After a solid 2012 season Kyle Seager of the Mariners was a solid target on draft day, even if he didn’t have the cache of some of the bigger names in the game. After another strong effort in 2013 maybe people will look at him differently in 2014.
Coming into the 2013 season Seager was a solid bat that had one huge edge – he qualified at multiple spots in some leagues (second and third base). He won’t have that luxury in 2014 as he played all 160 of his games as a third sacker in 2013. That’s OK though. It’s his bat that plays, not his glove, so let’s look at how he swings the lumber (if you want to look back at my review on him prior to last season, here you go).
Seager hit .258 in 182 at-bats in 2011.
Seager hit .259 in 594 at-bats in 2012.
Seager hit .260 in 615 at-bats in 2013.
So that means he’ll hit .261 in 2014, right?
Could he improve on that batting average? It’s possible but the data shows a pretty stable guy who just isn’t going to be a batting average booster. Let’s take a look at the component parts.
In three seasons his K-rate has been between 16.9 and 17.9 percent. He has walked a bit more each season, and that has moved his BB/K rate from below league average to slightly above it (0.36, 0.42 and 0.56). While I like to see that minor growth, those numbers don’t scream out .290 batting average.
Seager has had a BABIP of .290 in his career with a lot of stability in three years: .303, .286, .290.
Remove his 182 at-bat season in 2011 and his line drive rate the past two years has been 21.9 and 20.8 percent. Stable, but not great.
His GB/FB ratio the past three years has, yet again, been remarkably stable. Check out the numbers: 0.73, 0.85 and 0.76.
Let’s look at his HR/F ratio. After a low 4.8 percent mark in 2011, and I’m somewhat writing that off as it being the result of a small sample size (182 at-bats), his mark the last two seasons have been, you guessed it, nearly identical. In 2012 his mark was 9.8 percent. In 2013 the mark was 9.9 percent.
Let’s look at his OBP from each of his three seasons: .312, .316 and .338. The slight improvement is do with his somewhat more patient approach at the dish, and it’s a good sign of his growth as a hitter. At the same time he’s still barely better than a league average performer in his ability to get on base.
Let’s look at his SLG from each of his three seasons: .379, .423 and .426. Take a close look at that number the past two seasons. It’s pretty impossible to post back-to-back numbers that are only three points apart.
Add that all up and what do we have? We got us one stable performer. Pretty much any way you look at Seager we’re talking about a guy who is what he is. Let’s blend his effort the last two seasons. If we do, this is what we would be looking at:
Nothing in that line is elite, but it’s all solid work, except for that batting average which isn’t going to help anyone. Think of it this way though. Do you know how many third basemen hit 21 homers with 78 RBIs, 71 runs scored and 11 steals in 2013, the average of Seager’s work the past two years? The answer is zero. Not a single third baseman reached all four of those marks (Seager was close with 69 RBIs and nine steals). Remember when I said solid but not fantastic?
Seager should be the same performer he’s been the past two seasons in 2014. He’s not going to win the MVP. He’s not going to hit 30 homers. He’s not going to drive in 100 runs. But what he is going to do is to play every day, help you out in the counting categories, and be a performer you can lean on week after week. There’s a lot to like with that.
By Ray Flowers