One step away from The Show

For those of you who haven't kept up with Brad Miller since he was picked by the Mariners in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, he's still doing it.

Hitting baseballs…lots of them.

The dude continues to rake at the plate, and he's done it at every stop in minor league ball as a shortstop in the Seattle organization.

In 14 games with Clinton Lumberjacks of the Midwest League [A] in 2011, Miller hit .415 with seven RBI.

Miller split the 2012 season between High-A ball with the High Desert Mavericks [97 games] in the hitter-friendly California League and AA ball in the Southern League with the Jackson Generals [40 games].

For High Desert, he batted .339 with 11 homers and 56 RBI in 410 plate appearances. He also stole 19 bases. At Jackson, he hit .320, belted four homers, drove in 12 runs and stole four bags.

Miller started the 2013 season back in Jackson. In 42 games, he hit .294 with six homers, 25 RBI and four stolen bases.

In late May, Miller was promoted to the Mariners' affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers. One-step away from the big team, he's on one of the hottest tears of his young professional career.

Now hitting a robust .348 with five homers and 27 RBI in 92 at-bats for the Rainiers, Miller extended his current hitting streak to 19 games on Sunday with a two-run, first inning homer.

After the game, Rainiers' manager John Stearns told The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. that Miller has been "phenomenal" during his 23 games in AAA.

"He's hitting the ball so well, and he's taking good swings at the ball. He's not chasing the ball out of the zone. He is consistently making good contact with the ball," Stearns said.

Miller's first taste of big league ball could be right around the corner, but his promotion to the show may not come until AAA season is finished. But, if he keeps hitting, it could be sooner, rather than later.

With current Mariners' shortstop Brendan Ryan up for free agency after this season, Miller is primed to contend for the starting job as early as 2014.

Already with the big-team are Nick Franklin, who's on the depth chart as the starting second baseman and Carlos Triunfel, the No. 2 shortstop after Ryan.

Franklin, who's listed by as the Mariners' fourth-best prospect, can also play shortstop. Miller, who is No. 6 on the list, still has a question-mark on his scouting report -- the glove.

Miller's fielding could keep him from winning the everyday shortstop job with Seattle, but there's always a trump card -- the bat.

If Miller keeps hitting, it'll be tough to keep him from playing everyday in the big leagues. Whether it's second, short or somewhere else, Miller's bad could make him a prized commodity in Major League Baseball.

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