Zoning in on Kyle Seager

ZoningIn28_Seager

Zoning in on the 2016 Mariners is a daily series in which we’ll examine one player every day, 30 total, in the lead-up to Opening Day. We’ll explain their role on the field, what they’re like off of it and provide highlights and photos. On deck tomorrow: Robinson Cano.

Where does one even start in talking about Kyle Seager? Still occasionally underrated, Seager in short time has cemented himself as a core part of this organization and one of the most consistently productive players in the game.

In his four-plus seasons here in the Major Leagues, he’s been an All-Star and won a Gold Glove, providing consistent offense in the heart of the Mariners lineup and stellar defense at the hot corner. He’s among the best in baseball at a very competitive position.

So it’s enjoyable then to pause and look now at how far he’s come, from being something of an unheralded prospect to what’s described above.

Just recently, MLB Network ranked Seager 48th on their list of Top 100 Players Right Now. That is an impressive feat, acknowledging it’s a subjective list. Quantifiably, he comes out even better.

Kyle Seager ranks as the 18th-best position player in baseball according to Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement over the past three years. Just a few of the names following shortly after him in the rankings: Adam Jones, Anthony Rizzo, Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist and Freddie Freeman.

And it’s easy to forget, with what he’s done so early in his career, that he’s still getting better.

Last year, he hit 13 home runs against left-handed pitching, the most by left-handed hitter in Majors. His OPS against lefties jumped to .835 after being at .661 and .690 the previous two years.

But for Seager, now it’s about more than personal accomplishments.

“There’s a lot of room for (personal) improvement,” he said in speaking with the media at Mariners Fan Fest. “There are a lot of different aspects to it. But at this point, it really comes down to winning. You’ve got to do whatever you can to win.

“You hear guys talk about that, but it’s real. The last few years, ever since I’ve been up here, we’ve not been in postseason. We were really close one year, but that’s something I’ve really gotten a taste for.

“Watching my brother in the postseason was pretty cool. I’d like to join him.”

Off the Field

The Seagers are of course a baseball family. Kyle’s brother, Corey, plays shortstop for the Dodgers and is a player many have tabbed for NL Rookie of the Year after his performance in short time last year. His brother Justin played last year with the Bakersfield Blaze in the Mariners minor league system.

With the two lefties, Kyle and Corey, you can definitely tell they’re brothers even on the field.

Seager is a big-time contributor off the field as well, as he and his wife Julie are again working with the Vs. Cancer Foundation in 2016, where fans can pledge money in the fight against cancer for each of Kyle’s hits this season.

Seager played his college baseball at North Carolina and remains a big fan of the Tar Heels, watching them closely in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Highlights

 

 

 

 

Photos

More in the Zoning In on the 2016 Mariners Series:

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