Existential Crisis and Kyle Seager

Kyle Seager is having a terrible season.”

I heard that at the bar three times last night. From three different sources. “Is he?” was my response.

Now, most fantasy enthusiasts would likely posit that Kyle Seager isn’t having a particularly great season. If you drafted him, you probably feel that way. Heck, if you’re a Mariner fan, you probably feel that way. And there was a period of time at the beginning of the year where one might have ventured to argue that he was just totally useless. Because inasmuch as the term “use” equals “doing something,” well, he was pretty useless.

Seager stands at .234/.330/.416 with six home runs, 17 runs, and 25 RBI. As far as counting stats go, that ain’t bad since the projections now put him on pace with a very Seager-esque rate of 19 home runs, 75 runs, and 80 RBI. What a lot of folks have their undergarments bunched up about is his batting average and elevated strikeout rate. And while Seager did have a notably awful start to the season, if you look at third basemen over the last 30 days, here’s your leaderboard:

Juan Francisco 24 93 8 18 18 10.80% 38.70% 0.346 0.272 0.355 0.617 0.415 165
Josh Donaldson 26 118 6 24 21 1 17.80% 19.50% 0.253 0.284 0.415 0.537 0.41 166
Kyle Seager 24 101 6 12 23 1 7.90% 19.80% 0.267 0.289 0.366 0.556 0.401 158

That pretty solid company to be keeping. No, Juan Francisco isn’t going to keep up that pace, and frankly neither is Kyle Seager — but Seager has been a pretty hot hitter over the last month, even though it’s hard to tell by looking at his overall line.

I heard people say last night that “all he can do is pull the ball.” And so what?

2013 Pull 0.416 0.414 0.772 0.508 231
2014 Pull 0.34 0.34 0.811 0.492 220
2013 Center 0.269 0.265 0.369 0.274 69
2014 Center 0.289 0.289 0.316 0.268 66
2013 Opposite 0.228 0.224 0.298 0.226 36
2014 Opposite 0.269 0.269 0.346 0.27 67

This is Kyle Seager. Defenses do this because they know he pulls the ball:


Yes, Kyle Seager pulls the ball. A lot. But if you check the chart above and train your eyes to wOBA and RC+, he’s doing this year what he did in 2013, and in fact, he’s been a little better going the opposite way if you want to split hairs.

“He’s been making terrible contact,” I heard. Has he?

Season O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% SwStr%
2011 29.60% 68.70% 48.70% 69.10% 91.40% 84.50% 48.80% 7.50%
2012 30.30% 68.30% 47.90% 66.10% 90.80% 82.40% 46.30% 8.30%
2013 26.30% 63.00% 42.20% 68.50% 90.30% 82.60% 43.40% 7.20%
2014 27.00% 62.50% 42.80% 64.10% 91.20% 81.80% 44.70% 7.30%

Well, no. No he hasn’t. Not by his standards anyway.

And if you’re into the Mark Simon hard-hit tweets, here’s the latest list. And yeah, there’s Kyle Seager just a nose ahead of a few guys named Miggy, Trout, and Puig.

One of the self-help tenets of classic existential crisis therapy is to stop comparing yourself to others. Basically what I’m saying is, if you liked Kyle Seager when the season started, there’s no reason to not like Kyle Seager today. Because Kyle Seager, with the exception of his batting average, is doing exactly what you ought to have expected Kyle Seager to do. And if we know anything at all about batting average, it’s that it is a volatile thing that fluctuates. If you had to wager whether Kyle Seager hits .230 or .260 for the rest of the season, where would you put your money?

Seager is available in about half of Yahoo leagues, and if a third baseman who can hit .260 with 20 home runs, 85 RBI, and 75 runs with maybe seven or eight stolen bases sounds useful to you, then you can holler Yahtzee.

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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

23 Responses to “Existential Crisis and Kyle Seager”

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  1. Andre says:


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  2. Detroit Michael says:

    Tom Tango wrote a few years back that if we have a batter’s BA / OBP / SLG then, batting average does not tell us any additional information about how well a batter has performed. It’s descriptive, but doesn’t really give us data that isn’t already in OBP and SLG.

    That’s no help if someone is playing fantasy baseball with BA but in terms of real world productivity, it’s a nugget worth knowing.

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  3. Pith Lord says:

    carson leads all fangraphs writers in the number of useless words per point made

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    • S. Urista says:

      Pith Lord leads all fangraphs commenters in the number of useless comments.

      +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Table says:

      Are you fing kidding? Jeff Sullivan wins in a landslide. Jeff Sullivan can turn single sentences into a plethora. But that’s ok. That’s Jeff Sulivan’s style. We can accept that. It’s his way of breaking the norm. Even if it’s king of annoying. We love Jeff anyways. Jeff of the plethora of sentences.

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      • RunTeddyRun says:

        Where Cistulli truly leads the pack, that is, of other comparable (and usually far greater) writers, it is that he, i.e., that same author, can infuse a sentence that otherwise states nothing at all into one that veritably drips with stuttering self-reference, ennui, self-deprecation, and total vacuity insofar as baseball-weblog content is concerned.

        But this is part of why we love foul-smelling Cistulli.

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      • Table says:

        Good show sir. Yours be a far more accurate and impressive emulation. If only I were capable of mustering (or conceiving to muster) such a worthy point of worth…I would be forced to take my own life, for it would be completed.

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  4. chris says:

    Love me some Seager except Im thinking about dropping him for a $1 Dominguez about the same numbers going forward.

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  5. Dustin says:

    I’m just shocked that the fangraphs community gave themselves the vapors over a middling Mariners hitter. I can’t wait for the next chat to get my Brad Miller/Nick Franklin/Justin Smoak/Kyle Seager/Dustin Ackley question asked.

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  6. Daniel says:

    just put him up against the rangers and he’s better than mike trout.

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  7. Dick Schofield says:

    Is he better than Pablo Sandoval? Allen Craig?

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  8. Atari says:

    Evan Longoria is killing me. The production I was expecting from him hasn’t been there. I’m surprised more people haven’t written about him.

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  9. BassDefense says:

    I decided against trading for Seager during the off-season in a keeper league, because I was concerned about his 2H ’13 with the increased shifts he was seeing. This data seems to confirm that concern. I’m not sure it’s totally correct to shrug off his numbers because of this. Yes he’s a pull hitter, but he’s seeing more shifts now consistently. He should still produce the HR’s at his usual rate, but that .230 AVG looks more likely to be his new production going forward. Unless he, and all of the other pull happy guys, finally decide to adjust.

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  10. Jim says:

    Was there an internal memo recently at Fangraphs suggesting you all make unintelligible references to existentialism? Struggling as a hitter does not constitute an “existential crisis.” If he went on the disabled list due to the angst induced by the gaze of the crowd, ok. Until that happens, stop using philosophical terms you don’t understand, it doesn’t make you seem more intelligent.

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    • frivoflava29 says:

      “One of the self-help tenets of classic existential crisis therapy is to stop comparing yourself to others. Basically what I’m saying is, if you liked Kyle Seager when the season started, there’s no reason to not like Kyle Seager today.”

      Ya’ll just got served.

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    • SeattleSlew says:

      Overuse of philosophical terms is a common occurrence in many baseball blogs. I always assume writers recently either took a class, read a book, or watched a video and is now attempting to demonstrate their knowledge (or lack of).

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      • Jim says:

        It’s not just baseball writers who fall into this trap, philosophical terms are mis-applied across our culture. Just as Alanis Morissette declared everything shitty to be ironic, to the millennial writer all pessimism is existential. These terms are subtle and difficult to define without an understanding of the underlying context. Carson takes a lot of flack, but he actually does a decent job of using technical terms appropriately. Whether this is due to a deep underlying knowledge or frequent Wikipedia consultation is unclear.

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      • Michael Barr says:
        FanGraphs Supporting Member

        Thanks Kierkegaard(s). Never. Again.

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  11. Thomas says:

    You must have been hanging out at a pretty cool bar.

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  12. omar207 says:

    Like the trolls here. What happened to FG?

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