Kyle Seager: Have We Seen The Best Of The Mariners Third Baseman?
Last year, we saw Kyle Seager really come into his own as he was elected to his first All-Star team and won a Gold Glove. Both accomplishments might have made us forget the difficult start he suffered through in the beginning of the season. Seager had a difficult time getting it going at first and it wasn’t really until a series with the Astros, in which he was pretty much the only offense the Mariners had, that he turned it around.
Anyway, we saw Seager turn in a great performance in 2014 and have his best year yet. Saying, “his best year yet,” is something that has been said about each one of Kyle’s seasons so far. He’s shown that he can play above what had been expected of him as a prospect and has made adjustments to keep getting better.
Take last year as an example. Although just 19 games into the season, a small sample size, Seager was having a lot of trouble. He was slashing .156/.280/.219. He was able to draw a good amount of walks which somewhat saved his OBP but overall terrible numbers. Then came that game against the Astros. Seager hit a walk off home run that game that completely changed his season. His slash line for the two weeks after that game was .341/.408/.773.
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Now both of these are very small sample sizes so read those numbers with that in mind, however; taking a look at the next month after that game his Seager was still getting it done with a .301/.381/.559 slash.
I remember a main issue Kyle was facing during that beginning slump was hitting into the shift. Some teams began using the defensive shift against him as he likes to pull the ball.
Not always a bad thing but his groundball rate was 48.9%. Hitting grounders into the shift will more than usually result in an out as seen by his .213 BABIP during the slump. This wasn’t necessarily bad luck as much as poor hitting. Clearly, Seager was able to adjust as his groundball rate dropped to 34.8% as he began hitting many more line drives.
The rest of the season Seager was solid and earned himself a nice extension from the Mariners. Every Mariner fan would welcome the kind of numbers he’s been putting up but his ability to adapt brings up the question, is this Kyle Seager’s limit?
Coming into his age 27 season, Seager is at the beginning of his prime years. I think we have seen most of his power already. He hit 25 last year and if that isn’t the threshold I think it’s probably close. He was able to hit that career-high number despite posting his lowest flyball rate yet. Even though it was still above league average it gave him above league average and his best FB/HR.
More home runs from him don’t seem likely. Is it possible he improves else where? Of course, its always possible. Is it likely? I’d say probably not, but Seager has proven to be better than so many had him pegged for already I feel uncomfortable doubting him.
Going into this season I think Seager remains consistent. Aside from the possibility of him getting much physically stronger I think we see don’t see many more home runs. If he puts up similar numbers to that of last year no one will complain. We might have seen the best Kyle Seager has to offer but is that a bad thing? No way, its all that’s needed from him. But will I be surprised if he does get better? Not anymore.