16 SB 268/318/418
  • Ben Zobrist 2013 Stats – 157 G, 77 R, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 11 SB 275/354/402

It is easy to manipulate numbers to make one player look better than another. Last year Zobrist seemed to trade home runs for plate discipline and did not return value for where he was selected. But based on his past he is not falling too far in this year’s drafts with his positional versatility and safety of his past. Here is a chart to compare some of their underlying statistics:

Player

LD%

FB%

ISO

HR/FB%

BABIP

BB%

K%

Brad Miller 2013

21.6

32.4

154

9.8

294

7.2

15.5

Ben Zobrist 2013

19.7

34.9

127

6.1

303

10.3

13

Ben Zobrist Career

19.6

37.5

172

10.6

291

12.2

16.1

Taking into account that Miller and Zobrist are not the same player, it is encouraging to see that Miller had a nice LD% and though is BB% could increase he had a decent BABIP that definitely could grow during his career. Ben Zobrist at his power peak though are numbers that Miller probably cannot attain but as his projected full season numbers suggests, high teens home runs and double digit steals are within reach.

Brad Miller Projections

Using his minor league numbers and 2013 debut as a baseline, Miller is a player that I like later in drafts due to his home runs and steals potential as the leadoff hitter. Miller led off 67 games last year and will have the chance to score 80+ runs. Here are some projections for Miller so far:

Brad Miller Projections

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG/OBP/SLG

Steamer

80

14

60

14

268/331/413

Oliver

74

17

70

13

273/332/425

CBS

84

15

49

10

272/304/367

ZiPS

89

14

66

13

262/320/391

While CBS has the lowest number of steals and a lower OBP and SLG than last season, ZiPS is the most bullish on his runs scored with a gain in OBP but a drop SLG. It remains to be seen where Miller’s numbers in those two categories will settle in but his OBP will remain below Zobrist’s in 2014. One encouraging note on Miller is that he hit for a higher average against lefties last year with a slash line of 270/324/350 while he hit righties 262/316/451. Just note all of his power was against right handed pitching. His ability to hit left handed pitching will be a key if he is to remain the leadoff hitter. As to the rest of their numbers, here are Zobrist’s projections:

Ben Zobrist Projections

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG/OBP/SLG

Steamer

83

16

74

10

264/355/421

Oliver

70

11

61

8

267/344/393

CBS

81

15

73

9

272/348/422

ZiPS

81

15

72

14

261/350/415

There is a chance that Zobrist could rebound to his 2011 and 2012 levels but that is what people are paying for in drafts. There is not much difference in the projection charts for these two players except the price tag:

Player’s ADP

NFBC

Mock Draft Central

LABR

Ben Zobrist

78.1

98

80

Brad Miller

189

204

189

If you are confident in a full return to his 2011 and 2012 glory, then Zobrist’s MDC draft offers hope for a return in value. But in regards to perception and what the returns are projected to be, Brad Miller is the more valuable commodity in drafts. If you are seeking the greatest value, grab an outfielder or pitcher at pick 80 and grab Miller for your infield 100 spots later.

  • My Brad Miller Projection – 83 R, 15 HR, 63 RBI, 13 SB 269/330/405
  • My Ben Zobrist Projection – 82 R, 15 HR, 81, 10 SB 266/349/411

What separates them is RBI which is dependent upon their spots in the order. But the difference on a projection spreadsheet is much smaller than their draft ADP’s reflect.

Greg Jewett is a staff writer for Roto Analysis and you can follow us on Twitter @RotoAnalysis and @gjewett9

Brad Miller picture credit: http://binaryapi.ap.org/7c12d0d3cca04e2fa266edeb39c446fb/460x.jpg

Statistics courtesy of:

Fangraphs.com

Baseball-Reference.com

ADP’s courtesy of Fantasypros.com

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