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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: BRAD MILLER 1B TAMPA BAY RAYS

After bombing out in the Seattle Mariners organization despite being given plenty of chances to show what he could do in his three-season stay in the Pacific Northwest, it appeared as though former 2011 second-round pick Brad Miller’s major league career was already on life support.  Enter the Tampa Bay Rays who never met a reclamation project they didn’t think they could fix and then sat back and watched Miller slam 30 home runs (19 more than his previous high) for the team in 2016.  Say what?  In what was clearly one of the most unexpectedly great performances of the 2016 season, Miller literally crushed it for the Rays.  In almost every way, Miller exceeded expectations and his previous hitting rates by a mile and that is what makes forecasting him for 2017 so difficult.  On the surface, it is easy to surmise the “outlier effect” that Miller’s 2016 qualifies for since he has never approached anything like that before.  In fact when coming up the Seattle system, Miller was known more for a batting average talent and an ability to go maybe 15/15 with his power/speed.  Now Miller doesn’t run much anymore (only 6 steals last season), the average has been terrible from day 1 in the majors (.243 a year ago) but yet the power exploded at an unfathomable rate.  It has become obvious that Miller is selling out for power like he never did in the minors, with his 2016 K/9 rate of 24.8 percent showing how much he is swinging for the fences.  A .277 BABIP was unlucky which means Miller could be more of a .260 hitter going forward but either way it looks like it is home runs or bust now for the guy.  That makes it somewhat of a razor thin margin in terms of turning a profit on Miller for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Either he replicates the production from last season in the power department (which we have our extreme doubts about) or he goes into the bust bin.  There are too many moving parts here for our liking so it is best if you avoid Miller altogether. 
2017 PROJECTION:  .257 24 HR 77 RBI 71 R 5 SB 

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