clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kyle Seager is going to be alright

Kyle Seager is showing signs of breaking out of his funk.

Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The title of this article was very different through the seventh inning of last night’s game. But then Kyle Seager launched a big two-run home run off Liam Hendricks to give the Mariners some critical insurance runs. With that home run, Seager boosted his wRC+ to an even 100. Between all the injuries to the pitching staff and the offensive dominance of Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz, Seager’s struggles this year might have gone overlooked. He didn’t hit his first home run of the year until April 29, and after hitting a career high 30 home runs last season, there was some cause for concern.

This article should be pretty quick because if you look into Seager’s performance this year, there isn’t really anything amiss. Here’s a table of a few select stats from this season compared to his career numbers:

Kyle Seager

2017 17.1% 11.8% 0.87 0.288 0.123 6.5%
Career 16.6% 8.6% 0.84 0.290 0.178 11.2%

Seager’s strikeout rate is well within established career norms and he’s running the highest walk rate of his career this season. Plate discipline checks out. His batted ball mix is relatively unchanged and his BABIP shows typical success on his balls in play as well. But then we get to his power. The original title for this article was “Kyle Seager turned off the power.” Just 24% of his hits have gone for extra bases—a rate that is well below his 35%-40% range that he’s shown previously.

Looking into his Statcast data reveals nothing out of the ordinary either. His average exit velocity is essentially the same as last season. When he elevates the ball, his average exit velocity has dropped by a mile per hour, but it’s still above league average.

The last thing I wanted to check was if Seager had seen a similar power outage earlier in his career. Here’s a graph showing Seager’s rolling 30-game average ISO throughout his career.

Early April (on the far right) wasn’t the lowest point on the graph but it was well below his career norm (the dotted line). But from the ups and downs on the graph we can see that Seager’s power comes in streaks. He gets really hot for a while and then cools off before getting hot again. This season, his slump was particularly cold but he’s showing signs of snapping out of it.

A quick note about Seager’s plate discipline. His overall swing rate is at the lowest point of his career and he’s laying off pitches outside of the strike zone better than ever. His contact rate is basically unchanged as well. That alone explains why he’s walking at the highest rate of his career this season. As soon as he regains his power stroke, he should be the same Kyle Seager we’ve come to love and appreciate.