Brad Miller (Tampa Bay Rays): Brad Miller is a cleanup hitter on an MLB team... but a struggling one in an atrocious lineup on a rebuilding Rays ball club. Miller was supposed to move to 2B this year with CJ Cron playing 1B. Oddly enough, Miller is listed on the official depth chart as the starter at DH, but he has been getting the starts at 1B.
Miller is hitting .200 with 1 HR on 25 ABs so far this season. Miller hasn’t hit .260 since his rookie year. In AAA he had a 22 game hit streak and hit well over .300. At Clemson, he hit .395 in 195 ABs with only 5 HR his senior year. His transition to a low-average power hitting first baseman is surprising.
This is a big year for Miller. The Rays will be patient as they are at the low-point of their rebuild, but to avoid this being his last year as a starting position player, he needs put together a quality campaign.
Domonic Leone (St. Louis Cardinals): Leone is Clemson’s best player in the majors. He caught a tough break when the Cardinals signed Greg Holland just before opening day. Leone was slated to close for the Cardinals after excelling in Spring Training. Presumptive Cardinals closer Luke Gregerson was banged up in the Spring and has started the season on the DL. With a $14 million contract, Greg Holland is a lock to close, but Leone is still a key piece of the Cardinals bullpen.
Leone blew his only save chance of the season, but still holds a 3.86 ERA with 8 Ks in 4.2 IP. I expect him to have a very productive season.
Tony Sipp (Houston Astros): Sipp made the opening day roster despite struggling last season and in Spring Training this year. He is off to a solid enough start with a 3.86 ERA. He is on the back-end of his contract, but hopefully can get back to being a major key to the Astros’ excellent bullpen.
Daniel Gossett (AAA - Athletics): Gossett got two starts with the Oakland Athletics to start the season. Unfortunately, they didn’t go well. Both starts came against the Angels and he failed to register a quality start in either one, going 4.0 IP 4 ER and 3.1 IP 5 ER. He has been sent down to the minors. Oakland also signed Trevor Cahill late in the Spring. He will start in the minors to prepare, but should join the A’s rotation in late April, making the path back very difficult for Gossett.
Steven Duggar (AAA - Giants): Although not on the opening day roster, many believe Duggar will be up with the club soon. Facing several tough lefties in the first month, the Giants elected to send Duggar to AAA-Sacramento for a bit more seasoning. CF Austin Jackson is off to a 2-15 start in his first season with the Giants. Duggar may get a chance to platoon with him in CF soon if Jackson’s struggles persist to the “Super Two” deadline (date at which they can call-up Duggar without making the his salary arbitration come a year sooner.)