The unfortunate thing about a breakouts list is that it's a list, and by virtue of being a list, it puts all of its contents on equal footing. Any player who rises above the others is brought down simply by their presence.
Miller was a latecomer to my breakouts list, but he deserved special distinction for the reason I added him: I saw him play.
My eyes are scoundrels. They're nothing without me, and yet they betray me because they know I won't do anything about it. They're too critical to the operation. You put too much trust in someone like that, and Jurassic Park happens. I'm just saying.
So generally speaking, I ignore them. When they see something in a player that the numbers don't, I just roll them ... them being my eyes. They're trying to make a fool out of me. That's what scoundrels do.
But in Brad Miller, they've discovered something that reminds me why I keep them around.
I first noticed it when he came up last year but let time diminish my enthusiasm. Only upon seeing him again this spring did I comprehend the extent of my negligence: The guy can do anything he wants at the plate.
Some days, that means hitting two home runs, when he gets the right pitches in the right spots. Some days, it means slapping the ball over the third baseman's head for a "cheap" single. His bat control -- meaning when he swings, where he swings and how he swings, often attempting to place the ball instead of just whacking it as hard as he can -- is so evident to the naked eye that you wonder how he ever hit less than .300.
Oh, wait. He didn't. Not in the minors, anyway. Over three season, he compiled a .334 mark. And then he hit .410 this spring. Again, I'm just saying.
Questioning my sanity, not to mention my eyes, I challenged listeners on a recent Fantasy Baseball Today podcast to watch Miller play one game and see if they see what I see. I found this Tweet waiting for me this morning:
I'll assume the two home runs had nothing to do with the delayed response and trust this stranger with no credentials whatsoever to confirm what I'm saying. Brad Miller is the greatest.
So why did he hit .265 as a rookie last year? I'm guessing the usual. Youth. Inexperience. Consdering he still performed on a 15-homer, 10-steal pace, I'm thinking his floor is pretty high.
And his ceiling? I don't know if calling Miller this year's Matt Carpenter does his power potential justice, but he could have a similar rise up the rankings. In the season opener edition of Fantasy Baseball Today, a boldly predicted him to be a top five shortstop this year. I don't rank him there yet for trading purposes, but I'm thinking he's at his most affordable right now.
Watch him just once and tell me I'm crazy. More likely, you'll become equally transfixed and want to stay up late watching Mariners games from now until the end of time.