Miller and Franklin and Drew, Oh My!

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As the offseason wheelings and dealings begin to come into full swing, the New York Mets are hard pressed for a shortstop as they spent last season without Jose Reyes. Some of the latest rumors have mentioned Stephen Drew of the Red Sox or either of the Mariners’ shortstop combo, Nick Franklin or Brad Miller. After a 74-88 season, the Mets are looking to become competitive in the NL East once again with offseason moves to acquire Curtis Granderson in the outfield. With David Wright and Ike Davis at the corners of the infield, the Mets are much in need of a solid shortstop in order to be a serious playoff contender for the 2014 season.

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While Stephen Drew is a seasoned veteran, Franklin and Miller are both young guns in the MLB at 22 and 24 respectively and each have their strengths at the plate and in the field. Franklin was drafted straight out of high school and played on the US national team in 2008-09. Miller played for Clemson after being drafted early in the first round and made the College World series twice in his collegiate career. Additionally, he won the ACC player of the year and the Brooks Wallace award, given to the best shortstop in NCAA baseball each year. Drew was also an ACC player at Florida State and has had a successful professional career with the Red Sox, A’s, and Diamondbacks. However, at 30 years old, he has lost a step in the field and his average has suffered in the past few years. Here are Drew’s stats over the course of his career.

YEAR GP HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
2006 59 5 23 0.316 0.357 0.517
2007 150 12 60 0.238 0.313 0.370
2008 152 21 67 0.291 0.333 0.502
2009 135 12 65 0.261 0.320 0.428
2010 151 15 61 0.278 0.352 0.458
2011 86 5 45 0.252 0.317 0.396
2012 79 7 28 0.223 0.309 0.348
2013 124 13 67 0.253 0.333 0.443

Over the past three seasons, Drew has struggled to hit above .250 and has barely reached base above 30% of the time. Similar to a traditional shortstop, he lacks an resemblance of a power hitter and has instead made his career as a solid defensive shortstop, which seemed to attract his value to the Red Sox this past season. Coming off a $9.5 million contract, he is certainly coming out of his prime. It would appear that he will no longer be on the Red Sox and it will be interesting to see where he will end up and how his season will turn out in 2014.

One of the other options for the Mets is either Brad Miller or Nick Franklin, each having unique strengths at SS. While each player has not played a full season yet, there is enough data to draw some conclusions in comparison of these two up and coming shortstops for the Mariners. Franklin has a slight edge in HRs per game while Miller has better numbers with RBIs on a per game basis. Additionally, Miller has a higher average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. That being said, the trade winds would suggest that Miller is being taken off the market as the Mariners signed Robinson Cano in the offseason. Based on the limited data at hand, it would appear that Miller has the slight edge but Franklin is still a solid choice for a young shortstop to potentially build a franchise around.

YEAR GP HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Nick Franklin 2013 102 12 45 0.225 0.303 0.382
Brad Miller 2013 76 8 36 0.265 0.318 0.418

Regardless of the decision that the Mets carry out in regards to their hole at shortstop, it is evident that they have to start doing something different. After 5 straight seasons with a losing record, the Mets have been scrambling to find success in the recent past. With countless offseason acquisitions with both the players and coaching staff, a playoff berth has appeared to be more of an enigma than reality for the Mets. Without a doubt, 3 playoff appearances in the past 25 years is absolutely abysmal for an MLB franchise. Many teams have won more World Series championships in much less time (Go Red Sox). Despite the recent failures, the Mets appear to be on the rise with a young pitching staff and many position players coming into their prime. Regardless of their decision regarding shortstops, the Mets will be looking to become serious title contenders for many seasons to come.

~MTE

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