I’ll be honest, the first time I saw this idea floated out there (Yesterday by Ryan Divish) I thought the idea was absolutely crazy. I mean, this is a player who was just promoted to Tacoma from AA Jackson. Kyle Seager‘s played all of 10 games at the AAA level. Sure, he’s hitting .480 (24 of 50) but it’s only 10 games. He should at least have to show it’s not a fluke over a couple months before getting a chance in the bigs, right?
Well, Divish isn’t the only writer thinking that Seager might be on his way up soon. Larry Stone chimed in today with the same idea. It would seem that something is up. This would seem to be one of those “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” kind of situations. These are two guys who are very plugged in to the organization. Both are very good at what they do, though that doesn’t mean the idea still isn’t crazy.
Update: Larry Stone said the idea of calling up Seager didn’t come from anyone inside the Mariners organization. I’m not sure that matters much, but I thought I’d pass that piece of information along in case any of you were curious.
Now I find myself slowly moving over to the side that thinks it could happen. Why the change of heart? Well it wasn’t the one additional game that Seager played since Divish first posted the idea. The truth is that there is some serious merit to the idea:
- Seager can play 3B, and the Mariners are in serious need of someone who can play third. Adam Kennedy clearly needs to play less often as his stats go down the more he plays, and I think we can all agree that the less we Chone Figgins right now, the better.
- Seager can play SS, though he’s not going replace Brendan Ryan, but that versatility could be a great asset. Seager would give the M’s a left handed hitting option at short, allowing Ryan to get an occasional day off against a tough right handed pitcher. This is also true for Dustin Ackley at 2nd, though both are left handed, so it would simply be for scheduled days off for Ackley, and not for any strategic benefit.
- Giving Ryan and Ackley the occasional days off would normally be the job of Jack Wilson. Wilson is expensive for a backup infielder. If Seager can come up and establish that he can play at this level, it becomes a lot easier to move Wilson and still contend. Moving Wilson at the trade deadline would save the Mariners around $2 million; payroll budget that could help the team to bring in a much needed bat.
- I’ve also been told that Seager is the “must have” prospect that everyone is going to be asking for if the Mariners try and pick up a bat at the deadline. Prospects that are a year away are usually worth less in such deals than prospects that might be able to succeed right away. If the M’s bring up Seager and doesn’t fall flat on his face, it will only increase his value should they decide to move him.
The Mariners have also shown that they’re willing to be patient with raw talent as they learn the game at the major league level. I’m referring, of course, Carlos Peguero who played in just 25 AAA games, and still has a lot of improving left to do before he’s truly ready to succeed in the majors.
Seager, though, isn’t Peguero. He doesn’t have Peguero’s power. He also doesn’t have Peguero’s lack of plate discipline and knack for striking out. Seager’s .377 wOBA in AA was almost 20 points better than Peguero’s. So there is reason to think that perhaps Seager can succeed where Peguero has not.
There’s one other thing that make’s me think that Seager can perhaps beat the odd and succeed after such a quick jump from AA to the majors, and thought would be something mentioned in all the scouting reports I’ve seen about him speak highly of his “professional at bats” and his “advanced knowledge of the strikezone.” It’s the same type of language that followed Dustin Ackley up through the minors, and he showed us just how quick a transition you can make to being a good major league hitter when you have though skills.
I’m not completely sold that promoting Seager is good idea at this point. If I were running things (and it’s good that I’m not, as the M’s would likely lose 120 games per year) I’d leave Seager down in Tacoma until rosters expand in September. If he’s still impressing then, bring him up to get his feet wet with the idea that he can compete for a 2012 roster spot next spring. That’s what I’d do at least.
But suddenly, the idea of calling up Seager just doesn’t sound as crazy as did a few hours ago.