DoTD Kyle Seager at SS - Dr's Prognosis

 Q.  Would SSI endorse Seager at SS, along with Ackley at 2B?

A.  Yeah, now you are talking about both middle infielders as bat-first players.  How many teams do that?

You could look it up; I'm sure the Yankees had some bat-first second basemen beside Jeter and the Red Sox have probably had some bats at 2B...

Seager and Ackley are not gifted MI's, but they are super-reliable, super-intelligent players.  As Bill James said, "In any sport, there is no overstating the importance of having intelligent players in the middle of the field."

PROVIDED that the Mariners had a high-K, high-FB pitching staff, I'd personally be fine with Seager SS and Ackley 2B.  I wouldn't want that behind Moyer and Vargas.

And if they intended to transition Seager to SS, it would be a big thumb on the scale towards shedding Jason Vargas.


Q.  Bottom Line?

A.  I like Kyle Seager better as a shortstop better than I like him anywhere else.

The extreme UP scenario?  Seager goes to winter ball, takes infield like a madman, and becomes an average-mediocre defensive shortstop.

He hits like Chris Snelling, .300 with lots of doubles and walks, and becomes an LH poor man's Derek Jeter.  ... or, Stephen Drew is a -10 runs D shortstop, who bats LH with gap power.  Move -10 of Drew's HR's to +20 in the BB column, and maybe that's Seager's UP target.


Back to earth in the MID scenario, if Seager is really the backup MI next year, and hits a lefty .280 with lots of BB's in Safeco, that's a championship-level 10th man, the M's best 10th man since Mark McLemore.


In the LO scenario, I dunno... it is established that Kyle Seager is a hitter.  I don't see the career path in which he leaves the major leagues.  You'd have to specifiy me how he does worse than the MID scenario above.

Right now, I'd like to be Seager's agent.


Seager's ceiling isn't set yet.  This young man flat enjoys playin' hardball.  Yuniesky Betancourt seems a long time ago, don' he?



Dr D




IMO, anyway.  This is Jack doing with Seager what I want done with him - make him a 10th man who can float all over the infield.  He'll get 300 ABs, is a lethal-ish bench bat, and is a gamer who can actually HIT, unlike Bloomie.
Nick Franklin is trying to be that SS who can club and do well enough in the field to succeed.  He's Stephen Drew.
Brad Miller would love that shot too, but he's got a coupla years in the minors coming up to show who he is and what he can do.  He's still my odds-on favorite for 3B in 2014.  I'm not convinced on Liddi, I think Seager should be a great benchie who can start at 2B for several teams (just not ours) and I still can't buy in on F-Mart.
But while we're waiting on Franklin and shuffling through Liddi and co at 3rd, Brendan Ryan has a bulging disk, a running injury concern and is a guy who is harder on himself than anyone else could be.  When that kind of guy comes down with a debilitating injury, bad things tend to happen.  I can absolutely see him Cirillo-ing himself into a downward spiral.
Gotta have a guy who can play short in the meantime.  I think Franklin is in AAA next year, since he simply hasn't had the ABs to shore up his issues as a switch-hitter or seen enough big-league quality breaking balls yet.  I expect him to take the year to round into shape; hopefully it's an awesome shape, but he's really raw still.
Seager is a bridge.  If he proves to be more, great - I'd love that. But I don't think he's better than Franklin, I know he's not better than Ackley, and he's gonna be squeezed in our infield.  Ackley's 8th in baseball in BA and OPS among 2nd basemen (350 PAs and up), btw.  Funny that that's basically his floor...
As for Kyle, I'm glad he can put in the work to not be embarrassing at SS - that makes him REALLY valuable to us. I feel kinda bad for him, because for the Cards or somebody he's a starting 2B.
But unless we trade him - and this little SS audition is proving his value to other teams too y'know - I don't think he's a starting anything for us.
A 95 OPS+ benchie is a good thing.  I hope we get a SS and a 3B who can force him to the bench - it means very good things for our offense, IMO.
We're gonna try that route, at least - if he can hold a starting position anyway, more power to him...and us.


If Seager comes out of nowhere to play a competent defensive SS, then the "bridge to Little Nicky" role leaves the Mariners smellin' like a rose...
I'm plenty thrilled enough if he can simply make the 2012 M's without their needing a dedicated, no-hit, Josh Wilson-type SS glove alongside him on the roster ... it's one thing to back up at 1B and 3B, like Kennedy does, a completely different thing to hold down the UT job.  
Who knew?  That Seager could even come to camp and compete for the MI job?
If he DOES achieve the fairy tale, a Snelling lefty bat and average defense at SS, you're talking about a 4-, 5-WAR player.  
Ben Zobrist is a recent example of a player who came out of nowhere to star in the middle infield.  As you imply, there is no basis for *planning* on the fairy tale.
But agreed:  if Seager can so much as free up the backup-SS roster slot, that's huge for the 2012 M's.  It would be an asset that we'd never dreamed of.

Lonnie of MC's picture

...unlike G, I believe that Franklin will start 2012 back at Jackson with maybe a midseason promotion to AAA Tacoma.  The main reason that I say this is because although his AA stats are small, they still indicate that he is stuggling when he bats right-handed against lefites.  The split is Grand Canyonesque (.226/.273/.419/.692 batting right hand, and .385/.429/.519/.948 as a lefty)  2011 was supposed to be the year where Franklin fixes his issues when he goes righty, but all of the injuries and crap that hit him did not allow him to make any sort of meaningful attempt.  With a split that wide it is going to take at least a full year, and maybe more to either get his RH swing down, or bag the switch-hitting all together.
This is a non-trivial issue right now with Franklin, and I seriously don't see him even getting a cup of coffee until 2013.
I know that you aren't high on Brad Miller, G, but he has a big thing going for him.  Zduriencik didn't pick him in the second round for nothing.  Right now, I put a heck of a lot of faith into what Z is doing.  


1991 - Atlanta:
Jeff Blauser - 111 OPS+ -1.9 dWAR
Raffy Belliard - 61 OPS+ +0.1 dWAR
Blauser got 415 ABs (129 games) and Belliard 385 in 149.  (Blauser spead his lead glove around between 2B, 3B and SS).
That 1st Braves' championship team had one 7-K starter (Glavine), and 3 guys under 6-K, including Charlie Leibrandt with a 5-K 2.2-BB Vargas-lite impression.
 One *CAN* balance a glove-first and bat-first SS tandem (if one happens to be a HoF genius manager). 
But, what was to come from the 25-year old Blauser and 29 year old Belliard?  Belliard would stick around with Atlanta for 7 more years, (age 36), (but after 144 games and 315 ABs in 1992, would never break 200 ABs in a season again).  Blauser would be with Atlanta through 1997 (age 31). 
 Atlanta would dump the 31-year-old Lemke (2B) and Blauser (SS) after the '97 season for a series of stop-gap FAs until 2000 when Furcal took over at short.  Marcus Giles arrived in 2001 to plug 2B for a few more years.
The lesson here (for me) is that a good organization has to not only develop talent from within, they must pre proactive in swapping out their 'modest successes' BEFORE they start losing value. 
If Seager comes up and produces a 100 OPS+ at third, he's serviceable.  If he does that at short with a decent glove, he's suddenly got a LOT of trade value.  If/when Franklin arrives, you move Seager for whatever you need at the moment.

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