Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Kyle Seager, more

by Chris Hadorn on July 7, 2011 @ 13:41:56 PDT

 


Your fantasy baseball rankings look a little stale. KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact, whether it's in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league two years from now.

It only took 12 Triple-A games to convince the Seattle Mariners that Kyle Seager is ready for The Show.

The Mariners will purchase Seager's contract from Triple-A Tacoma today, and he will serve as the team's primary third baseman on a regular basis.

Promoted to Triple-A Tacoma in late June, Seager put on a hitting clinic in the Pacific Coast League the last two weeks, batting .455 with two home runs, 12 RBIs, 16 runs scored and a 1.173 OPS.

For the season, the infielder is hitting a combined .336 with six home runs, 49 RBIs, 49 runs scored and an .896 OPS.

A second baseman by trade, Seager has long been overshadowed by his former North Carolina Tar Heel teammate Dustin Ackley, the Mariners' blue chip prospect who also plays the keystone.

Due to Ackley's presence, Seager has been moved around the infield, playing second base, third base and shortstop the last three years since he has entered professional baseball.

While Seager lacks the home run pop that is often desired from a third baseman, he is a pure hitter who holds a .329 career average in the minors. The 23-year-old has a firm grasp of the strike zone and an advanced approach at the plate. He is a line-drive-hitting machine that swatted 40 doubles in 2010 and added another 29 two-baggers this season.

Since he was selected in the third round of the 2009 draft, Seager has arguably outhit Ackley as the latter held only a career .280 average at the time of his big league promotion.

Because of his small stature (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) and lack of power projection, Seager has never been taken too seriously as a prospect and has been labeled as a utility player by some. However, it's hard to argue with the success that Seager has enjoyed at the plate; his numbers speak volumes.

In time, Seager has the hitting ability to develop into a .280 to .300 hitter at the major league level who can reach base consistently and score runs. Eventually, he could put up numbers similar to Chase Headley, minus five to 10 steals.

Based on his strong hitting profile, Seager is worthy of add consideration in all AL-only formats.

***

Another middle infielder, Zack Cozart, is also on his way to the majors.

Cozart, 25, was checked into the Cincinnati Reds' team hotel Thursday and is expected to join them in Milwaukee today. The Reds have yet to announce whom Cozart will replace on the 25-man roster.

The shortstop hit .310 with seven home runs, 32 RBIs, 57 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 323 at-bats with Triple-A Louisville.

Based on his career, Cozart has good pop and wheels, but he hasn't been much of a batting average contributor until this season, holding a .270 lifetime mark in the minors. Critics feel he can get too power-conscious at times, undermining his overall hitting approach.

It will be interesting to see if the Reds hand him the keys to the shortstop position on a full-time basis because Paul Janish (.227 batting average) and Edgar Renteria (.229) have not done the job.

***

New York Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero (back stiffness) has been placed on the seven-day disabled list. Montero, 21, is hitting .289 with seven home runs, 33 RBIs, 27 runs scored, and a .763 OPS in 273 at-bats with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

***

Cleveland Indians southpaw Drew Pomeranz continues to breeze through the high Class A Carolina League. The fifth overall pick of the 2010 draft tossed seven shutout innings, picking up the win in Kinston's 3-1 victory over Lynchburg. Pomeranz struck out seven, while holding Lynchburg's batters to only three hits and two walks.

In 77 innings, Pomeranz has gone 3-2, with a 1.87 ERA, and a 95:32 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has surrendered only two home runs all year long!

***

In an efficient outing, Kansas City Royals left-hander Mike Montgomery tossed five innings of one-run ball, taking a no-decision in Triple-A Omaha's 5-4 victory over New Orleans last night.

Montgomery allowed five hits and no walks, while fanning five. Of his 59 pitches, 43 were for strikes, which is an encouraging outing considering the southpaw has been plagued by command issues this year. The southpaw has averaged 4.88 walks per nine innings this year, and his 1.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the lowest of his professional career.

***

C.J. Cron, the 2011 first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from the University of Utah, has gotten off to a fine start in his professional debut with Orem of the rookie level Pioneer League. The hulking 6-foot-4, 235-pound slugger is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with two home runs, seven RBIs, seven runs scored and a 1.236 OPS in his first six games.

***

Outfielder Michael Choice homered in his fifth consecutive game, leading high Single-A Stockton to a 13-6 thumping of High Desert. The Oakland Athletics prospect is hitting .272 with 22 home runs, 62 RBIs, 60 runs scored, nine steals and a .923 OPS in 316 at-bats.

Selected by the A's with the 10th overall pick in 2010, Choice has impressive tools, especially power and speed. The biggest worry right now is his strikeout totals, which could be a result of his unusual swing that scouts feel opposing pitchers can take advantage of. He has struck out 93 times this season, averaging a whiff every 3.40 at-bats. Plus, his .272 average is unimpressive considering the hitter-friendly nature of the California League.

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About Chris Hadorn

Chris Hadorn has covered minor league and amateur prospects for more than a decade. He writes for San Diego's North County Times and has been a KFFL fantasy baseball contributor since 2006.


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