Player of the Week (4/21 – 4/27): Kyle Seager, Seattle 3B

Week Stats: 6 G, 24 PA, 9 H, 5 HR, 8 R, 11 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, .409/.458/1.091

Four of Seager’s five home runs came on two two-homer days, and in those games Seager’s final bombs were the deciding events. On the 23rd Seager took Josh Fields, the erstwhile hope of the Astros bullpen, deep to right field in walk-off fashion.

A day earlier, Fields had retired Seager on a groundball to end the game, something something the last laugh is yet to come. In the Mariners weekend series against the Rangers, Seager launched a three-run bomb off Alexi Ogando to put the Mariners up 6-5 in the 8th. The Mariners won by the same score shortly after.

Seager hadn’t hit any home runs before this week. His walk rate was well above average and his strikeouts weren’t out of control, but he was batting only .158 and slugging a ghastly .228. By the end of the week he was batting .228 and slugging .468. That’s a bit higher than his career slugging percentage but not unrealistic going forward. Seager has demonstrated a considerable amount of pull power in his time in the majors. Click the link and see the concentration of homers to right field; the one to left just barely plopped over the short porch in Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Seager is a fair, patient hitter who can crush mistakes left in his wheelhouse.

His durability is notable; since 2012 he’s played in more games than any other third baseman except Martin Prado. He’s fourth among third basemen in stolen bases in that time frame, with 23, and seventh in home runs with 47. Other than that, he comes out as fairly average offensively of the 22 third basemen who have made at least 1000 plate appearances since 2012. He has a higher slugging percentage than Prado, and Pablo Sandoval and Brett Lawrie, two players of similar age and more renown. Factor in good enough defense (as it was here) and Seager stands to be one of the better players at his position for the next few years.

This is his third season as a full-time starter, and in his first two Seager hit or eclipsed 20 home runs. Good health would give Seager six or seven more seasons where he can expect to perform at his prime levels, though it is true and must be said that third basemen age well compared to other position players. See Adrian Beltre, Juan Uribe, Chipper Jones, Aramis Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Mike Lowell and plenty of guys from the century before ours. If Seager simply maintains his level of performance at the plate, he can run off a streak of 20 home run seasons considerably longer than two. Nick Swisher was a better hitter than Seager, but not by much, and he had nine such seasons in a row, with a possible tenth forthcoming. If Seattle sees the same upside in him, they might make him their third long-term commitment after King Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano.

Edit: Fixed a link that went to Brandon Crawford’s page instead of Seager’s.

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