Kyle Seager, an Excellent Keeper

This is now two seasons of Kyle Seager we have under our belts and the two seasons look very similar with modest improvements in some key areas, which has pushed Seager from being a slightly above average major league hitter to a very solid fantasy player.

My favorite part about Seager’s game has been the reliability. There were three guys I was pretty much all in on in fantasy this year, Matt Carpenter, Mike Minor, and Kyle Seager. The first two were sort of wildcards, as we had not yet seen them do this in a full season, but we saw Seager produce and be valuable in his first year. The question was whether he would be able to repeat this level of performance or possibly improve from it. He did not have an abnormal BABIP, his walk rate was decent and his strikeout rate wasn’t worrisome, but people had their doubts and it’s why Seager went either very late in fantasy drafts or was not drafted at all.

His follow up season has been just as, if not more, impressive as last year. He has already matched his home run total with 20, and for a guy that is eligible at second base in many fantasy leagues that’s a pretty big plateau. He also has upped his average 16 points and has scored more runs than last year as well. He has dropped in RBI, but that was probably to be expected as 86 is not an easily matched number for a player who’s ISO was expected to be between .160-.190. Sure, it could have happened, but I do not know that anyone was picking Seager up with the expectation that he would match his RBI contributions from last year.

The drop in steals is a bit unfortunate, as my main reason for being a fan was getting 20-10 HR-SB from him this year. The improvements in the other areas have made me feel that loss a bit less, but it is one area that he has not matched from last season.
Going into next year, Seager will lose any second base eligibility he had since he has solely played third base this year. There is at least a bit of a concern with his defense, as he was -7 last year and is -9 this year. I do not expect a position switch for Seager any time in the near future, but one could conceivably be warranted. Being solely a third baseman dings his fantasy value just a bit, but again since he was drafted so late or in even some cases not drafted, his keeper value is superb.

Guys who post second seasons much similar to their first, specifically where they improve their BB%, K%, and ISO always catch my eye. It reminds me somewhat of Freddie Freeman’s second season, which gives me some confidence that Seager may be even better next year than we have seen so far.

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Ben Duronio writes for Capitol Avenue Club, FanGraphs, and does the Sports Illustrated Power Rankings. Follow Ben on twitter @Ben_Duronio.

6 Responses to “Kyle Seager, an Excellent Keeper”

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  1. FeslenR says:

    If guys like Miller and Franklin improve, Seager may very well have a monster year next season.

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  2. surista says:

    Nice article. You noted the key keeper question near the end: ‘Going into next year, Seager will lose any second base eligibility he had since he has solely played third base this year’. Note that even this year he wasn’t 2B eligible in ESPN leagues, AFAIK.

    Further, he still can’t hit lefties worth a lick:
    2013: vs L .238, vs R .298
    2012: vs L .237, vs R .272
    2011: vs L .229, vs R. 265

    The drop in RBIs this year was expected since last year he he had a RISP avg of .308 last year. Down to .250 this year which is more reasonable.

    As noted, his BB% and K% have improved, which is encouraging. I’m not convinced he’s really a speed guy (only 3 triples in 3 years), but he still looks like a solid 20 HR / 10 SB guy. In a middle infield slot, that’s great. At 3B? I’m not convinced. Obviously a top-10 3B, and great value if you have him where he was going last year (16-18th round), but I wouldn’t trade away any significant asset for him. In fact, I’d definitely rather go with, say, Gyorko: will still be 2B/3B eligible next year, and he’s going to pretty much match Seager’s HR totals this year despite playing 30 fewer games. Not bad for his first year in the bigs. Seager has a two-year head start, but I think there’s room for Gyorko to improve his poor BB% and K% rates.

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    • Justin says:

      Gyorko had a very solid walk rate in his first two months, and it’s really gone to crap post injury.

      His walk rate by month

      9.6%, 7.4%, 4.7%, 0.0%, 2.4%

      His K% is trending in the wrong direction too. I’m a tad bit worried. I haven’t watched him much post injury, but just looking at his stats I see his swing rate has climbed over 50% when I remember it sitting in the mid 40′s earlier in the season when his obp wasn’t dreadful. He’s having BABIP trouble now too, but I don’t know how much of that to attribute to his swing rate shooting up especially on balls out of the zone, or just on variance.

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  3. cs3 says:

    In a standard sized keeper league with a reasonably limited number of keepers, how valuable is keeping a player who is only 3rd or 4th tier at his position?
    Even with his success this year, Seager is still only the 10th ranked 3B in Yahoo. And next year does anyone really expect him to out-produce:

    And that list does not even account for players who have recently or are currently posting better seasons than Seagers most optimistic projections:

    Yes, there might be “value” keeping Seager in say the 20th round, or for near the minimum salary, but if 75% of the league has a better starting 3B than you do, how valuable is it really? At some point you need to keep the players that produce most, regardless of pure value, because if you don’t somebody else will draft them and you’ll be at a distinct disadvantage.

    Basically in order for keeping Seager to be a plausible, you must either be in a very deep league, or have a a huge number of players that are kept (full dynasty league), or play in an auction league where he is keepable at the minimum salary and can be used as a bench option unless a better starting alternative is won in bidding.

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  4. joe Don says:

    Just for fun, check out Seager’s career #’s against Texas. It’s enough to make a Rangers fan puke.

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  5. Kevin Wiley says:

    Wondering how the addition of Robinson Cano will affect Seager’s value? Will he bat 2nd in front of Cano?

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