By Shannon Drayer
KANSAS CITY – Just some quick thoughts before the game today. If you missed it yesterday I took a look at what we have seen from Brad Miller in the last three weeks and why he is all of a sudden having success now. He came up big for the team in the ninth inning last night with the home run off Greg Holland, one of the best closers in baseball right now. Is there more to come?
“He’s getting better,” Lloyd McClendon said before Saturday’s game. “Swinging the bat a little better, being a little more selective. Playing the way we thought he should be playing all along.”
I asked McClendon if he learned anything about Miller watching him work his way through his struggle, and while he didn’t want to get too deep on the subject, pointing out it is all about the next at-bat in this game, he did shed light on what he thinks Miller ultimately should be and perhaps why he stuck with him so long.
“I think he is a certain type of player, I’m still waiting to see…” he started, “You look at the book, you look at his minor league numbers and what he has done, and they are off the charts. You don’t see those kind of numbers in the minor leagues, not even from a Robbie Cano. It’s pretty (expletive) impressive. 334 career average, .980 OPS?”
He mentioned this in spring training. The minor league numbers were eye-catching no doubt, but that is all he had to go off of in March. Now he has seen him. I would trust that the hitting coach in Lloyd McClendon is looking at more than what Miller did numbers wise in the minors. He’s seen enough things to stick with him (although perhaps longer than he wanted as the injury to Chris Taylor left few options) and appears to leave the door open to the possibility that he could be something special at the big league level even though he didn’t specifically say that. I found it interesting that he brought the minor league numbers up this morning.
Another interesting conversation I had this morning was with Logan Morrison. I grabbed him for the pre-game show to talk a little bit about the game Friday night and also about what he feels he needs to do at the plate. I asked who some of the biggest influences on his hitting were and he came up with a local name – a Kansas City (where he is from) local name. Turns out he took hitting lessons from none other than former Royal Kevin Seitzer and started at the early age of 11.
“I told my parents at a young age that I wanted to play in the big leagues and they never let me forget it and they did everything they could to get me here,” he said when I pointed out that Seitzer was a big name to be working with as a kid. “Whether that was putting me in front of guys like Kevin to help me with my swing, to help me with my approach, or my dad bought an Excursion, put an L-screen in the back of it – and we still have it with 275,000 miles – and drove all over the country, Colorado Springs, Houston, Texas, just playing in tournaments trying to find the best competition. I was very blessed, very lucky to have him as a father.”
Sadly, Morrison lost his father to cancer shortly after he made the big leagues. His dad was a career Coast Guard member, and as such the family moved around quite a bit when Morrison was younger, but eventually turned Kansas City into home. Growing up a Royals fan he still has an appreciation for what we have seen the last couple of days here.
“They get in first place, they sell out like that. If you win, they’ll be out there. It’s a great baseball city, a great sports city. They really enjoy competition and winning. This is America, man, the heartland of it and they don’t disappoint.”