3 Mariners who will be Surprise All Stars in 2015

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Jun 8, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Brad Miller (5) on deck against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Miller

Brad Miller has had to fight to become the Mariners’ starting shortstop in each of the last two seasons. Miller was aided this spring by Chris Taylor’s broken wrist, but Miller was performed admirably in Cactus League play. Despite being slowed with a nasty case of the flu, Miller recorded a .283 batting average in spring training, with 2 home runs and 8 RBI’s across 46 at bats. His 5 doubles were the second highest tally on the club, and his 2 triples were tied for the team lead this spring. The Clemson alum showed improved defense up the middle, and showcased a stronger and more accurate arm.

Last season did not go as planned for the 25-year-old. Miller hit just .221 with 10 home runs, 36 RBI’s and 4 stolen bases across 367 at bats. His .288 on base percentage was unimpressive to say the least. However, his .368 slugging percentage showed that he still has the potential to develop into a quality everyday shortstop.

Miller struggled defensively in 2014. The Orlando, FL product committed 18 errors in 924.0 innings at shortstop. He registered a .958 fielding percentage, well below the league average of .973. His 4.01 range factor per 9 innings was slightly better than the 3.97 league average. Many of Miller’s miscues in 2014 were due to errant throws. The Mariners’ shortstop discussed how he has been working with infield instructor Chris Woodward on correcting this issue during a recent telecast.

Brad Miller may have the look of a quirky little middle infielder, but make no mistake; he is a grown man. Miller is 6’2, and his ideal playing weight is said to be 220 lbs. At that size he would be one of the biggest shortstops in baseball. Despite an unorthodox running style, Miller moves exceptionally well for his size.

Miller is set to hit 9th in the Mariners’ batting order. I believe Brad could hit .260 with 15 home runs, 50 RBI’s, and 15 stolen bases in 2015. If he is able to accomplish this it will hard to keep him off the All Star team this season. Derek Jeter is gone, and thus his strangle hold on being the starting shortstop in the American League has ended. There are very few shortstops in baseball with Miller’s combination of power and speed. Don’t be surprised if Miller breaks through in a big way this summer.

Next: Mariners Game Recap: M’s Finish Spring Training on a High Note

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