Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kyle Seager: He's Got the Fire Down Below

Yesterday the Mariners promoted Kyle Seager from AAA Tacoma to the big club. Sorry, a Bob Seeger reference which has been making the rounds of sports talk radio all day. 
Kyle Seager travels to Anaheim to help the Mariners find their way out of the black hole of offensive ineptitude.
 Seager was sort of a surprise call up because he'd only spent a handful of games in Tacoma, but he tore the cover off the ball and moved from 2nd base to 3rd base.  A lot has been made of Seager's relative inexperience prior to his call up.  How Mariners G.M. Jack Zdurencik reviewed him in an interview on Kevin Calabro's ESPN 710 radio program:
"I think what you're going to get is a very mature guy – for a young kid – in terms of baseball. He has great strike zone discipline. He understands what he can do at the plate. He can drive the baseball. He can hit the gaps. Occasionally he'll show you power. But he's a hitter, and that's the reason, obviously, we called him up."
While many continue clamor for another bat either in left field or DH, and I don't think I disagree if the Mariners have any hope of not falling further behind the Rangers and Angels, Seager is a proven successful hitter in the minors.  In 1188 minor league plate appearances, Seager's slash line is .329/.402.474.  Despite his Tacoma home runs Seager is not a power hitter.  He's a line drive guy. This  year at AA Jackson, he drove  25 doubles in 299 at bats.  He's going to hit gaps with occasional power.  Less than former and future teammate Dustin Ackley.  For those troubled by his inexperience, I would remind them that Mr. Mariner, Alvin Davis, had only 852 minor league plate appearances.  Only four of those were at AAA before he was called up to replace an injured Ken Phelps in 1984. Davis virtually carried his team offensively and Seager won't do that.  Statistics from

Will he make this team better?  Absolutely.  Though he didn't play third base in professional ball, he did play a little at the hot corner as a Tarheel.  Will he be as good or better than Chone Figgins and Adam Kennedy.  Hard to say, but definitely better than Figgins who trots his hitting problems out to third with him.  He now leads the league in errors at that position with ten.  Kennedy makes the plays, but simply can't continue every day without a break down by the end of the year.  His hitting should make us forget Figgins abysmal at bats.  Will make the Mariners a winner?  Unlikely, but if he can get on base more frequently than his Figgins, and allow Kennedy to slide over to DH then the team will bet better.  Let the kid play.

Seager will bat seventh and play third base tonight as the Mariners open their very important series with the Angels.  The M's will face Jered Weaver tonight.  Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Seager.

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