Six games into the 2012 season, Kyle Seager has a .333/.360/.417 line and is owned in approximately 40% of ottoneu leagues. And that rate is dropping.
Seager is playing every day right now, but with Mike Carp on the verge of a rehab assignment and Franklin Gutierrez on his way back, the Mariners outfield is about to get awfully crowded, which will push the resurgent Chone Figgins back to third, and Seager to…probably the bench. On top of that, his bat probably isn’t good enough to play everyday at 3B. But I am not ready to sell.
First and foremost, Seager is 2B and SS eligible in ottoneu leagues. His line may not hold up at 3B, but it should at MI. The solid start this year is not coming from nowhere. In 2011, Seager put up a .312/.381/.459 slash in Double-A, followed it up with a .387/.444/.585 showing in Triple-A, and then had a respectable debut as a 23-year-old, putting up a .691 OPS in a tough hitting environment in Seattle (his road OPS? .828).
This isn’t the track record of a future MVP – and to be honest, it probably doesn’t foretell a future as a long-term answer for the Mariners, particularly with Dustin Ackley locked in at 2B, which is probably the best position for Seager’s bat. But does suggest a guy who can have some value in a MI role on a fantasy team.
I also don’t believe Seager will be on the bench as often as expected. Last season, the Mariners used Seager at 3B (42 games), 2B (3 games), and SS (10 games) and while his defense was not particularly strong at SS, it was passable at 2B (I say this less based on a 11.1 UZR/150 over 24 innings and more on having watched him play two of those three games). While Munenori Kawasaki is the Mariners utility infielder at the moment, spelling Brendan Ryan and Ackley on occasion, I fully expect Seattle to play Seager in that role once he gets displaced from 3B. Not exactly known as an offensive juggernaut, this team needs every bat they can find a spot for, and Seager is a significantly better bat than Kawasaki.
Finally, I fully expect the Mariners to shop Figgins at some point this year, and while there will be others pushing for time at 3B when that happens (Alex Liddi and Vincent Catricala being the most likely candidates), I expect Seager to get the first shot.
If you have a 25-man roster, or need an everyday MI, Seager probably doesn’t fit. But for a 40-man ottoneu roster, Seager is a solid platoon/reserve option. While others are cutting bait on him as his teammates return from injury, you can make an easy (if small) profit by grabbing him cheap and taking advantage of his positional eligibility.