BJ Rains of foxsportsmdwest.com started this train of thought last night when he stated the following about Aaron Miles in his midseason report:
The scrappy utility infielder is hitting .314 since joining the Cardinals and has played surprisingly well in the field. While the popular opinion seems to be dumping Miles in favor of Tyler Greene, the veteran infielder Miles has done more than enough to deserve a spot on the roster.
Sorry BJ, because I do enjoy reading your work, but I completely disagree. You’ve failed to mention the fact that he’s only hitting .314 over 39 at-bats prior to last night, which means he only needed 11 hits (9 of which were singles) to pull off that amazing .314 average. Small sample size? Definitely. Consider this – last night Miles went 2 for 3, plating a run and taking an extra base on errors. His average this morning? .342! This is an April batting average in terms of plate attempts, and you are absolutely joking me if you think he’s going to hold that up consistently.
As for those 2 hits last night? They both looked like this. Yes, he made contact, but both of his hits were little bloops and bleeps that dropped just over the fielder’s head. 2 feet shorter or 5 feet farther and it gets a lot closer to being caught. Some of the most hard hit balls of the night were hit right at people, hence why Allen Craig and Brendan Ryan, both of whom had some of those harder hit balls, have no hits to show for it. Sometimes life just isn’t fair, boys.
Back to Miles – his defense is also deceptive. Go basic and you see he only has 2 errors. Another layer? He only has 23 attempts. Another layer? He has no range. He makes the plays on the balls hit to him, and sometimes he even makes them look flashy. However – last layer – his zone rating is negative. That means he’s actually getting to fewer balls than the average player. To reference – Brendan Ryan, for all his struggles this year, is still playing well above average at his position because he gets to balls that no one else on the team can snag. Because of this, he probably will have more errors because he often has to get up and make a fast play, instead of being a player that only is playing the balls hit right at him.
I won’t get too far into that, but the point is saying that Miles is playing surprisingly well in the field is overblown.
Let’s talk happy. Beating the stuffings out of Clayton Kershaw last night was awesome, and has set a good tone for the beginning of the second half. Let’s keep it up tonight when Jaime Garcia takes the mound at 7:15 PM!
Happy Friday and go Cards!!!