Brad Miller is too clutch for the Phillies to let him walk

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies
Brad Miller
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Back in June of 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies brought in utility man Brad Miller from the New York Yankees. Miller, at the time, was brought in to provide some veteran depth as the Phillies “attempted” a playoff run. Even though the Phillies fell flat on their face, Miller did his job. During September 2019, the lefty bat homered eight times and drove in 11 runs.

The Phillies let Miller walk in the offseason following that, and his sizzling end of the season earned him a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cardinals. He’d go on to hit seven homers in 48 games with St. Louis, while hitting .232 that during the shortened 2020 season.

Luckily for the Phillies, though, Miller would re-sign with the Phillies before the start of the 2021 season. He continued his positive late-inning, and late-season trends, which is why they have to bring him back, if money permits.

Brad Miller = Clutch in a Phillies’ uniform

Throughout Miller’s career, he’s been a perfect bat to come off the bench. It’s no secret that he’s struggled when called upon to start routinely or even be used regularly. However, his hitting style and mold are the perfect fit for what the Phillies need- a natural clutch hitter late in games, and late in the season.

While specifically with the Phillies, the lefty bat hit eight homers and 11 RBI as the season ended in 2019. He continued this with his second stint in Philadelphia too, as in 2021, he had five dingers and nine RBI, which were among his highest for a single month.

Late in games is also where Miller thrives. In 2021, Miller’s batting average spiked to .272 in 125 at-bats within innings seven, eight, and nine. That 125 number is also the most number of at-bats when comparing the game’s innings as thirds, showing that it isn’t skewed by a smaller sample size. He hit seven home runs and 17 RBI in those situations as well.

To quickly compare this to his career splits, Miller has always done much better in the latter portion of the season. During August, September, and (a very small portion of) October games, Miller’s batting average sits just under .250. His 23 homers in August and 32 in September/October are both the top two by month.

How he can fit in during 2022

Whether it’s bringing a spark in the locker room or a spark late in the game, Miller brings the exact energy that the Phillies need. For a team that needs more leadership, his poise demeanor brings them just that.

Phillies Nation‘s Destiny Lugardo estimates that the Phillies would have $32 million to work with after the lockout (hopefully) gets settled. With said money, Dave Dombroski has to utilize this to fill the biggest needs (centerfield, a more steady infielder, backup catcher, etc.).

Brad Miller should not be someone the Phillies rely on for day-to-day production. Even with the designated hitter coming to the National League, Miller has to remain a bench piece. Similar to Matt Stairs in 2008, his bat serves best as a pinch hitter coming in late in games. Even he’s said himself that, every time he’s at the plate, he’s swinging for the fences.

Hopefully, Miller can come back with a contract sitting around the $2-3 million mark again, leaving the Phillies room to pursue some high-end free agents. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if he isn’t back, but his unique niche would only bring more reward than risk.

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