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Dodgers: The Case for Brad Miller

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Brad Miller #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats during an MLB baseball game against the New York Yankees on September 12, 2017 at CitiField in the Queens borough of New York City. This game was scheduled to be played in Tampa Bay, but had to be moved to play in a neutral stadium because of hurricane damage in Florida. Rays won 2-1. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

When the Dodgers signed Brad Miller, it was an overlooked move mainly overshadowed by the Bryce Harper rumors. Now, with just over one week to go before the regular season opens, the 29-year-old utility man is making a strong case to be on the opening day roster.

The Dodgers will have to decide soon as Miller has the ability to opt-out of his contract at the end of Spring training. If they want to send him to AAA, Miller may decide he impressed enough in Spring to get a major league deal from another team.

In 20 spring training at-bats, Miller is hitting .350/.409./.650 with two home runs. Yes that is an incredibly small sample size and we shouldn’t put much stock in spring stats but there’s more to Miller than just his stats right now.

Although he struggled last season, which led to him being designated for assignment by the Rays, Miller still hit the ball hard when he actually hit the ball. He was 35th in the league last season with an average exit velocity of 90.8 MPH (minimum 150 batted balls), which put him ahead of star players like Anthony Rendon, Paul Goldschmidt, Ronald Acuna Jr., Trevor Story, and Bryce Harper. There’s more to hitting than just hitting the ball hard, but there aren’t many good hitters who don’t hit the ball hard consistently.

His main problem over the past two seasons has been his inability to make contact. Last season, his contact percentage dropped by just over seven percent from his career average of 75 percent. If Miller can get his contact percentage back up to around the 75 percent area, he could have a second career breakout. The last time he made contact that often, he had a 30 home run season.


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It’s a lot easier said than done, but what team has been as successful at revitalizing careers as the Dodgers have been in recent years? The Dodgers also have what no other team has to help Miller, hitting guru Robert Van Scoyoc. Working with him could help Miller put his career back on the right path as it has for so many other players.

Even if Miller doesn’t get back to a 30 home run player, he still provides value to the team defensively. The Dodgers lack quality middle infield depth right now. With Enrique Hernandez likely starting at second base and Chris Taylor platooning in left field and shortstop, the Dodgers best backup middle infielder is either Daniel Castro or Jake Peter. Neither of those players are ideal to have on the major league roster if they needed one.

Miller also provides the versatility to play all around the field. The only positions he hasn’t played in his career are pitcher and catcher. With one of Hernandez or Taylor now filling a starting role, carrying another versatile player would be a big benefit for the team.

Since he was only signed to a minor league deal, there isn’t any risk to putting Miller on the opening day roster. At worst. they DFA him or convince him to go to the minor leagues later in the season. At best, they have another 30 home run player with versatility on their roster.

Not giving him a chance just doesn’t make sense for the Dodgers. Brad Miller needs to be on the opening day roster.

Written by Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!

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  1. Yes he does. I like you no non-sense stance on this and that you don’t play it “safe” and stay in that grey area. Miller needs a spot and Joc needs to go. Traded him for a box of Craker Jacks or DFA him. .

  2. Miller has been impressive in a short period as you stated. Who do you leave off? As dieselguy19 suggests trade Pederson? Probably the most logical choice. Verdugo needs to play and this would give him a good amount of playing time. Miller is another left handed batter? How are his splits?

    If you make that statement of putting him on the roster you are obligated to suggest who you take off….

    Roberts says they are carrying 8 BP guys so there isn’t much room. Do you swap Miller for Taylor?

  3. I do not see Taylor rebounding with another year like 2017. He led the league in Ks last year and this spring his K rate is 39%. Too many strikeouts for one who is not a power hitter. Give Miller a shot.

  4. We already have a hard-hitting strikeout machine in left field. Why replace Joc with a worse version of Joc? Doing it to monopolize playing time for a rookie is rash.

  5. If Brad Miller does the Dodgers opening day roster, who does get left off? PaulDodger1965 will probably chime in to say the team is already overloaded with left-handed hitters. Has he been facing LHP or just RHP? This FO seems to be enamored with Pederson batting lead-off, capable of “running into one” for a homerun. IMO, I would see if there are any takers for Pederson and perhaps get some minor league player(s) such as who the Dodgers got from the Reds.

  6. I agree…Last night Taylor came up in a tight game and a man on first and struck out AGAIN. Next batter up Turner doubled but because the man was still at first did not score. Had runners 2nd and 3rd and 1 out and Muncy struck out….Again.

    If a player cannot or will not move a man over they should bench him or trade him. It is a TEAM sport not an individual one.

    This was their problem last year and now it looks to have been unaddressed after Friedman and Roberts said they would emphasize CONTACT this year with new coaches etc.

    Does not look to have taken with Taylor or Muncy their numbers are terrible this year. I like Bellinger at first and Kike at 2nd anyway. Give Muncy some time to figure it out but I would swap either Miller or Beaty for Taylor.

    • Muncy has not shown much this ST and I certainly feel Kike EARNED the starting 2nd base job. We sure do not need to see a merry go round at an important middle INF. position.

      • Baseball players these days use the Winter to work on their bodies and skill sets. As Taylor had all winter to work on his horrendous strikeout problem it is not unreasonable to expect to see improvement during the Spring. Taylor and Muncy have been swinging wildly and have not had professional at bats. A point firmly and repeatedly stressed by Friedman and echoed by Roberts.

        Not moving men over is something you must do in baseball. Although Roberts gave them a pass last year saying essentially the players did not practice that. At that time I stated I would have fired Roberts. It is a team game you must move men over and sacrifice your at bat for the good of the team. The Dodgers were incapable of doing this all year.

        I had hoped with the addition of new hitting coaches and an emphasize from management the players would have figured that out. I still have hopes for Muncy as he generally had solid at bats last year. Taylor looks to have lost the ability to see that outside breaking pitch and react accordingly.

        So far Barnes looks to be closer to the 2017 version which is very good news and Bellinger looks to have changed his stance and looks better. Kike worked on his swing during the Winter and has had very good at bats. Pederson has had a very rough Spring.

  7. Either Taylor or Pederson goes is fine with me, whichever one draws the most? value; neither is looking like good trade material, right now BUT you never know. I wish them both luck (they’ll need it); both seem like good guys if not rocket scientists. Just keep one, deal one and let’s see if Miller is Dodgers next big reclamation prize.

  8. Robin is correct! I am fine with giving Miller a shot at the OD roster BUT ANOTHER LHB MUST GO. Last night I watched the Dodger game (Ranger’s feed) on MLBN and they too were suggesting that very same thing about too many LHB.. They also suggested as to why Verdugo is no lock because of that.

  9. The definition of insanity y’all. CT definitely qualifies and Mad Max is next in line to qualify. My goodness, Dave Kingman never struck out 170 times in a season. Ct has to know this and yet we see no difference in his plate approach. He’s destined for the end of the bench if things don’t change. Personally, I can’t stand to see him struggle like this, its painful. Sad, but this is baseball (and there’s no crying).

    Next up Miller, give him his shot. GO BLUE!

  10. We are talking about a bunch of triple A players. They caught up to muncy after 3 month. They caught up to Taylor a year ago. They caught up to joc 4 years ago and caught up to Miller years ago. Dont even understand this discussion. They are all not very good platoon players . Every team needs one of these guys. Not four of them.

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