Prior to and right after Brad Miller’s promotion to the big leagues, there was a lot of discussion about whether he had the defensive skills to handle shortstop in the Majors.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said this about Franklin’s defense: “I think he’s going to be fine. I think most people, if not all, in the organization think he’s going to be fine. I think you look at his range, look at his arm, his athleticism, as important as anything his feel out there, it’s pretty good.”
I had a quick conversation with Mariners bench coach Robby Thompson on Sunday about Miller’s defense. Thompson handles the infielders.
Can Miller handle the Big League load at short?) I’m not an expert enough to say he can or cannot. You’ve got to give him a chance to do so. For me to sit here and and say he can’t or for anyone from that side to say he can or can’t handle it, that’s why he’s up here.
We feel he can handle it, that’s why he will be at shortstop most of the time. Also play some second and possibly third base occasionally. I just don’t think it’s fair to say one way or another to say how good he’s going to be or not going to be.
He’s got the tools. We’ll see how much arm strength he has. I think he has enough arm strength. He’s got plenty of range. He’s a ball player. We’ll see how far that takes him and how far it takes us.
Do you have any concerns with his arm slot?) I think all infielders need to throw from all different arm slots. I’m not concerned about that right now, unless there shows too much tail on the ball, too much sink on the ball, then we’ll have to address that. You got to let them play a little bit. You don’t get in their head right away. You watch them play, then make adjustments.
You guys gave Brendan Ryan the responsibility of calling coverages at short. How does that work with Miller and Franklin out there? You’ve got two young guys out there. You’ve got two guys who have played together a little bit over the years. When I played, I was the one to do the signs, right from my rookie year on. I’m not going to tell one or the other. I’m going to keep an eye on them to see how they are doing the coverage according to the pitches being thrown. We’ll go from there. It’s all part of the learning process.
Is the work middle infielders have to do an overlooked part of this promotion for Miller and Franklin?) For me, catcher, middle infielders especially, center fielder, should be exhausted at the end of the game. Especially the middle infielders and catchers. Catcher’s calling the game, he’s running the show. Middle infielders are paying attention to every single sign being put down, you’re into the game, there’s a lot of action up the middle, obviously. Like I said, we’ll see how these guys handle it. I think they’ll be fine with it.
These guys are really moving up rather quickly. That’s the whole objective. Nice life about them.