Kyle Seager had one of the best months of his entire career last season. But does Steamer think this was a new Seager, or do they still think the Mariners 3rd baseman is still his 2020 self?
Perhaps the most well known of projections, Fangraphs “Steamer” projections are widely used in the baseball writers community as a baseline for where to begin to attempt to make educated guesses on a player’s upcoming success. In this series, we will look at how Steamer projects your Seattle Mariners at every position.
But before we begin, it is important to remember that while Steamer is a lot more than random guessing. It is a complicated process and deserves a lot more credit than just being called a “wild guess”.
However, it is also important to remember that at the end of the day, these projections are just that; projections. But with all that in mind, let’s kick off our series by looking at Steamer’s opinion of how the Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager will perform in 2020.
Kyle Seager Steamer Projection: 141 games, 593 PAs, .242/.312/.445, 26 home runs, 101 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR
Gotta be honest, there are a lot of questions I have about this projection. Seager’s career slash line is .256/.324/.443 and a 112 wRC+. So, they see a down season in 2018 and weigh it heavily in their projections. But last season Seager hit .239/.321/.468 with a 110 wRC+. That seems like a more realistic projection.
They are more heavily weighing 2018 and the first two months of 2019, and largely ignoring Seager’s second half where he posted a .260/.339/.524. To be fair, weighing a year plus of bad Seager over 3 months of good Seager is fair.
Perhaps the oddest projection is the sharp decline in Seager’s defense. Steamer projects a 3.4 Def score. So that’s not bad, but over the past 3 years, Seager’s defense score has been 9.1, 8.8, and 8.3. So why is his defensive projection so bad?
The projected drop in defensive value hurts Seager’s overall value. Personally, I’m expecting a .250/.325/.465 with 25-30 home runs type of season. I see no reason to devalue his defense as significantly as Steamer does. My expectations are for Seager to post a 3.0 fWAR.
Overall, Steamer’s projections for Seager appear to be on the low side. They are taking pretty significant leaps downward on Seager’s defense and aren’t as high on his second half of 2019. But a 2.4 fWAR and the numbers he is projected to produce are all within the realm of possibility, albeit on the low end.