Jai Miller, outfielder

That was an impressive 2012, wasn’t it?

The Orioles purchased Jai Miller in the 2011-2012 offseason, and put him on the 40-man roster. That move made some sense, because Miller had hit .276/.368/.588 in the Pacific Coast League in 2011, spiked by 32 home runs. Miller didn’t make the Orioles’ roster out of spring training and was sent to Norfolk. With Norfolk, he did hit 8 home runs in 211 plate appearances; two of which were among the most impressive home runs I’ve ever seen at Harbor Park. Unfortunately for Miller, he hit just .196/.308/.397; when he was sent down to AA Bowie, he wasn’t any better. For the season as a whole, he struck out 159 times in just 364 plate appearances, so he struck out in 43.6% of his plate appearances.

To put that in perspective, when Mark Reynolds struck out 221 times (in the major leagues) in 2009, he struck out in only 33.6% of his plate appearances. Last season, Brett Jackson was widely condemned for his strikeouts in his major-league time, to the extent that the Cubs are reworking his swing; he struck out in 41.5% of his plate appearances. Even Glenallen Hill, when he hit .210 and struck out 211 times for A-level Kinston in 1985, only struck out in 39.6% of his plate appearances.

In fairness to Miller, Harbor Park may have been the worst park in all of AAA for him. The nighttime visibility there is not particularly good, and the dimensions and altitude encourage an all-or-nothing plate approach. It’s not surprising Miller struck out a lot; I don’t think anyone expected him to strike out that much.  

Miller has apparently given up baseball. He’s enrolled in the University of Alabama, where he will try to play football as a defensive back for the Crimson Tide.

Any cheap-shot comment?

Sure. I have a hard time believing Jai Miller will succeed has a defensive back, because as a defensive back he has to hit.


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