PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brad Miller's 2015 line at shortstop prompts a double take: 14 errors in 392 chances.That's a .964 fielding percentage. Such a percentage at the free-throw line would put Steph Curry to shame. However, in baseball, there is a higher standard.• Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets |
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brad Miller's 2015 line at shortstop prompts a double take: 14 errors in 392 chances.
That's a .964 fielding percentage. Such a percentage at the free-throw line would put Steph Curry to shame. However, in baseball, there is a higher standard.
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So when Miller joined the Rays via a trade with the Mariners in November, the questions began. Miller can hit, but can he field well enough to be the team's everyday shortstop?
The Rays believe he can.
"He's been at the position most of his life," said Tom Foley, Tampa Bay's infield/bench coach. "We think he can play shortstop. That's why we got him over here."
Rays manager Kevin Cash said he has a good friend who had been with Seattle, and "he just said glowing things about the guy."
"Great intensity, great teammate, just everything," Cash said.
In fairness to Miller, he moved around a lot in 2015, playing 11 games at second, two at third, 15 in left field, 20 in center, six in right and 89 at shortstop.
"One thing, hopefully he's playing a lot," Foley said. "Last year, they moved him around a lot. Playing on a consistent basis obviously helps out.
"I think there are things that you work on that he might think he has trouble with, and we watched a lot of video. We're definitely going to address some things, but I just want him to relax and go out there and play."
Miller recently fielded a question about what he would tell critics of his glove.
"I believe that I just have to be a little more consistent," Miller said. "I know I've shown flashes where I've played really, really well at shortstop for an extended period of time.
"Every year presents different challenges. Last year, obviously, I was moving around a lot toward the end and didn't get to really work on my consistency, but I started off really, really well. I know I can play short."
Miller loves the position, noting that "you're right in the middle of the game; you understand what the pitcher is doing."
"You're almost right there, a main cog up the middle," he said. "You want to be consistent, and that's what it's all about. Making the plays for your pitchers, that's how I view it. We're going to get some good work in here. I'm excited. I want to prove anybody wrong or prove these guys right, more importantly, so it will be a lot of fun."
Miller did acknowledge that being comfortable is a part of the equation.
"I'm confident in myself, but it always helps to have that support," Miller said. "The support from the coaches and your staff and your front office, it feels really good, and I definitely have a good foundation based on the environment I've seen so far with the Rays. I'm excited to actually get to play in that environment and see how that goes."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.