Can Brad Miller shoot up the shortstop rankings in 2014?

Otto Greule Jr

The Seattle shortstop was very productive in his half-season in 2013; if he can parlay that into full-season numbers, there might be another big bat in the Mariners lineup.

Wanna watch me play with an arbitrary line?

Of the 23 shortstops with at least six home runs a year ago, none had as few plate appearances as Brad Miller's 335. In fact, no shortstop with as few plate appearances as Miller had as many homers, as many runs, as many RBI.

The fun part of this, of course, is that Hanley Ramirez had 336 plate appearances.

Anyway, in 76 games a year ago, Miller put up a slash line of .265/.318/.418. That was good for a 103 wRC+ and a 110 OPS+. He put up a .154 ISO, equal to that of Jhonny Peralta and good for eighth at the position.

If Miller were, say, a member of the White Sox, we'd be pretty danged excited about his future. Of course, he's a Settle Mariner, and being a Seattle Mariner up-and-comer in 2014 means you get lumped in with the failures of Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, and Jesus Montero, among others. The Mariners in recent years have been one of the worst organizations in baseball at developing their big-time prospects, and the failures of those guys have colored impressions of the organization as a whole.

Maybe there's something to it. I don't know; I'm not sure if it's even possible to know for sure. I prefer to deal in the concrete, and the concrete tells me that Miller played a half-season as a 23-year-old and produced. He did that after raking for two-plus minor-league seasons, and he did that despite a .294 MLB BABIP that was drastically lower than his minor-league line.

The Mariners are still some time away from having a top-tier offense. But bringing in (particularly) Robinson Cano, plus Corey Hart and Logan Morrison, has to help, and it will help (the offense, at least) even more if they also bring Nelson Cruz in, as has been rumored. It looks like Miller will be the team's No. 9 hitter; assuming that offense is as improved as it ought to be, Miller could easily see a dramatic increase in both run and RBI opportunities.

Miller is tied with Erick Aybar for the 18th slot in our consensus rankings, just behind Jhonny Peralta and Jimmy Rollins, just ahead of Stephen Drew and Zack Cozart. That's a fair ranking, because Miller isn't without risks. But if you're picking a shortstop in the bottom 13 or 14 of our rankings who could end the season in the position's top 10 or higher, it would be Miller. He's an upside play, but there's definitely some fair upside.

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