Brad Miller's Grapes of Wrath
looking for sustenance in the Dust Bowl

Here's where I would insert prose, blah blah blah, but it's a busy morning, so all you get are the facts.

Lotta conversation in the Shout box about Miller this morning, with Matt declaring that going back to the minors is what's best for MILLER, regardless of what's up with his team contributions.  I agree (and look forward to Matt's article on Miller's chase tendencies that should be coming along shortly). This is a simplistic example of my current issue with Miller.

Brad Miller looks lost.  There's nothing wrong with his talent, but he's gone from a .265/.320/.420 hitter to a .180/.235/.300 one.  What's happened?  He's dropped a few walks so far this year, but mostly, Brad's forgotten how to get singles.

Here's last year's hit chart:

Things that pop out:
1) multitude of ground-outs:
he grounded out in 23% of his at-bats last year.
2) pretty even in-park distribution of lil green hit dots. Yes, there are more to RF because Miller has pull tendencies when he hammers a ball (see his doubles and HRs to RF) but it's pretty well spaced.

Here's this year's:

I believe I see ONE out made by a SS on a Brad Miller groundball-in-play.  One.  There are two lonely green dots in CF.  He's not going back up the middle or the other way with sharp singles.  Miller has forgotten how to hit those singles (or rattle a double or triple down around the outfield wall by going down the LF line).

He's just not doing it.  I'd send him back down to get him to remember that although his HR power is to right field, his average-lifting strokes are up the middle and to left field. 

His top 4 at-bat outcomes:
Groundout (23%), Single (16.75%), Strikeout (15.5%) and Flyout (10.75%)
2014: Strikeout (26.75%), Groundout (17.25%), Flyout (15.5%), Single (10.25%)

Miller pro-rates to the same # of doubles and HRs as last year given the same # of at-bats.  His power hasn't left him. But he has no triples and will be missing 21 singles (vs a drop of 8 walks) when he gets to that At-bat total. He grounded out more last year, because he was hammering the ball back over the mound or at the left side of the infield, and some of those went through for 1, 2 or even 3 bases.

Instead, this year he's striking out by trying to take everything to RF and failing. Horribly. This is one of those examples where a ball-in-play is crucial to a certain player's plate success - even if it leads to more double-plays (We have the fewest in the league, as also pointed out in the shouts).

Send him down, let him remember there are 3 separate fields to hit it to, and try to use the other two more.  It'll be better for all of us in the long run. Sharp grounders, Brad, that's half your game. Tattoo the RF wall once you've peppered some singles around the rest of the park and slashed a couple triples down either line.  TIA.





In my hidden post, I mostly made note of the huge change in K rate and out of zone swing rate (and swing miss rate). Seeing the spray chart confirms my hunch that Miller is swinging way...way too hard. He needs to chill and stop fretting about homers. The total lack of groundouts to short and third is a major...major red flag. Send him down before he forgets that he is capable of that at all.


...that, sans the numerical data, you can still tell it's time for him to go back to AAA. He gives me the "oohhh nooooooo" vibe when I look at him now. He looks like the guy in that movie where the evil mastermind says they have 90 minutes to meet his demands or their family will die...blanking on the name of that movie...but he is flying into an absolute PANIC every time something goes wrong out there.


Agreed, Matt - he both has the wrong approach (you're a SS Brad, stop trying for 4-baggers and let them come to you) and the wrong mentality. 
Seager, when things were going horribly, kept the same approach at the plate while he searched for answers in his swing and his timing.  Seager returned to being Seager.  He was being counted on as a run-producer - his self-pressure must have been at least as high as Miller's.
But Seager is a grinder. He works it out.  He doesn't get shrill. He's John Turturro in Rounders, and he feeds his family.
Miller is taking a lunatic approach to his at-bats, and it's gotta stop. Don't go Full Ed Norton, Brad.  It's not worth it.


And he had instant success in Anaheim, blasting home runs. I remember as a kid playing softball in PE class. I have pretty weak upper body strength, and no wrist action to speak of, but one day, to my and everyone else's surprise, I crushed a ball over the Center Fielder. It must have caught a jet stream or something, but it was a real shocker and I suddenly decided I was a home run hitter. For the next week I was swinging for the fences with every at bat, and looked terrible and became pretty worthless to my team at the plate until the teacher told me to stop it.
Brad is calming down, with four walks in his last five games. He seems to be trying to rediscover his game. Someone must have told him to stop it. My guess is he has the weekend to turn it around.


...that Brad looked a lot better at the plate to me visually in the last two games prior to the 2-0 shutout game when he made seven errors (only slightly exaggerating) and struck out like a four year old against Roger Clemens a couple times.
Against righties, he seems to be calming down...against lefties he seems to getting worse. :)

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