Minor league shortstop prospects Noah Miller (Twins) and Nasim Nuñez (Marlins) are as good at conversing about defense as they are at playing it. And they are both very good defensive players.
The two of them were guests on the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast this week. Miller is the runaway minor league leader in Defensive Runs Saved by a shortstop with 16.
— Twins Player Development (@TwinsPlayerDev) June 14, 2023
The 16 Runs Saved are impressive both because he’s still in High-A with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and because he’s being judged by major league standards. In other words, a ball that’s a 60% out probability for Brandon Crawford (one of Miller’s favorites to watch) is a 60% out probability for Miller.
Miller seems to have very good self-awareness for someone his age.
“I’ve just always been very comfortable going to my left,” Miller said, which matches what our metrics show about his skills. “Keeping my eyes behind my glove. That’s the big thing for me. Being able to read the hop is easier going to your left than to your right.”
He also knows what he wants to do to improve his game.
“The biggest things are probably just increasing arm strength and increasing foot speed to increase my range and the angles that you can take,” Miller said.
Said Twins minor league infield and catching coordinator Tucker Frawley: “I said this to Noah when I saw him last week. He’s the bar to which I hold our other infielders. He seems to be consistently raising the bar. He’s been nothing short of amazing for us.”
Amazing is a good way to describe what Nuñez does in the field too, though in a little bit of a different way. Our VP of Baseball, former major leaguer Bobby Scales, described him as an “artisan” in the field. Judge for yourself.
QB1.. lol https://t.co/SuyLlPZSvY
— Nasim Nunez (@Diamonds_Nas23) September 10, 2023
It’s Nasim Nuñez’s world, we’re just living in it pic.twitter.com/MmmBnMFNfF
— Pensacola Blue Wahoos (@BlueWahoosBBall) June 30, 2023
Nuñez ranks tied for 3rd among minor league shortstops with 7 Runs Saved. He talked about both situational awareness and self-awareness and knows what he needs working on too.
“Slowing down the game,” Nuñez said. “Understanding my body, understanding how athletic I am, and some plays, I don’t have to be 110% or 100%. Some plays I can understand the runners (on base and at the plate), understand my arms, understand the direction of the ball, and go according to that.”
Both Miller and Nuñez have other aspects of their game to work on. Miller is hitting .223. Nuñez is at .225 but also has 47 stolen bases, which should increase his value to the Marlins.
“Their gloves are going to give them opportunity in big leagues,” Scales said. “What’s going to be the separator for both of them is: Are they going to be able to hit enough to stay? They’re going to play in the big leagues because they can defend and run prevention is a massive piece of what run offices use now to construct their roster.”
Check out what they all had to say on the current episode of the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast.
Most Defensive Runs Saved – Minor League Shortstops
|Name||Team (Level)||Defensive Runs Saved|
|Noah Miller||Twins (High-A)||16|
|Christian Koss||Red Sox (Triple-A)||8|
|Nasim Nuñez||Marlins (Double-A)||7|
|Gregory Barrios||Brewers (Single-A)||7|
|Ambioris Tavarez||Braves (Single-A)||6|