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Player Profile #73: Kyle Seager | 3B | SEA

Heading into 2013, following a successful rookie year, Kyle Seager taught the fantasy community an important lesson: Players do not have to be on a top prospect list to be worthy of your attention.

There are a number of sites out there that will compile prospect lists. I am in no way suggesting these lists aren’t great resources because they are very useful and quite fun to read. However, they can also be wrong and fool you into believing a player is only as good as he has been written to be. This is what happened with Seager.

There were several lists I could have chosen to make my point, but based on some of the more popular sources his praise entering 2011 (the year he was called up to the majors) ranged from the #9 prospect in the Mariners system by Baseball America  to outside Keith Law’s Mariners organization top 10 and neither placed him within the minor league top 100 overall (keep in mind these lists are not written from a fantasy perspective, and they consider defense).

These people are very good at what they do, and I don’t claim to be a prospect expert. However, when a player cruises to a career minor league .328 BA with 22 HR, 28 SB, and a .401 OBP over 269 games spanning three minor league seasons, while also showing success at every level from Rookie ball to AAA — I’d think he would generate a few more supporters. Maybe I’m in the minority, but that 13 HR/17 SB 162-game pace is pretty good for a player under development.

After the 2013 season, Seager taught the fantasy community a second lesson: Not all unheralded or “surprise” players are one-hit wonders. In other words, do your homework before making a conclusion about a player.

Despite a solid rookie year in which he hit 20 HR and stole 13 bases, the fantasy experts weren’t sold. An impressive minor league offensive track record did nothing to rid him of assumptions that he would regress. Well, that didn’t happen.

Seager backed up his valuable 2012 season with a very comparable 2013 that included 22 HR and 9 SB, with a similar batting average and ISO. It’s true that he may not carry massive upside, but he has at least established a respectable floor and should be regarded as at the very least a trustworthy fantasy third basemen.

By reviewing how his counting stats rack up against his positional peers I think you will agree.

Statistic 2012 3B Rank 2013 3B Rank
R 62 15th 79 7th
HR 20 10th 22 7th
RBI 86 8th 69 12th
SB 13 4th 9 2nd
BA .259 19th .260 17th

Seager has been remarkably consistent across the board.(players with at least 350 PA)

At A Glance

  • Strengths: None
  • Neutral: R, HR, SB, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, BB, K, 2B, 3B
  • Weaknesses: RBI

Players With Similar Fantasy Value

2014 Fantasy Baseball Projection

2014 Projection: 688 PA, 89 R, 22 HR, 70 RBI, 11 SB, .276 BA

Overall Rank: 73 | 3B Rank: 8

When you couple the improved lineup with a possible increase in OBP it’s likely Seager will approach the highest run total, if not overall production, of his career.

Any time you can pencil in safe production on draft day it’s a plus, so the consistency from year to year is more than welcomed, but there are a few reasons to believe Seager will take another incremental step forward in 2014.

First, Seager is already working off of a fairly impressive baseline on several of the most critical peripheral statistics I look for in a hitter. Here is what he brings to the table:

  • Above average OBP (.338 in 2013)
  • Average LD rate (20.8%)
  • Below average GB rate (34.3%)
  • Well above average FB rate (45.0%)
  • Solid approach at the plate with high BB% (9.8) and decent K% (17.6)
  • Very attractive wife (yuuuup)

Seager has also displayed improvements to his approach, another good sign because it presents a bit of upside. Specifically, his walk rate rose by almost 3 percentage points. Another step forward in the patience department may translate into a bump in his numbers as increased selectivity may increase his line drive propensity. Not a given, but just a thought.

Second, is the improved Mariners lineup and where Seager hits in it. For the majority of 2013, Seager hit out of the 3rd spot in the order, only it was as part of an offense that did little to aid his fantasy value. However, in 2014 he is projected to hit 2nd in the order, and for the first time in quite some time the M’s lineup looks pretty good (see additions of Robinson Cano, Corey Hart, and Logan Morrison).

Some people also might argue that hitting in front of Cano will lead to an increase in fastballs pitched to Seager, and — while I’m not sure I buy that argument — he slugged a .227 ISO vs. fastballs in 2013 vs. his overall .166 ISO.

When you couple the improved lineup with a possible increase in OBP it’s likely Seager will approach the highest run total, if not overall production, of his career.

2015 and Beyond

The most important factor to any analysis regarding Seager’s future is where he will call home.

  • On the road, he has been a super-star: .289 BA, .202 ISO, and a 12.5 HR/FB and 32 HR in 184 games
  • At home, he has been very underwhelming: .228 BA, .112 ISO, 5.6 HR/FB and 13 HR in 184 games

Unfortunately for Seager, he won’t be a free agent until 2018 so there won’t be any getting out of town unless he is traded. As you can see this is bad news because it means several more seasons in a Seattle, playing in a home park that has severely depressed his power.

With a change in scenery, Seager may actually be a borderline stud. However, it seems much more probable that we will have to settle for just one of the steadier, yet unspectacular, options in the game.


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  • a3310k

    surprised to see he ranked 1st in 2013 SB – ahead of Wright.

    • Adam Nodiff

      That is a great point. When I searched 3B it appears only those who qualified for the batting title were included. Wright did have more steals (17) and a better BA than Seager, but had less R, HR, and RBI. Thanks for catching that. I will have to get it updated.

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