Hello and welcome to the inaugural installment of the Norichika Aoki Memorial Something in Baseball is Not as it Appears (title currently being workshopped). The loose idea, developing evermore as I type this, is to sporadically look at certain narratives, or preconceived notions, about a player or his specific skills to determine whether these narratives/notions are grounded in reality or purely fiction. These aren’t meant to be long, or in-depth pieces, simply quick hitters to prove or disprove common refrains. A sort of LL Mythbusters, if you will. Since the month of April has now come to a close, I figured there was no better place to begin this silly exercise than by examining whether Kyle Seager truly gets off to a slow start every year, and how 2017 stacks up against previous seasons.
Here is an assortment of his stats from the month of April since he debuted at the major league level (he was first called up in 2011, but not until a few months into the season).
And now, for comparison, here are a mix of the same stats throughout his career, with month/month splits (as always, eternal thanks to Fangraphs for allowing lowly peons like myself access to the fancy numbers).
Allow me to first address the obvious: April is not, historically, Kyle Seager’s worst month. Throughout his career he has had a lower wRC+ through June, August and September/October, which lends further credence to the other general statement about Seager’s seasonal trends- he fades down the final stretch. He’s not at his best at the beginning of most seasons, but he’s far from his worst. A slow-starting Kyle Seager is still a valuable piece for any team. For instance, this season, though he’s had the same fWAR (0.3) as Guillermo Heredia, he’s also equaled the likes of Christian Yelich and DJ LeMahieu. Though it took nearly thirty days for Seager to hit his first home run, which we can see reflected in his somewhat miserly ISO, this April has also featured a career high walk rate for the month, which would have likely seemed more beneficial if Danny Valencia wasn’t continuously hitting behind him.
We have plenty to worry about as Mariners fans, so I don’t know why you’d want to fixate on Seager, but if you’re masochistic like that I’d recommend worrying about his August/September/October production rather than any supposed proclivity for slow starts. He’s been just fine this month, and will continue to be fine this season because he is Kyle Seager and that’s what he does (knocks on wood, throws salt over shoulder, offers up a gently used Jean Machi to the Baseball Gods).