Thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a look at our new Jay, Kevin Millar since he is off to a fast start this year.
His career up till now:
Course we all know he has a World Series ring from 2004 with the Red Sox and he has some C word (chrysanthemum up?) slogan that is just too silly to say out loud. Early in his career he was a good player, good power and good on base ability. The last few seasons haven't been so great. Add in that his defensive abilities have deteriorated to the point that he can only DH and play first I wasn't thrilled we signed him.
Now, during spring training, I was hoping that Jason Lane would get Millar's spot on the roster. Why? Well because Millar was terrible last year and I didn't see that he would regain his form at age 38. And that Lane can play any of the outfield spots and could play first base at least as well as Millar. Millar, even though he was sold to us as being able to play the corner outfield spots, can't. Or at least I don't want to see him try to play the outfield. There was even some that suggested Millar could back up third base, but he hasn't played there since he played 11 innings in 2002 for the Marlins. Add in that Lane is younger than Millar and was pounding the ball in the spring, I thought he was the better choice. Yeah I was likely wrong.
Millar's never had a large platoon split so as a platoon partner for Overbay there isn't much edge for him. But then Overbay hit so poorly against lefties last year that Millar doesn't have to have platoon edge to be a better hitting option than Overbay. At least if Overbay doesn't improve on last year.
Baseball Prospectus projected Millar to bat .231/.320/.407 with 14 homers this season, but right now he is miles ahead of that. Right now you'd have to guess that he'll beat that projection.
Another knock on Millar is a lack of speed, but then the other day he won a game for us by tagging up from first base on a fly ball and then scoring from second on a single. I wouldn't expect him to do that very often but boy that was cool.
One of the positives people talk about for Millar is his 'club house' presence and 'leadership'. I tend to file these comments under G for garbage. For some reason veteran white guys get called these things. Last year we were told the same things about David Eckstein. Leadership and being a general good guy are wonderful things but you could find millions of great guys, only a handful can play major league baseball.
I mean....yeah Millar won a World Series ring with the Red Sox, but so did Manny Ramirez and then after Millar left the team Ramirez won another, while Millar was a great clubhouse presence for a crappy Oriole team. No one's claiming Ramiez has a great clubhouse presence. I tend to think baseball talent is more important than being a good guy. The Hall of Fame is filled with creeps. But we are going to be told how great a guy Kevin is every at bat this season.
Anyway, Millar has had a great start to the season and I hope he continues to prove me wrong. It is nice to be surprised by a player when he turns 38. I'd imagine he won't have a .344 average when the season is over but if he can keep it up about .270 with occasional power and a good on base; he's a much better pickup than I thought he'd be.