- Brad Miller's father, Steve, played baseball at Northern Iowa.
- In 2008, Miller graduated from Olympia High School in Windemere, Florida.
- In 2008, the Texas Rangers drafted Brad in the 39th round, but he did not sign, choosing to honor his baseball scholarship to Clemson University, majoring in pre-business.
Miller was a member of the 2009 and 2010 Collegiate National Teams, appearing in the 2009 World Baseball Challenge and 2010 World University Baseball Championship.
- In 2011, Miller led the Atlantic Coast Conference in batting (.431) and on-base percentage (.536).
And, Brad won the 2011 Brooks Wallace Award as the top college baseball shortstop in the nation. He was also named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year.
- June 2011: The Mariners chose Brad in the second round, and he signed with scout Garrett Ball just before the August 15, 2011 deadline for a bonus of $750,000.
- In the spring of 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Miller as the 11th-best prospect in the Mariners organization.
- Brad is a baseball rat with good makeup. He is a hard-nosed player. He works at the game. That work ethic and feel for the game could make him an everyday player in the mold of Adam Kennedy.
In September 2012, Miller was named the Mariners organization’s heart and soul award winner for his exemplary play and leadership.
Brad is able to make the players around him better. He is a leader both on and off the field. He just has that knack.
Mariners farm director Chris Gwynn calls Miller “big-time old school,” joking about his perpetually dirty uniform and high socks.
“Every time I watch him, he’s the only guy on the field with his stirrups on,” Gwynn said. “”He would have been good with the Reds in the 1970s. He shows a lot of sock.”
"He just has a makeup that doesn't come around often," Jack Leggett, his Clemson coach said. "He's just a baseball junkie. That's what makes him so special.
"Baseball fans always like gritty. It's a well-known scientific fact that a player who wears his pant legs high with stirrups showing is at least 15 percent grittier than your average ballplayer, and a player who hits without batting gloves is 20 percent grittier. So when Miller does both, that's some off-the-charts grittiness."
Former big leaguer Chet Lemon has worked with the amateur "Chet Lemon's Juice" team for years, endeavoring to teach morals, ethics, and how to play baseball the right way. And among the “Juice” are Prince Fielder, Rickie and Jemile Weeks, Casey Kotchman, and Matt LaPorta. There’s one player Lemon says he has all day to talk about: Mariners shortstop Brad Miller.
“That guy,’’ Lemon said, “is one day going to be the guy all those other players in that (Mariners) clubhouse look up to.’’
“I joined his team as a sophomore in high school and it was life-changing for me,’’ Miller said. “He taught me everything. He was incredible. I’m ‘Juice’ through and through.”
The team’s name comes from a nickname Lemon had been given.
“You know, it’s a play on words—lemon juice,” he said, rolling his eyes.
And while the “Juice” might not have the most recruits or draft picks, “they always win.”
Miller remains close friends with Lemon’s son, Marcus, a minor leaguer in the Tigers’ system. Chet Lemon and Miller also text regularly, and Lemon is quick to share his pride at each new accomplishment. (Geoff Baker-8/13/13)
CLOSE TO MOM
For 12 years, Cheryl Miller operated her own Kinderdance studio, a fitness center for kids who have yet to reach adolescence. It didn't take her near as long to realize that one of her most unfocused young students was cut out for something other than gymnastics.
"The teacher's student is always the [troublemaker], and all of my little kids knew not to climb on the mats when it wasn't time. You know who did?" she asked.
That was her son, Brad Miller, future starting shortstop for the Seattle Mariners. Taking him to her gym class was one of a few early failed attempts to see what he might like to do for fun while growing up in Orlando, Fla.
"We did expose him to everything," Cheryl recalled. "He wanted to play baseball. We tried gymnastics, we tried Kindermusic. He hid under the table. We tried Cub Scouts with our neighbor, and he came down with a tiger tale hanging by his pants."
Shortly after, Brad politely told all that spending time outdoors wasn't among his favorite extracurricular activities. "'Ya know, I'm just not a nature guy,'" Cheryl remembers him declaring. "He said that at 4 years old or 5 years old."
From kindergarten on, it was all baseball, all the time. Not just for Brad, but eventually Cheryl, too. She sold her Kinderdance studio before he started playing for travel teams. Suddenly, her weekends were free from work and her Suburban was packed with Brad and his teammates, as she drove them to baseball tournaments out of state and hours away.
"I was very blessed and fortunate to be that baseball mom that could drive the big suburban (which is so funny, I still have it) on the long trips," she said. "They didn't have a big bus to go to where they were playing in [Tennessee], and we'd all pile in."
"She was pretty involved," Brad said. "Always at every game taking me and all the buddies to the field and practice and everything. She was always there, so it's always cool getting to play on Mother's Day." (Lewis - mlb.com - 5/9/14)
- Brad's mother, Cheryl, admitted she didn't necessarily think her son was going to be a Major League shortstop. At least, not when he was young. Unlike parents who believe their kids are destined for stardom whether or not they can hit the ball out of the infield, she understood the realities. Brad, now 24, didn't go through a growth spurt "until a few years ago."
He was nowhere close physically to the 6-foot-2, 210-pound man who arrived to 2014 Spring Training chiseled and ready to compete for the starting shortstop job. But she loved every minute she got to spend with him—even when she was the designated driver and he was in the back playing video games with teammates.
"I was able to go on some of those Friday-Saturday-Sunday trips and drive," Cheryl said. "I would never give that up. It was awesome."
Cheryl saw firsthand the way he dedicated himself to the game he adored, the way he earned a scholarship to play at Clemson, a traditional power in the talent-rich Athletic Coast Conference. She saw how he majored in marketing and thought his career might somehow involve baseball. "He's just always been a sponge," she said. "He listened to his coaches and it was his thing. After [he's] 10 or 12, you can't make him get up on a Saturday morning and do all that." (5/9/14)
Brad gained another 10 pounds of muscle before 2015 spring training. And he grew his hair, coming to camp looking like the bass player in a rock-'n-roll band.
- As an avid baseball fan and former college player, Steve Miller enjoyed nothing more than taking his wife and two kids to Major League stadiums around the country when the youngsters were growing up. So imagine his joy now as he watches games around the Majors with his son, Mariners shortstop Brad Miller, smack in the middle of the action.
"That's pretty cool," said the elder Miller. "I collected baseball cards as a kid, and now he's on a card. You go to games, and now he's out there playing. That part, as a fan, is absolutely wonderful. The part as a dad gets a little tougher. You see him strike out or have a tough time, it's a little harder. You always just want the best for them."
Steve Miller played baseball at Northern Iowa, where he earned a degree in finance and has gone on to a successful business career. He's now senior vice president of The Park Bay Group at Morgan Stanley in Orlando, Fla., where the Millers grew up not far from Ken Griffey Jr.'s home.
Baseball was a constant for the Millers, who built family trips around traveling to various ballparks and spent most of their spare time playing or attending games. Steve coached his son through Little League and youth ball until Miller reached high school.
"All our family vacations growing up were centered around going to see a new stadium or going to a place we could catch some baseball," Brad said. "He grew up in Iowa and was a big Twins fan, so I grew up watching VCRs of the World Series and Kirby Puckett, Jack Morris, and all those guys in the late 80s and early 90s. That was my first taste of baseball, and we had that father-son bond through that."
The fact his son turned into a Major Leaguer was just an added bonus for a dad who introduced his kids to the game at an early age and then let them run with it. His daughter, Megan, was a softball standout in high school and now works as a photojournalist in Los Angeles. Brad is in his third year with the Mariners after being drafted in the second round out of Clemson in 2011.
"I was a baseball guy, and our kids became fans at an early age," Steve said. "Brad had probably seen games in 10 big league stadiums before he ever played in one. His first big league game was at Colorado when he was 5. We just like baseball. Brad just happened to turn out to be able to play it." (Johns - mlb.com - 6/19/15)
- Steve Miller (56 years old in 2015) played outfield and backup catcher in college and enjoyed coaching at the youth level, but his professional life now revolves around being a financial adviser and running a business. He said he turned over the coaching to others when Brad turned 14. But his influence clearly remains strong in his son's life.
"The one thing for me growing up is he stressed there are a lot of parallels between his business or any business," Brad said. "Obviously that's what he knows. That's his profession. And it starts with working hard and treating people the right way. There's no substitute for that. He was the first person in his family to go to college and get a degree. He really came from nothing and made something through hard work, so I obviously look up to him a lot and it speaks to volumes to his character."
And when it came to working on the game they both love, Steve Miller was, and still is, always available to help any way he can despite his own business obligations.
"He was always definitely willing," Brad said. "He instilled my love for baseball, for sure. It was something we both enjoyed doing. We lived close to the Little League field, so we were always going up there. And in the offseason we have a little net in our garage that we'd hit in at nights after his work. We'll still do that to this day. It's just something fun for us and he obviously has seen me grow up and has been there every step of the way. It's fun to share it with him." And that clearly works both ways.
"Since he grew up being a fan of the game, we'll talk about trades or things that happen," Steve Miller said. "We talk like fans. Playing as long as you can is a bonus, but I think he'll be around baseball in some capacity his whole life because he was brought up to enjoy the game. I wanted to go to every stadium even before he started playing and this has just made it all the better. We're enjoying the ride." (Johns - mlb.com - 6/19/15)
With his high socks and bare-handed hitting style, Brad looks like a classic 1950s throwback.
You could envision him leaving the clubhouse and getting in his 1965 Ford Thunderbird and driving home while listening to Sinatra.
And Miller never wears batting gloves—a throwback style that is rather rare these days.
"Because I also wear my pants up, people say that I'm old school," Miller says. "This is just me. It's just what I do. I don't do it because I'm tougher or anything. The smartest thing to do is to do whatever makes you perform the best. And this is what helps me. Just rub some dirt on your hands and go." (July 2015)
- June 2011: The Mariners drafted Miller in the second round, out of Clemson University in South Carolina.
- November 5, 2015: The Rays acquired Miller from the Mariners, along with Logan Morrison and RHP Danny Farquhar. Seattle received RHP Nathan Karns, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser, and OF Boog Powell from the Rays.
- January, 2017: Brad and the Rays avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $3.57 million.
|Home:||Windemere, FL||Team:||RAYS - DL|
|Birth City:||Orlando, FL|
|Draft:||Mariners #2 - 2011 - Out of Clemson Univ. (SC)|
- Miller has a great eye at the plate. He is willing to accept a walk. He always has a plan at the plate.
- Brad has an odd approach that evokes Craig Counsell. He holds his hands and bat real high to start his stance, and while he doesn't always get his hands into an ideal hitting position, he has excellent hand-eye coordination and keeps his bat barrel in the strike zone a long time. He has uncanny bat-to-ball skills.
Slender by wiry strong, Miller consistently squares up lefties and righties alike, spraying the ball all over the yard.
He should hit 30 doubles and 10-15 home runs per season, along with a nice .260-.270 batting average.
Miller is a tough out with impressive plate discipline. He rarely swings at a ball outside the strike zone is is not afraid to go deep in counts, being able to see all of the pitcher's weapons.
On Aug. 13, 2013, Seattle's Brad Miller and Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist joined forces to make baseball history. For the second time in MLB history, both leadoff hitters homered in their first at-bat and socked a second long ball in the same game. Minnesota's Chuck Knoblauch and Detroit's Tony Phillips first accomplished the feat on June 5, 1994.
- Brad has a bat wrap in his swing that concerned scouts. He he is able to consistently put the ball on the ball and spray line-drives all over the field.
- August 22, 2013: Miller isn't a big power hitter, but as a Mariners rookie apparently produces in bunches as he had a pair of two-homer games in his first 39 starts with Seattle.
Miller became just the third Major Leaguer since 1969 to record his first four career home runs with a pair of multi-homer games, joining J.P. Arencibia of the Blue Jays (2010-11) and Carlos May of the White Sox (1969).
"I know it sounds simple, but I've just really been working on seeing the ball," Miller said. "Just really making that a focus point out there instead of just going up there swinging. Really zoning in on where the ball is coming out, his release point, and just trying to let it fly, if I see it. I was happy, it was a couple different kinds of pitches I was able to hit hard and drive a little bit."
In 2013, Miller became the first Mariner ever to have three multi-home run games in a rookie season and the first Major League rookie to do so since Ryan Braun of the Brewers (three) and Chris Young of the D-backs (five) in 2007.
As of the start of the 2017 season, Miller's career Major League stats were: .246 batting average, 59 home runs and 408 hits with 199 RBI in 1,659 at-bats.
Brad gets to balls some shortstops don't, but he also has to do a better job of reading hops.
- Miller is working to make his footwork more fluid.
In 2013, Brad began seeing time at third base and second base, adding versatility and more options.
"It's been fun," said Miller of trying new positions. "I still picture myself as a shortstop, because that's where I've always played. But being able to move around can only help me."
Miller has plenty of arm to play shortstop. He positions himself well and gets good jumps on balls. His instincts help him get the most out of his slightly below-average defensive ability.
"The biggest thing," Brad said, "regardless of whether I get an error or not, I feel I want to make every play. Even if the scorer gives them a hit, if it’s a play I feel I can make for my pitcher, that’s the main thing. The biggest thing to try to learn as a shortstop is to be reliable. Someone the pitcher knows when they hit a ground ball to you, he’s done his job.”
At short, Brad will error on a few routine plays, normally with a bad throw. But his arm is very strong, a valuable asset for a shortstop.
Miller doesn't look good in the field. He is not smooth and he sort of flings the ball sidearmed to first base. But his defensive metrics rate him just a bit below big-league average—level with Jhonny Peralta and Erick Aybar. (Nov., 2015)
- Brad is a solid-average runner. But to this point has been a low-volume, inefficient base-stealer.
- May 18, 2017: Brad was on the DL with left abdominal strain