SF Giants Under-The-Radar Targets
#2 Brad Miller
SF Giants fans have been clamoring for Tommy La Stella, and the fit makes a lot of sense. Without an experienced left-handed hitter capable of playing second or third base, an addition could spell Evan Longoria and Donovan Solano. However, Brad Miller has been as good an offensive player and flashed competence in the outfield.
Miller and La Stella are 31-year old left-handed hitters with significant platoon splits and a propensity to walk, but aside from that, they have polar opposite offensive profiles. La Stella put the ball in play at a better rate than anyone in baseball last season. He has solid power but derives most of his offensive value from his batting average and on-base percentage. On the other hand, Miller has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game but has big-time power.
Despite their similarities, La Stella is a stronger defensive player and a better resume against same-sided pitchers. Over the course of his career, La Stella has a passable .702 OPS against southpaws. Miller, though has posted a brutal .224/.284/.334 triple-slash in 638 career plate appearances versus lefties. With it easier to consider La Stella an everyday player, more teams are likely to come calling.
For the Giants though, a player limited to a platoon is all they really need. Solano and Longoria are far superior hitters against left-handed pitchers than either Miller or La Stella. With so many right-handed-hitting options, the Giants don’t need to target the everyday ability of someone like La Stella. Granted, neither will be very expensive, but Miller’s limitation will make him cheaper.
Over the past three seasons, Miller has played every position except for centerfield, catcher, and pitcher, while hitting .247/.329/.468 with 27 home runs in 595 plate appearances. He’s been well below-average defensively at third but is solid at second and has rated well above-average in left field.
He has his shortcomings, but Brad Miller is a versatile defender with the big-time power that could be a great late-game pinch hitter and could consistently spell the Giants starters on the infield.