Q. Is Austin Jackson's PX really that bad?
A. At this point, a loud foul would be nice. And you don't expect one of those any time soon. When you find yourself hoping for a loud foul ball, it's time to stop kidding yourself. It's like bringing back a team HOF'er at age 41 ... if moral victories become the point?, then blink yourself awake ...
If you are saber oriented: the answer's yes. The avante-garde stats also have eyes like saucers. It's been quite a PX dropoff.
(If you want particulars, the dropoff was from a career 1.1 times league BIP velocity / XBH results, to 0.6 of it as a Mariner. I think we're staying in a hotel tonight, honey.)
Q. Is there anything you can do about it?
A. In Safeco this can be a grisly combination. (1) Having the starch out of your collar and -- Lloyd's pep-speak notwithstanding -- (2) living in the run-throttling enviro dome that is Seattle's ballpark.
The pitchers start grinning and tipping their bills down. (Don't plan on ball four, babe. Jackson's EYE was 0.19 here. You might or might not survive with 0.19 if you weighed 310 lbs.)
In 2014, Jackson had a negative WAR as a Mariner. We are not overselling this problem.
That said, Jackson's our center fielder this year.
... He's just as good at covering a pitch, just as good at laying off bad pitches; it's just that he's blonking his bat into it rather than accelerating it. I'm hoping for 1.0 WAR and if Jackson somehow blewks off the PlexiGlas into his Mike Cameron game, it's all gravy.
It will be nice when the field manager pulls off this idea of Veteran Entitlement(TM) to the top of the lineup. That would help. You do have a choice between 700 AB's and 450, you know.
Q. What are the chances that Brad Miller could play a competent center field?
A. About the same as the chances that Jimmy Graham can play in the Seahawk offense. About the same that Mike Zunino could learn to play first base. About the same that Dr. D could stretch 250 words' worth of legitimate baseball ideas into 1500 words' worth. In other words, count on it.
You saw Moneyball. "It's not tough to learn 1B, Scott. Tell 'im!" ... "Oh, it's INCREDIBLY hard."
No it ain't. A catcher can play first base. Drive home safely. When you question a catcher's ability to learn 1B, it is a show of respect for all the time that your first basemen have spent practicing. That's all.
Can Brad Miller and his 160 SX and his "The Natural" instincts play center field? It is not an interesting point of conversation. If you want to argue about Justin Ruggiano, have at it.
Q. Do you question Miller at shortstop? When Robin Yount came up, he looked a little less than impressive at SS and became a cool CF.
A. Yesterday was it?, Miller snagged an easy grounder, scampered across the bag at 2B -- very close to 1B -- dropped his elbow and flung the ball into the on-deck circle.
Well, okay, actually he threw it about 8 feet to the right of Logan Morrison. From 25 yards.
Miller's overall effectiveness at short is just fine; you have the annoyance of seeing these gasp-inducing high school blunders at times. Is that okay? Let's write in to Bill. "Hey Bill, did you ever see a fielder who wasn't bad, but who regularly pulled comical errors in the field?" The list would be as long as your arm. You can live with it.
But man, is it uggg-leeeee when it happens. Brad Miller CF, with Taylor/Marte at SS next year, that would be my own Prime Computation. Maybe it would be the finishing touches on a glam ballclub.
Q. This year?
A. CF, SS, and C are the weak links. Whether you're talking about the top half of the inning, bottom half, or both halves. It ain't that many teams who have stars at all 18 positions.
Less' hope that Ruggiano gets some CF time. Maybe they'll platoon Smith and Cruz in RF :- )