Chris Taylor, Brad Miller: Who Will Be the Seattle Mariners Shortstop?
With the first full-squad practice just one month away for the Seattle Mariners, there remain a number of questions regarding the depth chart.
One, among many others going into spring training, is the shortstop position, and whom– between Brad Miller and Chris Taylor— will win the starting role for Opening Day.
“There is no favorite right now,” according to GM Jack Zduriencik. “Let’s see what happens.”
Indeed, we will see what comes to fruition during Spring Training in just a month’s time. The competition between the two young shortstops will provide an extra layer of intrigue to a Spring Training that expects to be full of development.
It’s deja vu, looking back to last season when Brad Miller and former Mariner Nick Franklin— traded to the Rays in the 3-team deal that netted the Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson— duked it out during Spring Training for the starting job at short. Miller had a torrid Spring and took the job, leaving Nick without a spot on the 25-man roster.
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In 2014, Brad Miller started out hot in the very early going of the regular season, and by early I mean the first week or so. Then his numbers tanked, and the Mariners tried to ride him out of his funk to no avail.
That’s when the Mariners called up Chris Taylor from Triple-A Tacoma, and he took the starting short stop role. He hit .287/.347/.346 in 47 games for the Mariners in 2014, with his power numbers seriously lacking; he hit only 8 extra-base hits in 136 at-bats, all of them doubles. His solid contact at the plate, however, made him an asset at the bottom of the Mariners order.
Miller then had a great September splitting time with Taylor at short. With Miller’s power potential he has a lot of offensive appeal at short. Taylor, on the other hand, thrives on contact and more consistent defense.
So who takes the starting job? If I were a betting man, I would say Brad Miller comes out strong and earns the starting spot at shortstop. But if super utility man Willie Bloomquist isn’t 100% by Opening Day, Chris Taylor could end up playing the utility role and still getting a good number of at-bats.
Then there’s always that possibility that the Mariners elect to turn Brad Miller into a super utility guy, making him a middle infield, corner outfield, and first base backup.
What do you think? Who do the Mariners trot out at shortstop to start the 2015 season?