The Mariners look to Triple-A for some offensive help in the infield.
The Situation: With the Mariners’ offense once again struggling to score runs, Miller is being called up to replace incumbent shortstop Brendan Ryan. Although Ryan has flashed his usual fantastic glove, he’s hitting a punchless .196/.254/.252 in 67 contests. Seattle will look to play the hot hand with Miller, who’s currently riding a 22-game hitting streak while batting .356/.426/.596 in 26 Triple-A games.
Background: Miller was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft following an accomplished three-year career at Clemson University. The Orlando native has since produced at every level, quickly mashing his way up the minor-league ladder. While Miller didn’t rank in Baseball Prospectus’ top 10 Mariners prospects this past offseason, he’d certainly crack that list today. Entering this season, Jason Parkswrote that Miller didn’t “have an ideal profile for an everyday shortstop” but could be a “valuable utility player at the major-league level.” The prospect has since hit .319/.399/.521 between the Double- and Triple-A levels, proving that his breakout 2012 campaign wasn’t just a mirage. He’s looking more and more like a big-league regular in the middle infield.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
A quick look at ten players with notable opening weekends in the minors.
Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Though he was last year's Texas League MVP, Adams still hasn't gotten a lot of love, as he was a 23rd round pick out of a small school in Pennsylvania and he looks more like a cleanup hitter for a 16-inch softball team than a professional baseball one. He gained more support from scouts with an impressive spring, and while he went 0-for-3 on Sunday, he's still off to one of the hotter starts around: after going deep in Thursday's opener, he hit another on Friday and just missed a third, and after initially getting an off day on Saturday, he ended up providing a pinch-hit three-run shot in the ninth inning. No prospect is going to make anybody forget Albert Pujols, but Adams could make the loss a little less painful for Cardinals fans in 2013, if not earlier.
Minnesota Twins pitchers tend to be a lot like Brad Radke.
Last week, the Twins signed Brad Thompson to a minor-league contract. Two weeks earlier, Jason Marquis signed a major-league contract with the Twins. Jason Marquis pitches to contact, gets ground balls, strikes out few. Brad Thompson pitches to contact, gets ground balls, strikes out few. Some people are stars long before they get famous, and some people are artists long before they pick up a brush, and some people are Twins long before they become Twins.
Generally speaking, we all know what a Minnesota Twins pitcher looks like. He’s got a strikeout rate a tick below six per nine innings. (Even the movie Twins has 5.9 stars on IMDB.) He survives this limitation either by walking nobody—no-body—or by keeping the ball on the ground, but either way he’s not looking to coax a strike three out of anybody, and he’s not all that concerned about allowing a home run as long as there is nobody on base. He’s a veteran, and if he’s not a veteran, he’s just a future veteran in early but advanced development. He might be a lefty, but you don’t really think of him as a lefty. He’s a No. 4 starter with aspirations of being a No. 2.5 starter. He’s draftable only in the geekiest fantasy leagues. He once threw a ball 91 mph, but it was at one of those county-fair game booths and nobody believes him, even though he has a certificate of achievement that the booth operator gave him. If everything breaks right, he’s Brad Radke. If a few things break right, he’s Rick Reed. If things just break, he’s Boof Bonser.
Losing Manny Ramirez for a quarter of the season isn't automatically a death knell. Pedro Martinez has just one good start against a good opponent this year, but that's the scheduler's fault. I'm hardly off the hook for advancing the claim that he won't make it to ten starts, and if losing Martinez was one of my major theories about what would lay hope low in Beantown, losing Ramirez for a month and a half might make you think I'd peg this as the beginning of the end.
Placed OF-R Manny Ramirez on the 15-day DL (fractured finger); purchased the contract of UT-B Bry Nelson from Pawtucket. [5/14]
Evaluating each pitcher who appeared in the Futures Game and identifying the most similar current major-league pitchers and pitches with the aid of PITCHf/x.
Sample size or apple pies? You can choose only one. Apple pies—that’s what I thought. A quick glimpse of a prospect might not tell us all we need to know, but it’s still plenty tempting to draw possibly premature conclusions. With that in mind, I decided to watch the Futures Game for the second straight year and make snap judgments on every single pitcher, even though none of them threw more than a couple dozen pitches. Last year, my main takeaway was that Zach Britton was the man. He still is. This year, I came to the conclusion that the only way to top a Bernie Williamsrendition of the national anthem is to catch a Sal Fasanofirst-base coach sighting.
The following table lists every pitcher who appeared in the game, in order of appearance. I’ll tackle them one by one, offering comps to current major leaguers where applicable, as well as links to videos of similar pitches.
The former MLB Players Association executive director and former GM are up for selection to the Hall of Fame.
Last week, I took a swing at analyzing the eight players on the Expansion Era Hall of Fame ballot to be voted upon at next month's Winter Meetings, using JAWS to evaluate their fitness for Cooperstown. That tool's not available when tackling the four non-players on the ballot, namely Pat Gillick, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, and George Steinbrenner, whose achievements must be evaluated more subjectively. Nonetheless, it's apparent that relative to their already-inducted peers, they certainly have strong arguments in their favor. Today I'll examine the cases of Miller and Gillick, saving those of the Yankees' odd couple, Steinbrenner and Martin, for a later installment.
A look back and a look ahead to who could the top prosects in the senior circuit next year.
One of the most frequent questions I get, be it via e-mail, chats, or the comment sections in the articles, is which player on (insert team here) has the best shot at moving into the Top 101. That's a much different question from who is the best prospect not in the Top 101, as the focus need to move solely to growth potential. Building on last year's "Future Top Dogs" series, let's keep that category in this year's version, while also taking an honest look at last year's prognostications.
The story of the little hurler who could getting his due, a notable re-retirement, plus moves and news from around the major leagues.
Tim Lincecum's aunt came up with the perfect nickname for her nephew a few years ago when she began calling him Seabiscuit. The Giants right-hander certainly has a few things in common with the legendary racehorse: they're both undersized, and they're both winners. Lincecum, listed at 5'11" and 170 pounds (though he seems an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter), struck a blow this past Tuesday for all those who've been told that they aren't big enough when he won the National League Cy Young Award. He's four inches shorter and 61 pounds lighter than the average height and weight of the five other pitchers receiving votes: the D'backs' Brandon Webb, the Mets' Johan Santana, the Phillies' Brad Lidge, the Brewers' CC Sabathia, and the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. "This has to give Tim a lot of satisfaction, because there's little doubt people have been telling him he's too small his entire life," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said.