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The Season That Was: Kevin Millar

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When we signed Kevin Millar I was less than thrilled but I really didn't imagine he would make the team. In 2008 he hit .234/.323/.394 at age 36, he did hit 20 home runs but I've never been a big fan of 1B/DH types that slug under .400. I guess I was in denial through spring training, figuring that common sense would win out and he wouldn't be on the team at the end of spring training. It was all one of those jokes that I don't really get. Or so I thought. 

But then he made the team and I thought, ok, Overbay doesn't hit lefties so Millar could be ok as the right handed half of a first base platoon. There were the odd bells going on in my head when I heard Cito and JP talking about how he could play outfield or third, neither of which he played in a while. I likely wasted more words on Millar than on any other Jays this season. 

When we did the Community Projections, Millar wasn't even on our radar screen. 


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Kevin Millar 78 251 29 56 14 0 7 29 31 49 0 0 .223 .311 .363

So what he did was much in line with what he did the year before. Fewer homers, but thankfully fewer at bats. Not enough fewer at bats but fewer. Fangraphs had him at a -0.6 WAR. 

Millar hit .191/.285/.330 against RHP and .250/.333/.390 against LHP. so well he was a bit better against lefties than Lyle Overbay was, but when you figure in his defense, I'd still rather have had Lyle in against them. 

He hit a lot better on the road (.256/.345/.376) than he did at home (.190/.277/.349). I really don't know why that would be.

He got on base well with RISP (.238/.351/.325) but didn't hit or slug any better. Likely it is the small sample size but maybe he locked into the strike zone better with runners out there.

Cito had him bat clean up in 11 games and he hit .186/.255/.395 in the role with 2 home runs. Mostly he hit in the 7th spot and did his best work there (.280/.336/.432).

By month he hit:

April           .343/.395/.514

May            .218/.283/.364

June           .200/.298/.300

July             .178/260/.333

August       .240/.345/.440

Sept/Oct     .195/.327/.293

So he started off the season great and had me questioning myself. But that quickly passed. We quickly banned the C-word around here, being far to silly for grownups to be saying, but it wasn't an issue after April 30th. 

His longest hitting streak was 5 games, right at the end of the season. He goes into next season ready to build on it. Just, you know, not with the Jays. Please.

His favorite team to play was the Cleveland Indians (.471/.471/.882). Least favorite? Yankees (.000/.148/.000) in  27 at bats. 

Defensively he was poor. Fangraphs has him at a -7.8 UZR/150, but I should mention that it was over a small sample size. He made 4 errors for a .990 FA. I may not me the most unbiased observer but I thought he looked terrible at the position. He also played 21 innings at third, which were interesting to watch, mostly at the end of the season. Cito, in his wisdom, decided Millar at 3B was better than Lind in LF and wouldn't move Bautista from the outfield to play third. Millar really didn't look out of place. I'm glad he didn't have to do it longer.

So, given any luck or baseball sense from our new GM, we shouldn't see Millar swinging a bat for us again. He's 38 next season, I really can't see any major league team paying him to play next year, but you never know. He did give us some thrills in April. I'm sure a lot of us remember the game in April against the A's where he walked, moved to second base on a wild pitch that didn't get far from the catcher and hustled home on a Lyle Overbay single. That won us the game 1-0. Helped along by 7 scoreless innings from Ricky Romero and a B.J. Ryan save. Kevin was Jay of the Day 6 times for us this season. I don't have a count on how many times he got the Suckage Jay award.