Only a year ago, former Clemson shortstop and ACC Player of the Year, Brad Miller was tearing through the minors. He led the double-A Jackson (TN) Generals in hits, then got promoted to the triple-A Tacoma Rainers where he hit .356 in 26 games. He looked to be part of a promising future that was developing for the Seattle Mariners, and by June of that year he was promoted to the major league club. He hit .265 with 25 extra base hits and 8 HR in 306 ABs. His WAR (wins over replacement) was 2.0 (for reference, Andrelton Simmons' WAR this season is 2.0). While that wasn't earth shattering, it was impressive enough for him to earn the first look at the starting shortstop role this season.
This year, he beat out Nick Franklin and Dustin Ackley for playing time and held it by virtue of their struggles. Miller was scuffling himself though, hitting a paltry .204 with a .273 OBP before the All-Star Break. Millers' numbers got even worse after the break, but when the trade deadline rolled around it was Nick Franklin who was dealt. Franklin was included in the David Price trade that sent Austin Jackson to Seattle and Nick Franklin to Tampa. This cleared some room in the middle infield, but even still, Brad Millers struggles are now forcing him into a utility role with Chris Taylor (drafted a year after Miller from UVa) getting starts at shortstop.
Brad Miller fielded grounders at second base prior to Thursday's game and could also shag some flyballs. It's a clear indication that Chris Taylor has officially taken over as the Mariners' starter at shortstop. Taylor is off to a .367/.394/.500 start at the dish in his first eight games, while Miller sports a sickly .199/.272/.318 batting line for the season. Miller is droppable in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues. - Rotoworld
At 24 years of age, Miller still has time to find his groove, but the expectations for him to be a hit machine and starting shortstop at the major league level are dissipating, thought it's certainly not too late. We hope to see him find his groove soon and get back to belting two home runs in the same game.
Southeast of Seattle in the Rocky Mountains, two former Clemson first basemen have seen some action. Kyle Parker was with the Colorado Rockies in June and played in four games going 0/6 with three strikeouts. He was up again on July 9th and collected his first major league hit with a single against the Padres. About a week later, regular first baseman Justin Morneau hit the DL with a neck injury and former Tiger Ben Paulsen got the call-up from triple-A to serve in his stead. Paulsen was 10/22 as a fill-in for Morneau who returned on July 29th.
One last Clemson alumnus to check in on is Dominic Leone. He has quietly played in 41 games pitching 46.1 innings and only allowing three home runs. He has 50 Ks giving him more strikeouts than innings pitched, which is what you love to see out of a reliever. He has a cool 2.14 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Leone pitched a scoreless seventh against the Braves last Wednesday in a Mariner victory. On a side note for those in the Atlanta area, the Braves concert series continues on Tuesday as they host the Dodgers (Kershaw won't start in the series, bummer) and Weezer has a concert on the field after the game.