A bit late, but another "Question Time." Back on April 23, Jon W. asked for comparison of Kyle Seager and Brad Miller: "are they as similar as they seem?"
And the answer is: yes, you have zeroed right on it. In fact, their minor-league numbers are so similar it's like they planned it that way.
So let's take a look!
Both guys were drafted out of the ACC where both had solid careers. Seager signed more quickly after the draft, and so had more playing time in his post-college, age-21 season. On the surface, Miller's 14-game cameo looks more impressive than Seager's 44-game introduction.
When you go to our "Spectometer" stats, however, it is Seager who looks better.
[As always, the more colored boxes, the better, and you want the "Three Numbers" at the end to be over 100.]
It turns out that most of Miller's OPS was generated by singles, which our analysis treats as a more-or-less "neutral" event. Seager gets credit for his very-high walk rate, and very low strikeout rate, giving him a strong "Plate Skills Index." Miller doesn't get that, but, with just 59 PAs, you can't really conclude anything from his age-21 season.
When we move to their age-22 seasons, things start to look kind of eerie.
Freakishly, they had the exact same number of plate appearances, the exact same number of at-bats, the exact same number of doubles (40!), and their OPS was within one point of each other.
The main difference was that Miller got promoted and played 40 games at Jackson, while Seager was in High Desert for the entire year. Miller had a few more triples and struck out just a bit more. But, my goodness, you really couldn't find two more similar hitting lines if you tried to orchestrate it.
So let's go to the "Spectometer" stats.
This time, the additional analysis yields the same conclusion. Miller's extra triples gave him a bit of an ISO advantage, which shows up in the "Production Index," but, outside of that, Miller's 2012 rates as more-or-less an exact copy of Seager's 2010.
Both produced a bunch of extra-base hits and walks (which is what we look for), both had an ISO higher than their K% (what I call "Vlad-itude"), and both showed a strong likelihood of generating a high OBP in light of their Plate Skills: either drawing walks or hitting the ball hard and avoiding strikeouts.
Moving on, then, to age-23 seasons, which, for Seager, was the year he got called up, and, for Miller, is this year.
And the "Spectometer" table:
What we saw from Seager in that year was a continuation of his success as a guy capable of hitting the ball with authority without striking out a lot, and that was writing his ticket to the majors.
For Miller, there is a bit of change. His HR% is up (thus also bumping up his ISO), but his K% has gone up with it. It's too soon to tell if that is a change in approach or just noise. Either way, Miller's numbers are still showing as someone capable of holding his own at the plate in the majors, even if not a middle infielder (which, of course, he is).
All of which doesn't mean that Miller would step in and have Seager's immediate success. Dustin Ackley had even better numbers at higher levels (but let's hope he's finally figuring it out: 13 hits in his last 10 games).
But clearly Miller has similar kinds of indicators of MLB success, particularly for a shortstop.