On opening day of the 2011 season, the M’s infield consisted of first baseman Justin Smoak, second baseman Jack Wilson, defensive wizard Brendan Ryan at short, and third baseman Chone Figgins coming off a disappointing 1.3 fWAR year. Figgins’ hoped-for bounceback season started well: he went 2 for 5 with a homerun that day, backing a Felix Hernandez complete game win. But by the final game of the season, even Lookout Landing’s focus had moved on from the Mariners. Still, there was hope in the M's lineup that day: Dustin Ackley was ensconced at second and third base was manned by another rookie infielder:
Wait, what? That’s not Kyle Seager at the Hawt Corner. It’s third baseman of the future (of the CBPL and Mexican leagues) Alex Liddi. Kyle Seager did play in that final 2011 game, going 0 for 4 while taking over for the injured Brendan Ryan at shortstop. Before (electronically) scanning all his box scores I had no idea Kyle Seager the last week of 2011 playing shortstop for the M’s. Did you know that he has a career (i.e. 2011) wRC+ of 129 playing short? Man, I hope there’s some video of that floating around somewhere, cause I can’t think of any other shortstops with Kyle Seager’s body type.
Those are the kinds of scintillating facts that you can glean trolling through "All Kyle Seager’s Boxscores". (The soundtrack that runs through my head is "All Tomorrow’s Parties". I’m weird.). Let’s face it the baseball content is thin with the lockout, so here’s a thin fanpost about the Mariner of the 2010s. Not his stats, or his impact on Seattle, or his fight with the front office, or the time he was fucking ready, but the ever-changing collection of players he shared the field with (non-pitchers for now).
Kyle’s career spanned 3+ distinct eras in Seattle: the Zduriencik rebuild, filled with disappointing young players, the Cano/Cruz era, and the Dipoto rebuild. You’ll see that for the last decade, Kyle Seager was a star of medium brightness, occasionally affected by nearby stars, but mostly orbited by barely visible asteroids or human-sized objects that burned up on contact with MLB pitching.
Here are a few questions I’ll answer in a little bit
- Mini sporcle: What 10 position players were in starting lineups with Kyle Seager for the most games?
- One position player started a single MLB game alongside Kyle Seager. Who was it?
- A second Mariner position player played in only one game with Kyle, getting a single pinch-hit AB. Who was it? (Hint, it happened this year)
- Who started the most games in Left Field in Kyle’s games?
By my count (and Fangraphs’), Kyle Seager appeared in 1480 games as a Mariner, starting 1459. He played 1406 of those at third with occasional turns at DH and intermittent filling in at 2nd in 2012. He appeared at shortstop at least one time after 2011, sliding over after a Ketel Marte injury in 2015. Who took over at third that day? Another Mariners legend, John Hicks, making his MLB debut playing a position he hadn’t played since high school. Oh, this effing franchise.
Kyle was the one constant. Since Kyle’s first MLB game, do you know what player had the second-most starts at third? That would be Ryon Healy, who gamely started 38 games there while Kyle was injured. Second most? Our friend Alex Liddi. Fourteen different players filled in for only one game, including blasts from the past Carlos Triunfel, Tim Lopes, Zach Vincej, and Luis Antonio Rodriguez (who??).
OK, so Kyle had a lock on third. Who did he share the infield with?
Kyle started at third alongside 25 different shortstops, including over 200 games each with J.P. Crawford, Jean Segura, Brad Miller and Brendan Ryan, and one each with Danny Espinosa and Mike Freeman. Kyle played across from 39 different M’s first-basemen, with effing Justin Smoak getting the most starts on the opposite corner. Some of those first basemen I can’t remember (Ryan Court, John Buck) and others I try to forget (Jesus Montero, Mark Trumbo).
During his time in Seattle, Seager grounded into 107 double plays, but on the upside, he was involved in 334 of those plays on the defensive side of the ball, with Albert Pujols being by far the most common victim (14 GIDP to Kyle). Seager to Cano to Morrison doesn’t have the same ring as Tinker to Evers to Chance, but that was the most common trio in double plays started by Seager.
OK, on to that sporcle. Here are the non-pitchers who started the most games alongside Kyle Seager:
The player who started one game? That would be Brandon Bantz, who got of both of his MLB at-bats that day. He put the ball in play once. Kevin Padlo got one pinch-hit at-bat for the M’s this year, but in terms of total MLB plate appearances (15), his career already towers over Bantz.
Here’s a little summary of other starters by position in games Kyle started. Where players changed positions during the game this counts only the position they ended the game playing (due to my laziness, but this content is worth what you paid for it). Do you remember that all of these people played for the Mariners over the last decade?
|1B||Justin Smoak (314 games), Logan Morrison (189), Ryon Healy (116), Danny Valencia (106), Ty France (102), Adam Lind (85), Evan White (79), Dae-Ho Lee (69), Daniel Vogelbach (66), Mike Carp (50), Austin Nola (45), Kendrys Morales (44), Yonder Alonso (33), Jesus Montero (27), Mark Trumbo (18), Dustin Ackley, Jose Marmolejos (17), Robinson Cano, Taylor Motter (12), Edwin Encarnacion (11), Adam Kennedy (10), Alex Liddi, Willie Bloomquist (9), Jake Bauers (8), Michael Morse (7), Dylan Moore, Tim Beckham (5), Jacob Nottingham, Luis Torrens (4), Ryan Court (3), Andrew Romine, Ben Gamel, Jay Bruce, Mike Freeman (2), Chris Gimenez, Corey Hart, Danny Espinosa, Danny Espinosa, David Freitas, Eric Campbell, Stefen Romero (1)|
|2B||Robinson Cano (645), Dustin Ackley (217), Dee Strange-Gordon (139), Nick Franklin (93), Dylan Moore (70), Abraham Toro (57), Shed Long Jr. (50), Ty France (26), Brad Miller (22), Taylor Motter (14), Donovan Walton (13), Austin Nola, Gordon Beckham (11), Willie Bloomquist (10), Andrew Romine, Jack Mayfield (8), Robert Andino (7), Shawn O’Malley, Tim Beckham (6), Carlos Triunfel (5), Munenori Kawasaki (4), Ketel Marte, Mike Freeman (3), Chris Taylor (2), Danny Espinosa, Kristopher Negron, Luis Sardinas, Tim Lopes (1)|
|3B||Alex Liddi (19), Ty France (7), Dylan Moore (6), Chone Figgins (5), Adam Kennedy, Brad Miller, Shawn O’Malley (3), Austin Nola, Eric Campbell, Luis Sardinas, Ryon Healy (2), Andrew Romine, Donovan Walton, Gordon Beckham, Jack Mayfield, Luis Torrens, Sam Haggerty, Shed Long Jr., Taylor Motter, Tim Lopes, Willie Bloomquist (1)|
|C||Mike Zunino (512), Tom Murphy (130), Miguel Olivo (100), Chris Iannetta (84), Jesus Sucre (77), Jesus Montero (75), Omar Narvaez (52), Luis Torrens (48), Carlos Ruiz (39), John Jaso (38), Cal Raleigh (33), Kelly Shoppach (30), David Freitas, Henry Blanco (29), Austin Nola (28), Steve Clevenger (20), Chris Herrmann, Humberto Quintero (19), John Buck (17), Joseph Odom (15), Jose Godoy (11), John Hicks, Josh Bard, Mike Marjama (10), Tuffy Gosewisch (8), Joe Hudson (5), Steven Baron, Welington Castillo (4), Chris Gimenez (3), Brandon Bantz (1)|
|CF||Michael Saunders (181), Leonys Martin (153), Austin Jackson (150), Guillermo Heredia (119), Kyle Lewis (90), Franklin Gutierrez, Jarrod Dyson (81), Jarred Kelenic (74), James Jones (73), Mallex Smith (63), Dustin Ackley (55), Dee Strange-Gordon (48), Abraham Almonte (36), Taylor Trammell (34), Mitch Haniger (26), Endy Chavez, Jake Fraley (22), Keon Broxton, Norichika Aoki (15), Cameron Maybin (14), Brad Miller (13), Casper Wells (12), Braden Bishop (10), Shawn O’Malley, Trayvon Robinson (9), Justin Ruggiano (7), Chone Figgins (5), Ben Gamel, Jacob Hannemann (4), Sam Haggerty (3), Ketel Marte (2), Andrew Romine, Dillon Thomas, Dylan Moore, Greg Halman, Kristopher Negron, Stefen Romero (1)|
|DH||Nelson Cruz (435), Kendrys Morales (163), Jesus Montero (83), Daniel Vogelbach (70), Luis Torrens (52), Corey Hart (50), John Jaso (44), Ty France (34), Mitch Haniger (33), Mark Trumbo (29), Seth Smith (27), Raul Ibanez (20), Robinson Cano (18), Domingo Santana (17), Omar Narvaez (16), Jose Marmolejos (15), Adam Lind, Tim Lopes (14), Franklin Gutierrez, Wily Mo Pena (13), Justin Smoak (12), Adam Kennedy, Dustin Ackley, Stefen Romero, Tim Beckham (9), Endy Chavez, Ichiro Suzuki, Miguel Olivo, Mike Carp, Rickie Weeks Jr. (8), Logan Morrison, Michael Morse, Tom Murphy (7), Brad Miller (6), Dae-Ho Lee, Edwin Encarnacion, Jake Bauers, John Buck (5), Casper Wells, Jacob Nottingham, Jake Fraley, Luis Jimenez (4), Boog Powell, Carlos Peguero, Kyle Lewis (3), Cole Gillespie, Jack Cust, Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, Sam Haggerty (2), Carlos Ruiz, Chris Denorfia, Chris Iannetta, Dee Strange-Gordon, Denard Span, Donovan Walton, Guillermo Heredia, Jose Godoy, Shed Long Jr., Shed Long Jr., Trayvon Robinson, Welington Castillo, Willie Bloomquist (1)|
|LF||Dustin Ackley (168), Ben Gamel (115), Raul Ibanez (96), Norichika Aoki (84), Seth Smith (74), Guillermo Heredia (72), Denard Span (70), Trayvon Robinson (60), Dylan Moore (53), Casper Wells (46), Tim Lopes (42), Franklin Gutierrez (40), Shed Long Jr. (38), Jake Fraley (36), Jason Bay (33), Michael Saunders (30), Mike Carp (29), Chone Figgins, Jose Marmolejos (27), Sam Haggerty (24), Mac Williamson (19), Cole Gillespie (14), Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell (13), Jarrod Dyson (12), Brad Miller, Endy Chavez, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Trumbo, Tim Beckham (11), Dee Strange-Gordon, Domingo Santana, Jake Bauers (10), Michael Morse, Rickie Weeks Jr., Shawn O’Malley, Taylor Motter (9), Stefen Romero (8), Alex Liddi (7), Cameron Maybin, Daniel Robertson (6), Willie Bloomquist (5), Boog Powell, Carlos Peguero, Donovan Walton, Justin Ruggiano (4), Chris Denorfia, Greg Halman, Kristopher Negron, Mallex Smith (3), Braden Bishop, Chris Gimenez, Logan Morrison, Ryan Court (2), Abraham Almonte, Andrew Romine, Corey Hart, Eric Thames, James Jones, Jay Bruce, John Andreoli, Luis Sardinas (1)|
|RF||Mitch Haniger (340), Nelson Cruz (136), Ichiro Suzuki (129), Seth Smith (105), Michael Saunders (86), Endy Chavez (74), Ben Gamel (71), Franklin Gutierrez (66), Michael Morse (49), Domingo Santana (36), Mallex Smith (35), Stefen Romero (33), Eric Thames, Mark Trumbo (31), Casper Wells (27), Dylan Moore (23), Jake Bauers (21), Chris Denorfia (18), Kyle Lewis (16), Jason Bay (15), Carlos Peguero, Phillip Ervin (13), Jake Fraley, Leonys Martin (12), Logan Morrison, Tim Lopes (9), Shawn O’Malley (8), Braden Bishop (7), Cole Gillespie, Corey Hart, Kristopher Negron, Sam Haggerty (6), Abraham Almonte, Brad Miller, Danny Valencia, Guillermo Heredia (4), James Jones, Jay Bruce, Justin Ruggiano (3), Jarred Kelenic, Jose Marmolejos, Keon Broxton, Taylor Motter, Willie Bloomquist (2), Chone Figgins, Dillon Thomas, Dustin Ackley, John Andreoli, Mike Carp, Nick Franklin, Raul Ibanez (1)|
|SS||J.P. Crawford (281), Jean Segura (251), Brad Miller (240), Brendan Ryan (227), Ketel Marte (160), Chris Taylor (66), Taylor Motter (27), Dylan Moore, Munenori Kawasaki (25), Shawn O’Malley (23), Luis Sardinas (15), Willie Bloomquist (14), Carlos Triunfel, Robert Andino (12), Andrew Romine (11), Dee Strange-Gordon (10), Luis Antonio Rodriguez (8), Donovan Walton, Jack Wilson, Nick Franklin (7), Tyler Smith (4), Tim Beckham (3), Gordon Beckham (2), Danny Espinosa, Mike Freeman (1)|
Links above are to the box-scores for evidence that those players really played that position in games Kyle Seager started. Dee Strange-Gordon actually played a full game at DH. And, yeah, Chone Figgins once started a game in right field. Before you laugh, you should know that the Mariners won that game 21-8, with home runs by Ackley, Smoak and Montero, behind pitching from Blake Beavan. Take that WARdoopie. If only we had run that lineup out more often Kyle Seager probably would have made the playoffs as a Mariner, right?