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In the Seattle Mariners' ongoing playing-time shuffle, hot-corner patroller Kyle Seager looks to be emerging victorious with a .344-3-13 line in 32 May at-bats. He's a hot fantasy pickup, and Dustin Ackley's early-season slump might award Seager keystone eligibility in many fantasy setups.
A third-round selection in the 2009 draft, he was pegged as more of an extra-base-hit compiler instead of a true home-run artist. Seager has gained some bulk over the last few years, however, and worked on his strength and conditioning over the winter.
Though his HR/FB of 9.8 percent might be an unsustainable baseline given his 6-foot, 195-pound frame, his fly-ball boost shows that his offseason work wasn't a tease. His four taters in 108 at-bats on the year already topped the trio he clubbed in nearly twice as many at-bats during his 2011 MLB stint.
Seager was never really a walk taker in the minors, and that could bite him if he starts seeing fewer fastballs. But his growing pop (which could reach 15 homers this year) is proving a welcome complement to his plate coverage; getting a pitch on the black by him has proven difficult. Hitting more grounders would facilitate his in-play clip, but his abundance of liners says he could become a consistent BABIP overachiever.
Struggles versus left-handed arms remain a hindrance, especially with southpaw-smashing Alex Liddi in tow for platoon duty. Seager has had some fly-ball fortune versus lefties so far - the rest of his profile looks quite barren and might be his eventual undoing.
His gap power makes him somewhat immune to the typical Safeco Field pitfalls; big parks can aid his style. Unfortunately, he's a pull hitter, which limits how much he can take advantage of all sectors. A narrow spray can be manipulated by opposing pitchers unless your name is, say, Jose Bautista. And of course, this lineup has quite a few holes, so his RBI opportunities might dwindle, and if he becomes one of the focal points at the heart of the order, he might be pitched around a bit more.
Still, even if Seager's BA plummets is relegated to fantasy matchup duty, he'll log double-digit homers and base thefts in a full season. With the injury plague that has hit fantasy third basemen, that's enough to make Seager a potential long-term, deep-mixed asset.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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