As Spring Training heads towards the final last two weeks Brad Miller has become someone to be considered for an Opening Day roster spot. Miller was signed to a minor league contract at the end of February. During his short stint many are noticing some good at bats in his first few games. This article will look at what Miller provides on the field and how he might fit in with the Dodgers in 2019. Does he belong on the Opening Day roster?
Brad Miller was originally drafted in the 2nd round from Clemson University by the Mariners in 2011. He’s a left-handed batter who was originally a shortstop. In fact, he battled Chris Taylor for playing time in 2015 with the Mariners. He was traded to the Rays before 2016 and was their starting shortstop to begin the season. During the season he was shifted to first base as he had a nice season at the plate with 30 home runs. When Logan Forsythe was traded by the Rays to the Dodgers, Miller was inserted as the second baseman at the beginning of the 2017 season. He ended up playing all over the field as he slumped at the plate.
During the 2018 season he was traded to the Brewers and was even sent to AAA. The Brewers ended up releasing him in late July. He wasn’t able find a team until the Dodgers signed him this last February. One of the reasons he’s had problems sticking with a team is that the offense usually isn’t enough to cover for some mediocre defense. He is versatile but is not an asset with his glove.
As with all Spring Training statistics they are just a small factor in how a player is evaluated. As of this writing he has only had 7 at bats with 3 hits including 2 walks. Dave Roberts seems to like Miller:
“He’s interesting,” Roberts said. “I’ve seen Brad for years on the other side with the Mariners (where he played from 2013–15). He plays with a lot of energy. For him, to show value for us, he’s obviously a left-hand hitter, can play all over the diamond. … the move around the diamond, the energy .. could be a good fit.” – Cary Osborne, Dodgers Insider
It will be interesting to see how much Miller plays and where he plays. So far he’s only played left and right field along with some time as a DH. According to Osborne, Miller has “seen action at third base in the backfields”. Much of his experience at the Major League level has been first base, second base and shortstop. The Dodgers value versatility and are probably hoping Miller can fill in at many positions.
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2019 Outlook for Miller
Given his late start to Spring Training and the news that Corey Seager should be ready for Opening Day, I don’t see a spot on the 25 man roster just yet. Since he is on a minor league deal he’d need to be added to the 40 man roster in the future. He should go to AAA and play a lot there while refining his defense. I’m hoping he will also find his swing from 2016 when he hit 30 home runs. If any organization can help him find that swing, it could be the Dodgers. There is something about Miller’s potential that has attracted teams to him, so there might be something left to discover at the plate.
Anyone else have a feeling that 2B Brad Miller is going to be the Dodgers' out-of-nowhere breakthrough hitter for this season?
Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy were all free-talent pickups, either minor league free agents or waiver claims.
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) March 5, 2019
If the Dodgers get hit with the injury bug then Miller could be a nice option. I know many hope he follows in the tradition of Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy as Dodgers’ reclamation projects and I hope the same. The odds are not good but the Dodgers have worked some magic before. My bet is we see Miller in LA sometime this year. With some luck he will be the 2019 version of Max Muncy.