Spring Training Job Battles: Mariners Shortstop

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Updated: March 7, 2015
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The fourth in our series of Spring Training Job Battles is the Mariners shortstop position where Brad Miller and Chris Taylor were going head-to-head.

UPDATE: Miller has won the job by default when Taylor suffered a fractured wrist on a hit by pitch in a spring game. Both players were red hot, but now Miller will get the first month to take off with the job. Taylor could still work his way back into the picture if Miller struggles.

Fantasy owners are more excited about Miller as he has shown more power in the majors, but Taylor has some pop and more speed.

Taylor raced through the minors after being taken in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Virginia, posting a combined .320/.407/.463 triple-slash in stops with five minor-league teams and he had 69 steals in 258 minor-league games. He could eventually develop into a solid No. 2 hitter in the majors, hitting for average with speed and possibly double-digit power.

Miller also raked in the minors, triple-slashing .334/.409/.516 in four minor-league stops over two years after being taken in the second round of the 2011 draft. He added 30 steals and 27 homers in 219 games. Miller has shown flashes of power in Seattle that could make him more of a No. 6 hitter after profiling as more of a No. 2 in the minors. The ceiling for Miller is a .300 hitter with as much as 20-homer power with double-digit steals too.

We adjusted Miller’s projection up to .263 average, 57 runs, 13 homers, 59 RBIs, 9 steals in 525 plate appearances, putting him at No. 17 in our shortstop rankings. We bumped Taylor’s projections up to .265, 27 runs, 3 homers, 30 RBIs and 8 steals in 267 PAs, ranking him No. 32.

Miller makes for an interesting lottery tickets late in deep-mixed leagues, having the talent for a mini-breakout as soon as this year. Don’t completely forget about Taylor, but he can be safely filed away as someone to watch come May.

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