Talk about some of the best young players in the game and Kyle Seager’s name isn’t likely to come up. In 2012 he hit only .259 and put up just a .738 OPS. On top of all of this, he plays for the Seattle Mariners and sits in the middle of an offense that had the 4th lowest runs per game last season in baseball.
But, look beyond that, and you see a player that is poised for a big season in 2013.
Seager did have 35 doubles, 20 home runs, and drove in 86 runs in 2012. He did steal 13 bases, and he had 251 total bases. His 56 extra base hits put him tied for 8th among third basemen in baseball. And he’s done all of this while playing half of his games in Seattle. Which, brings me to the reason that I believe he is ready for a breakout season.
The Seattle Mariners have brought their outfield walls in a bit this season. The left center field fence was brought in from 390 feet to 378 feet. Center field was brought in from 405 feet to 401 feet. Right center field was brought in from 385 to 381 feet. The deepest point, 409 feet, will now be 405 feet. The fences down the line will remain what they were, 331 feet to left field and 326 feet to right field, respectively.
Why does this matter in terms of Kyle Seager? Well, for one, Seager is a career .298 hitter with an .834 OPS away from Safeco Field, as opposed to his .215 batting average and .607 OPS at home. His power has been completely sapped at home (.311 slugging percentage) versus on the road (.501 slugging percentage). Of his 23 career home runs, 18 of them have come on the road. Of his 72 extra base hits, just 25 of them have come at home.
At 25 years old, Kyle Seager is just beginning to get close to his prime. In his rapid rise from 3rd round pick out of the University of North Carolina in 2009 to playing on the infield for the Seattle Mariners, Seager hit .328 with an .875 OPS over 1,245 plate appearances in the minor leagues. While his true power never really showed in the minor leagues (he had only 22 home runs), Seager has always been a player with good gap power and an advanced approach at the plate. Because of that, along with his contact ability, Seager is a player who’s power could play up at the big league level.
With the acquisitions of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, the Mariners also have gotten more fire power in their lineup to support Kyle Seager. In 2012, Seager hit .280 with men on, including .308 with runners in scoring position. He should be hitting in the middle of an improved Seattle Mariners offense.