Sorry, Brendan Ryan, but the Seattle Mariners just aren’t that into you.
Then again, it’s hard to imagine any team in the bigs being particularly into a .196/.254/.252 triple-slash even at the traditionally weak-hitting shortstop spot, especially when said player is fielding at -2.1 runs above (or just 2.1 below) average with a -5.6 UZR/150. That’s not usually what you could say about Ryan, who has long been arguably the best defensive shortstop in the game, and whose job on M’s have counted on it staying that way.
Without that above-average glove, though, he’s simply a non-factor for the team who has done more harm than good (-0.7 fWAR through 67 games).
So it’s no wonder why the team tried to pull the plug on this particular relationship earlier in the season by making a short-lived, train-wreck-from-a-mile-away move of introducing new acquisition Robert Andino into the shortstop spot … where he managed to be even worse and was subsequently DFA’d.
Prospect Brad Miller, however, might just be able to avoid a similar fate.
In an attempt to further move towards a youth movement (or to have the team avoid being sucked in by the offensive black hole known as Ryan), the M’s have called up the 23-year old Miller from Triple-A Tacoma to the bigs, where he will immediately take over as the everyday starting shortstop.
And what will the newcomer need to succeed? Status quo is just fine.
See, Miller’s callup comes at the rather opportune time of the shortstop being in the middle of a fantastic 22-game hitting streak down in Triple-A, so the M’s are really hoping to strike the iron while it’s hot here. While he is not a particularly buzzy prospect, he is an organizational top-10 and had been terrorizing the minors with a .356/.426/.596 triple-slash with six homers through 122 PA with Tacoma.
The point of interest on Miller is whether he’ll be able to maintain his excellent plate discipline, as his 0.83 BB/K ratio this year has shown. While there are questions about his defense, the power surge he seems to be on in 2013 (.240 ISO, .176 in 2012) could even make him something of a revelation for the struggling 34-45 Mariners club looking for a makeover.
Besides, it’s not like the standard is set particularly high is Seattle, so …