Sizzlers: Kyle Seager


Q.  Does Seager get credit for going over the CF wall like that?

A.  He does, yes.

Let me know the next time Chone Figgins, or Ichiro, hit a home run to center field.  Seager's HR comes in the broader context of Dr. Elliot's strength training program, and in the context of the fact that Kyle Seager has a certain amount of projectable power.

BaseballHQ goes with the crowd, stating that Seager "has no projectable power," overlooking their own stats saying that Seager's PX is around 100.  Kyle Seager has been labeled, and badly.  He looks kind of lame when he's standing next to his famous college teammate.  Seager is underrated, period.


Q.  It's been a long winter.  What is the quick-summary of Kyle Seager?

A.  This POTD from last year holds up better than average; there isn't anything we'd edit after-the-fact.

Seager has a chance -- a good chance, nowadays -- to be Chris Snelling offensively and Willie Bloomquist defensively.  That's a whale of a player, maybe even a Tony Phillips-type minor star in the major leagues.

Seager has a remarkable ability to "Keep The Bat In The Zone A Long Time."  He doesn't get phased by two strikes, and doesn't get phased by better players.  He hits IMMEDIATELY on promotion to each new level, has a real quickness and agility at the plate.

Chris Snelling had gifts that Seager doesn't ... Yoda had this absolutely crackling level of concentration and desire.  At the age of 20, he stepped into the batter's box against major leaguers and radiated the desire to KILL the pitchers by hitting the ball through their loin regions.  Yoda had a gift for keeping the hands back, waiting on an offspeed pitch, and then hitting it hard.

There will never be another Chris Snelling, exactly, but.  Kyle Seager looks more like Snelling than anybody you'll see.


Q.  Why has Seager been so underrated?

A.  Hold on, now.  Seager was a high draft pick.

He had one full year in the minors -- 2010 -- and pesky rodent 'net rats dismissed 2010 utterly because it occurred in High Desert.  (Putting High Desert in context is one thing.  Dismissing it is lazy and wrong.)

The very next year -- the first "counting" year in the minds of 'net rats -- Seager was in the major leagues!  And playing very well.

Seager got to the big leagues so fast, you could compare it to his being younger.  It's kind of like a 22-year-old high school draftee was in the majors and competing well.  That is actually a Hall of Fame marker, for somebody to learn that fast (age 22-23) and do that well.

We know that Seager's not going to the Hall of Fame, but the point is, we have waaaayyyyyyyy undersold his actual performance.  As Bill James said, "Major League organizations pay far too much attention to what their scouts tell them, and far too little attention to the way their players actually perform."  You and I have done the same thing with Kyle Seager.  He looks kinda dweeby, and we figure he'll play kinda dweeby.

His play has been that of a man headed towards a $40M contract some day.


Q.  Does he need to go to AAA and see as many pitches as possible?

A.  What, did he fail in Safeco last year?


Q.  Does he have upside beyond a 100 OPS+?  What do you do with his lack of power?  How good can you be with single-digit HR's, and single-digit SB's if you're not a shortstop?

A.  Seager has demonstrated gap power, the ability to slam 35 or more doubles around the park.  It's not like he's playing Chone Figgins badminton up there.  He pulls the knob in, goes for the inside half of the ball, but he lets the bat fly.

Think Derek Jeter's offensive game.   .300 with a .360 OBP and respectable .425+ slugging percentage - 12 homers, 38 doubles, and a .300 hitter is doing some serious damage.  (Jeter is another extreme KBIZLT hitter.)

No, they're not going to put museum-style golden ropes around the infield for Seager the way they have for Jeter.  But if you are truly a .300 hitter, with doubles, you're going to make a few bucks in the majors.

By the way, Derek Jeter (a high school draftee) needed 4 years and 2000+ PA's in the minors; Seager needed only 1000 PA's (plus college PA's, of course).  Both used their KBIZLT swings to adapt quickly to the ML game.  You start to see the upside.  If the upside is there, you'll see good signs of it in 2012, as Jeter's inside-out game showed its specialness right away.

We're talking about UPSIDE here, LrKrBoi29.  Whether it exists, and if so, what the nature of the upside is.


Seager's career arc is still up, steeply.  He couldn't be anywhere near his peak yet.  But the man is underrated, he's going to get his chance, and I'm blinkin' likin' it.



Everyone noticed last year when Seager started to post up good at bats in Chone Figgins' absence.  We noticed when he played a passable 3b and ss, we noticed when he hit all those doubles.  We noticed that he skipped the minor leagues.
Sure as shooting, we've noticed that Seager is killing it again this year.  Three singles, a home run, and two RBIs in eight at bats!  His whopping 1.375 OPS puts him in pole position ahead of Liddi .778, Catricala .400 and Chone Figgins .300.  Now I know, small sample size, and so on, but this thing is a no-brainer.  Figgins can't hit the ball, Liddi has average issues, Catricala has glove issues, and Seager has no issues.
Now, in theory, maybe we'd prefer Catricala or Liddi as bat first 3b instead of Seager, who is an all around good player, but in a head to head contest, who is outhitting whom?  
I'd love to see Catricala or Liddi storm the league and take 3b by force, and move Seager to SS.  But in the meantime, Seager is  the best man in the org at 3b.  Have the Mariners noticed?  They promoted this guy to the bigs last year when everyone was going "Kyle who"?  They have started grooming Figgins, the highly paid veteran, for utility play in SS and CF.  Wedge wants to win, and Seager puts up the definition of quality at bats that Wedge craves.
It says here that Seager starts the year at third base, and Figgins is kept on as a utility substitute player.
Do Liddi or Catricala make the team?  Uncertain the future is.


The key here is that Z/Wedgey have stroked Figgins' brain all they can, but they haven't simply given him 3B.  Oh...they hinted at it, but they hinted at his utility role, too...and I think they've hinted at his limited role, as well. They've left 3B open, really....Thank goodness.
Seager can play. He can hit.  He picks it pretty well.  He's not a AAA guy.  I like the "Willie with a bat" description. 35 doubles= something very nice.
So he's not bound for Tacoma.  He is bound for Japan, with the first road trip.
I'm with Moj, the big question is whether Cat or Liddi mash themselves onto the team.
If so, then Figgins becomes a huge question mark, again, as does one of the two SS's.
In the end, Figgy is in the way.  But we've all said that before.
And I still think Seager could be passable playing SS.


As I said here:
Here are spray charts.  Ellsbury:

Here's Seager:

Ellsbury's faster and will get more infield hits (Kyle only had one apparently), but the gap power, RF power and strike zone judgment are comparable.
Ellsbury was 7.8 RC/27 per b-ref in 2011.  Doubtful he'll keep that up, nor will Seager have the INF hits and steals, but a smallish guy who controls the strike zone can be an impact player, for sure.
Here's a theory to bounce around:  Pedroia's and Ellsbury's power spike didn't come till around 26; might Dr. Elliot's approach accelerate the time frame?

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