Brad Miller's 'Focus' at UT
The Logo havin' fun again


Sez Grillzy:

MtGrizzlyMiller appears to be much more focused when Taylor is around.


Dr. D likes the word "focus."  

When you're in a Best Buy looking at high-def TV's or, in Dr. D's case, peering through an optometrist's gizmos, the word "focus" means ---- > the state of quality of having or producing clear visual definition.

You focus a camera to bring an object into sharper perception.  You focus on the white fog line when some yoyo comes around the corner with his brights on, Lady GaGa just came on the radio, and the thought goes through your head to tip the steering wheel left a bit.  You focus on the Shout Box when the local baseball team is stuck in Groundhog Day and your blog is so stale that they're about to convert the title.  (To "Sarah Palin's Patio View of Yakustk," obviously.  That was an actual blog title, or pretty much was.)

A month or two ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger put out a brand spankin' new 45-minute rant, 'specially made with love for all those gym rats whose dads weren't born yet when he won Mr. Olympia.  Great little YouTube.  He still got it!  

An interviewer axs Arnie an 8-word question about guys texting or chatting on the phone between sets and ... the Oak goes into a 10-minute rant about real lifting.  He describes the way he and his partner handed the barbell back and forth for 4 hours at a time and ... "If I werr tuu maike a foowwnn cawl, it vud teek me kompleetly out ov my szone."  


Brad Miller is visibly and obviously more (1) relaxed, (2) joyfully aggressive, and (3) confident now that he is ... benched, in essence.  Yeah, what could possibly make more sense.


Games AVG OBP SLG Remark
25 g, to May 3 .250 .301 .382 Moderately tentative & confused
10 g, since May 6 .294 .385 .765 Spring Training "death before dishonor" mode


This takes Miller to a season-long slash line of .264/.328/.500.  He's got a comfortable EYE ratio of 0.44 on the year.  He's being doing it at Safeco.  He's been doing it from the top of the lineup, in front of our mashers.  That's what I like, that (unlike Ackley, Smoak, or what have you) he doesn't disappear the second you put him in "the first inning."

Chris Taylor's presence didn't quite overlap Miller's surge; Miller sat for two days, didn't hit for two or three days, and then mmmBAMMMM! we get the Logo.  We ain't talking about a slash line worthy of the logo; we're talking about the player inside the Logo.


Feed the Beast, Dept.

Miller has 4 doubles and 4 homers in the last 10 days.  The homers were all at Safeco Field and all were hammered:


Date Pitcher Pitch Remark
May 13 James Shields 91 fastball, to left-center (!) Broke up shutout
May 16 Rick Porcello Dug curve ball out of his shins  
May 16 Rick Porcello First-pitch offspeed Porcello destroyed everyone else
May 17 Some knuckleball moron 41 MPH change curve Again not fooled



There's an old saying: "No sense worrying about what you can't control, because if you can't control it, there's no sense worrying about it. And no sense worrying about what you can control because if you can control it, then control it." - Miller


Log-O-Vision translation:  he's got Willie Bloomquist disease -- he just flat likes playing baseball.  G-Money gave us the "gym rat" scouting report on draft day.

Moving around the diamond behind Chris Taylor not only doesn't bother him; it probably IS good for him.


"The guy is a special player," said McClendon. "He is able to move all over the field because he is an athlete. He hasn't disappointed to this point."


Skip-O-Vision translation:  He's what Lou used to call a 'thoroughbred.'  Extra talent even by MLB standards.  Ball "jumps off" his bat.  Runs like an antelope.  On a smaller scale, you got the Willie Mays / Mike Trout "five tool player" template.


I dunno whether Miller is "flashing" his MVP potential or what's going on.  But even if it's just a flash, I like eet.  This is a frustrating club, but it's also an exciting one.


Dr D








I've played with good golfers, in two-man scrambles, who were major long but wild off the tee.  That puts pressure on every other part of their game because they know they will eventually hit a couple of tee balls left or right into the next zip code.
But you put them in a scramble, where their wild drives are non-counters, and their game falls into place.
As an everyday SS, perhaps the glovey pressure (or is it wild-arm pressure) impacts the rest of his game.  It's possible.
But we may just be seeing a young player find his stride, regardless of where he plays.
I kind of like that explanation.
The kid's a gamer.


I think Miller just has a hard time forgetting and letting go of making a mistake... similar to a high handicap golfer who hits a bad drive, the high handicapper tries to pull off the miraculous shot time after time just trying to make up for the poor drive versus forgetting about it and playing the game.


Miller and LoMo have given us a lot to cheer about.  I hope that the two don't regress just as hard, like hot Smoak used to do.
Great article Doc.  Fine shtick this morning. 


For the rest of my time as an M's fan, I'll be remembering Justin Smoak at the plate, 0-0 count, 2 men on base ... here comes the 89 MPH right down the middle ... 
Smoak quasi-checks his swing, lets it go by, stares off into the RF seats with a grimace.  "That pitch was SO sick."
Maybe I'm a homer, but LoGo and LoMo don't come off that way to me.  Don't want to be mean, but Smoak is a satiric archetype for this franchise....

benihana's picture

With Miller and LoMo hitting and the rotation producing, and the pen not melting down recently... what's the worry level of the 1-25 (or 27)?
Rotation? Feeling guarded that Felix's injuries may hamper him slightly... but not really worried. Not worried about Paxton, Elias, Happ, wanting to see a bit more out of Walker (guarded), elevated concern with Iwakuma of late. Over all rotation worry level? Green. Low.
Bullpen? Severly concerned about Lord Farquhar. Rodney is always going to blow one or two, so guarded with him. Not worried about Smith, Furbush, Wilhelmsen. Guarded about Biemel and Lowe, but so far so good. Overall worry level: Blue - guarded.
Infield? Confident Cano will heat up, Can deal with Zunino's highs and lows and Sucre doesn't really figure into anything. Lomo, Seager, Taylor and Miller? Worry level: green - low.
Outfield/DH? Smith / Ruggiano is fine. Weeks and Bloomquist? Can't really hit or field - High risk. Jackson? High Risk. Ackley? FIRE! Cruz - Super green. Overall worry level? High.
I believe this team is pretty darn solid and will string together enough 6-3 home-stands with +.500 road trips to be in contention all summer. However there is a clear weakness in the outfield/dh spot. Cruz and Ruggiano/Smith can hold down 50% of 'em, but we need to jettison Ackley - his ONE for TWENTY THREE with RISP is so beyond abysmal in amounts to a negative 67 OPS+? Overall Dustin has been half an average player so far this season. Dustin, you are the weakest link, goodbye.
At least GMZ's job of improving the team should be fairly easy. Go find and bring me back the best hitting center fielder available (Carlos Gomez please). Thank-you.
- Ben.


Funny - when I made that post, it was a throw away comment. I was just struck that when Taylor was doing well in ST, Miller was also kicking butt. When Taylor went down, Miller seemed to go into a funk. Said funk didn't really lift until Taylor was back in the picture, when Miller goes on a POW rampage. I don't know if it's actually Taylor or the move to UT or even those few days off that he got but he's dialed in now like he wasn't three weeks ago.


They are my biggest worries, as well.  Not so much Bloomquist, as every team has a 25th guy who covers a bunch of roles and isn't expected to hit great.  I've begun to feel that Weeks' '14 statistics are outliers and have fooled us as to what he's got left in the tank.  Last season he hit .294 against RHP and .256 vs. LHP.  His vR numbers were fueled by a .420 BABIP and his vL numbers were driven by 18 xbase hits (7 homer) in 133 AB's.
In '12-'13 & '15 he hit .224, .201 and .091 vs RHP.  Vs. lefties in those three years he's had 20 xbase hits in 264 ABs, with 8 homers.
He won't hit .091 vs RHP all year....but his upside there is pretty limited, unless he sports (again) an Ichiro-like BABIP.  
He would be the first guy I let go.  If we could trade Ackley for something almost useful, I would do that first....but I'm not sure that option exists right now.

GLS's picture

Rodney is the guy that worries me the most. Ackley is what he is, but Rodney's meltdowns are simply intolerable. I don't know why Jack Z. doesn't do something about it. Papelbon is out there. Go get him.


I took Moe's comment as Miller is worried and feels pressure about his defense / throws, and thus the added pressure causes a loss of focus and affects his whole game.
My comment is that if Miller is doing well, he will continue doing well - until he makes a mistake... and then the guilt of screwing up consumes his thoughts to the point where Miller is pressing to make a spectacular play with the bat, legs or glove... and these guilty thoughts take a lot of time to get over... like days. Once these guilty thoughts are gone though, then Miller can just normally concentrate and play the game at a high level again. Thus, if Miller could just forget about bad plays within an inning or so, Miller would stay productive... so yes variations on the same theme.


I'm not so sure about that. To my eye he seems to make a healthy percentage of the tough plays but his bad throws to 1B seem to happen on the routine plays. I think it may be exactly the opposite for Miller - I think he needs the pressure in order to perform well. Pressure from the difficult play; pressure for playing time...No real way to tell for sure, of course. If it's true, then he could be an October warrior. Assuming the M's are ever playing in October...

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