Kyle Seager, At Least Give Him A Chance

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The fun part of writing in a blog with other people is the varying view points. The different ideas and even theory subscribed too can be different.

A couple of days ago, Adam wrote a post about Kyle Seager not being the third basemen of the future. I think this is a sentiment that is echoed among a few different fan groups. He’s short in stature and his strength, while it may come, currently leaves something to be desired. At the same time you can just watch him and just see a pure hitter, someone who understands the game, between the hitter and the pitcher. He understands the strike zone and he drives the ball over the field.

I love the human brain. It’s captivates me. How some people can see something and interpret it in two different ways and still remain completely within context of the information. This is the case, I believe, with Kyle Seager. I look at the drafts performed by Jack Zduriencik (and I am constantly reassessing my opinion of them) over his tenure and I see the thought process behind them, or maybe I just think I do.

Personally, I’ve never cared for branding something as “X of the future” whether that be “closer of the future” or “third basemen of the future”. I don’t think the front office or coaching staff uses that terminology at all either. They have expressed the desire for competition and that’s exactly what I want too. I want to see two guys work hard and desire something and earn it, rather than it just handed over to them. I don’t care if Seager ends being the starting third basemen next year. If he continues to hit I say give it to him. If there is someone else that can field and hit better than him -regardless of the name- I say give him the job.

I just don’t like seeing people pulling out the cookie cutter builds for a position and if players don’t fit into them casting them aside. I subscribe to the theory that just about any player can be a useful player, you just have to understand how to incorporate them into organization. Though, I do acknowledge that there is a specific player type that all GMs pursue. We can see that with Arizona this past off-season and how they parted ways with Kelly Johnson, Mark Reynolds, Adam LaRoache, Brandon Allen, ect. While all of those players have value they didn’t fit into their player mold. Kevin Towers has come out and talked about his disdain for having multiple the guys in the line-up that consistently strike out and that he prefers having contact hitters.

I’m not saying one way or another what is the best way to build a roster. I have my opinion and I’m sure many of you have yours.

What I will say is that to cast someone like Seager aside because he doesn’t fit into the prototypical third base build is wrong.

See some stats after the jump…

NameTeamBABIPGB/FB LD%GB%FB%IFFB%HR/FB
Greg DobbsMarlins0.3371.3327.20%41.60%31.20%14.00%7.50%
Kyle SeagerMariners0.3270.7927.20%32.00%40.80%9.50%4.80%
Placido PolancoPhillies0.2911.2525.70%41.30%33.10%5.60%3.20%
Michael YoungRangers0.3641.8225.00%48.40%26.60%0.80%8.30%
David FreeseCardinals0.3502.2324.30%52.20%23.50%3.80%17.00%
Aramis RamirezCubs0.3100.7723.90%33.00%43.00%13.10%12.10%
Justin TurnerMets0.3001.6923.40%48.10%28.50%6.00%4.00%
Ryan RobertsDiamondbacks0.2770.8223.30%34.60%42.20%7.60%12.40%
Maicer IzturisAngels0.3140.9623.10%37.60%39.30%8.70%3.60%
Omar VizquelWhite Sox0.2701.0223.10%38.80%38.10%10.70%0.00%
 NameTeamBB%K%BB/KISOBABIPwRAAwOBAwRC+
1Matt DownsAstros8.00%21.40%0.380.230.3258.90.376140
2Aramis RamirezCubs6.80%11.80%0.570.20.31260.373131
3Kevin YoukilisRed Sox13.20%18.80%0.710.210.29621.60.370130
4Michael YoungRangers6.80%12.10%0.560.150.36426.40.369131
5Alex RodriguezYankees10.50%19.00%0.550.190.32216.40.369131
6David WrightMets12.70%20.30%0.630.190.315130.360130
7Chipper JonesBraves10.20%14.70%0.690.20.313.50.354125
8Pablo SandovalGiants6.80%13.90%0.490.210.30312.50.354123
9Evan LongoriaRays12.50%17.00%0.730.240.23914.60.354126
10Ryan ZimmermanNationals8.70%17.50%0.50.170.32910.40.352121
31Kyle SeagerMariners6.40%19.10%0.330.10.327-0.70.30996

There are two things that we can take away from these stats. First and foremost you can see that he is clobbering the ball. Using the minimum of 140 PAs Seager is tied among the leaders in baseball for the highest percentage of hits going for line drives.

Now, looking at the production stats (wOBA and wRAA, specifically) you can see that he is merely league average and him hitting the ball hard hasn’t really translated into anything really productive thus far.  That said it doesn’t mean that he is going to continue being ineffective in correlation with how hard he is hitting the ball.

Looking at his xBABIP there isn’t a huge bump in how often he should reach base when hitting the ball. But it’s enough to bump him up above league average. Also looking at his career minor league ISO (.146) and comparing that to the current league average third base ISO (.134) he isn’t as “powerless” as everyone says. Sure, he won’t hit a ton of home runs, and I know that’s important to a good percentage of the fan base, but he will drive the ball into the gaps and get extra bases because of that.

He has shown the ability to make adjustments to big league pitching and his grit and determination has shown the ability to kick into the next level and exceed above what many have believed what his true level of talent exist.

As it stands Kyle Seager is the best available option at third going into next year. Sure, Alex Liddi is the fun power toting home run smasher. The problem I have is that he has yet to prove he can hit major league hitting, and while he had the double last night for his first major league hit, he has struck out 4 times out of his 6 plate appearances. He is simply overmatched against some mediocre major league pitching, which draws some red flags.

I like Alex Liddi and I’d like to see him work out at the big league level. But, Kyle Seager is here now and at this point I don’t see any reason why he can’t stick around as a major league hitter and future option at third base so long as he continues driving the ball around the field.

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