UPDATE: A few people pointed out that the graphs I have are actually graphs with MLB performance. These are kind of useless because Miller has very little playing time in the majors. For now, I'll leave them, but I'm going to try to find minor league graphs. If anyone has a website with good minor league graphs, could you please post it (fan graphs.com doesn't work; they only have his MLB graphs)? Thanks!
It doesn't take a genius to realize that the the A's outfield is pretty messed up; none of our three starting OF'ers in 2011 will return next year - that could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view - and the A's aren;t looking like they'll sign any free agent outfielders, so it'll be up to Ryan Sweeney and a bunch of youngsters to handle the OF situation next season. On of those rookies is Jai Miller.
Miller has never been an outstanding prospect; when you hear people talk about Oakland minor league outfielders, they're usually referring to Michael Taylor or Michael Choice. In my opinion, Miller hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves, because he could turn out to be a seriously good player.
First, let's take a look at his minor league stats:
|2003||18||2 Teams||2 Lgs||Rk-A-||FLA||57||214||189||22||39||7||1||1||21||10||4||18||60||.206||.282||.270||.552||51||4||3||1||3||0|
|2010||25||2 Teams||1 Lg||AAA||KCR,OAK||94||387||345||47||87||24||2||18||57||5||3||38||132||.252||.326||.490||.815||169||7||1||0||3||0|
|AAA (4 seasons)||AAA||423||1750||1532||250||415||94||13||85||253||47||12||182||550||.271||.351||.516||.867||790||20||17||3||16||6|
|A (2 seasons)||A||228||912||805||120||166||29||5||25||83||27||15||89||302||.206||.290||.348||.638||280||15||8||6||4||1|
|AA (1 season)||AA||129||473||406||54||106||26||2||14||58||12||5||55||127||.261||.354||.438||.792||178||10||5||4||3||3|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||46||166||146||17||29||4||1||1||15||9||3||15||45||.199||.279||.260||.539||38||4||2||1||2||0|
|A- (1 season)||A-||11||48||43||5||10||3||0||0||6||1||1||3||15||.233||.292||.302||.594||13||0||1||0||1||0|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||111||401||344||40||72||16||2||0||24||24||10||45||115||.209||.308||.267||.576||92||5||5||5||2||1|
He's been hanging around in the minors for quite some time, now; since 2003, in fact. He's spent almost all of his minor league career in the Marlins' system, and 2011 was the first year that he played a full season in Sacramento. Looking at his stats, he seems to be a guy who has power and can drive in runs; however, his average is low, his strikeout rate is high, and he has a low OBP. Doesn't take a lot of walks, either. He hits a fair amount of doubles and some triples; his speed is nothing to write home about.
From 2004-2006, he played in over 100 games each year, but had an average around the Mendoza Line. He also had 417 strikeouts compared to 134 walks in 1313 plate appearances. He didn't hit a lot of homers; in fact, in 2006, he had 0 homers coupled with 24 RBI and a .209 average.
The season I want to look at specifically is 2011: Not only did he hit .276, he had 88 RBI, and, more surprisingly, 32 homeruns. How does a guy who has never hit 20 homeruns in a year suddenly hit 32? Is it just that he's a big, strong guy?
Here's a graph showing his flyball/groundball/line drive rate since 2008. It's pretty clear that he's a flyball hitter; his percentages of flyballs peaked this year, while his line drive rate decreased. About 68% of balls hit were flyballs, 14 were line drives, and 28% were groundballs. A high flyball ratio can lead to homers, so this may help us understand Miller.
This graph shows his strikeout percentage. Not much to be said here: his strikeout numbers are off the charts, definitely in the "poor" zone. He's a free swinger, and he strikes out a lot. Not overly concerned about this.
And, well, that's all I've got to say. Miller is a power hitter who strikes out a lot, doesn't walk much, and can hit absolute bombs. His 2nd homerun in the majors was an opposite field shot in Safeco Field, no small feat. To sum everything up: I like him. All of the young guys will get plenty of playing time in 2012, and Miller will be among them. He's a good kid with power, and could be a good young player in the MLB.
More graphs can be found here:
Is Jai Miller a serious part of our outfield in 2012?
Yes, he's a good young player with lots of potential. (36 votes)
Perhaps, but I need to see more before my mind is made up (94 votes)
No, he's nothing special and the A's really should just leave him to stew in the minors, or get rid of him (61 votes)
What's the point of this post?! Everybody knows that Prince Fielder can play some mean OF! (14 votes)
205 total votes