Kyle Seager: currently a top-flight offensive third baseman

Mike Stobe

I swear I wanted to write this up before last night. I'd been keeping an eye on where Kyle Seager ranked offensively and thought, if he had just an okay game, and bumped his numbers ever-so-slightly, it'd really be worth writing about. Then he went and did that, and now this is may sound like two spoonfuls of recency bias.

Regardless, where he sits now is where he sits now—and last night is still a thing Kyle Seager did.

And now, this is where Kyle Seager ranks among his peers at the third base position, by wRC+. For those not familiar with wRC+—as I understand LL is adding new faces all the time—get acquainted. Most of what you need to know: it takes into account all offensive production, 100 is average and it's park and league adjusted.

But anyway, yes, here's where Kyle Seager now ranks among third basemen:

1 Josh Donaldson 161
2 Kyle Seager 140
3 Yangervis Solarte 130
4 Todd Frazier 128
5 Adrian Beltre 118
6 Matt Carpenter 114
7 David Wright 111
8 Trevor Plouffe 110
9 Nolan Arenado 110
10 Anthony Rendon 106

Yes, Seager trails only Donaldson, a player who may end up having an MVP-level season.

Even more interesting, Kyle Seager currently ranks 25th in all of baseball in wRC+, ahead of names like Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez and the now-scorching George Springer.

To put it plainly, he's having a Robinson Cano-esque season. The Mariners' second baseman posted wRC+s of  142 and 149 the last two seasons.

Also, it's worth noting that it goes beyond the results he's posted. We've referenced hard-hit ball data before here, and ESPN's recap of last night's game had this note:

Inside Edge tracks a stat for major-league teams and media outlets known as "hard-hit average." The company rates every batted ball as either hard, medium or soft. Hard-hit average is the rate at which a player’s at-bats end with him being credited with a hard-hit ball.

Seager entered the day ranked fifth in the majors in hard-hit average this season, with a hard-hit ball in 24 percent of his at-bats.

The four players ranked ahead of him are four of the game’s elite hitters- David Ortiz, Troy Tulowitzki, Victor Martinez and Nelson Cruz. Among those Seager rated ahead of entering the day were Miguel Cabrera and Yasiel Puig.

This all comes, of course, after an opening stretch that saw Seager struggle mightily. Heading into the season's 20th game, he had a triple-slash of .164/.282/.230. That's good for an OPS of .511. Now, it's not the best idea to judge a player after 19 games, but I'll admit here I was one of the few irrational folk who was concerned. I was concerned because it wasn't actually just 19 games.

It was the last two months of 2013, which saw him put up a similar sub-.600 OPS—and then all of spring training. Now, we're reminded frequently that spring training doesn't mean anything, but it was enough of a stretch that I was worried. I thought that, if there were one thing that could really sneak up and derail the season, it'd be Kyle Seager not being Kyle Seager.

Well, since those first 19 games, he's been Kyle Seager and then some. In the 35 games he's played in since then, starting with the walkoff job against the Astros, Seager is running a .328/.393/.641 triple-slash, good for a 1.034 OPS. The per-162 counting stats are even more ridiculous: 200 hits, 38 doubles, 42 home runs, 158 RBIs.

Now, of course, Kyle Seager is never going to put together a full season like that. But still, along those lines, that's what I'm most interested in seeing: Kyle Seager putting together a full season. We've seen him get hot before, with July of last year being the biggest example of that. He was the catalyst for a impressive Mariners offense, posting a 203 wRC+ that month. Hell, for the entire first half, with a similar slow start, he notched a 134 wRC+.

I spoke about this with Gary Hill, Jr. for today's Seattle Mariners Baseball Podcast (iTunes): it's going to be very interesting to see if Kyle Seager can stay consistent. Last year, his production fell off mightily after that torrid July, as he notched just an 82 wRC+ in the second half. There's bound to be some regression, certainly, but it doesn't have to be to the level we saw last year. I don't know if it was caused by fatigue, or something else, but if Seager can stay up in the 125-130 range, he has the opportunity to take a step forward as a ballplayer.

It's funny, Seager's cult status at this point almost precedes him. The Mariners have a homegrown player who torments certain clubs, producing tweets like this and blog posts like this.

Now, let's see once again see if we have something more, not just a player who torments certain clubs—but one who consistently knocks around the entire league.

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