Owen Miller Is Looking for an Everyday Role

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Infielder Owen Miller is looking for an everyday role. So far, the Cleveland Guardians have played in 22 games and utility specialist Owen Miller has played in 17 of those games. He has seen time at first and second base and one game at DH. With first base being a concern for the Guardians, can Miller become the full-time first baseman?

Struggled in Big Leagues 2021

After an excellent 48 games at Triple-A Columbus, where he was hitting .297 with 12 doubles and seven home runs, he was called up to Cleveland. He saw playing time at all infield positions, fielding each position well, and showing off his strong arm. However, he struggled to get the bat going. He ended up hitting just .204 in 60 games, striking out 54 times in 191 plate appearances.

Originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2018, he saw action at second and third base along with shortstop. After being traded to Cleveland he saw time at those same positions as well as at first base and left field. He certainly is what baseball people call a “super-utility player.”

Utility Players Have Changed

Utility players have changed over the past ten years. They have become uniquely important in that one player can essentially serve as a backup at several different spots with an occasional start mixed in.

During Covid-19 and through April 2022 MLB allowed teams to carry extra players for health and safety reasons. However starting on May 2, teams must go back to the 26-man roster. The utility players are now more significant than ever. Most MLB teams will only carry 12 or 13 offensive players, so having one utility player who can play multiple positions—and play them well—makes it easier on a Manager. It allows teams to carry extra pitchers.

Started Off Well 2022

Owen Miller is looking for an everyday role and looks good so far in 2022. He has 20 hits and an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of 1.144. He leads the AL in doubles with nine and has hit two homeruns. He certainly has looked composed at the plate. The hitting coaches have said that he is using the entire field when he is at the plate.

Before the lockout, Miller was working on his hitting and watching videos with hitting coaches Chris Valaika and Victor Rodriguez. He continued that during Spring Training and he had an excellent camp. He hit .333, and while that was against pitchers who are not MLB ready it still gave him the confidence he needed to start the regular season.

Decisions to Make

Owen Miller is looking for an everyday role and Guardians Manager Terry Francona has some decisions to make. Since Miller has started off so well, do you make him a full-time player? Bobby Bradley is the other player to see action at first but has struggled to start the 2022 season. Josh Naylor has also seen time at first but they would like to use him in the outfield.

Keep Him a Utility Player

Do the Guardians keep him as a utility player who sees action in a different infield position in every game as a starter or DH? We do know Cleveland is expected to have strong pitching this season, but previews pointed to a mediocre offense. Miller has been anything but mediocre. If this team wants to stay in contention in the AL Central the hitting they have seen from Miller for the month of April needs to continue—and possibly spark his teammates. As a veteran manager, we know that Terry Francona will make the right decision on where to play Miller. Where and how that will look is the question.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Owen Miller, Bobby Bradley, Josh Naylor