What do you get when you combine a nice rookie season with a bunch of fantasy baseball owners who are looking for a dark horse in their upcoming drafts? High hopes. And that is what is likely to occur with the Seattle Mariner's sophomore 3B, Kyle Seager. Kyle had a nice major league debut, and over the next couple of paragraphs I will lay out the details on what I expect will be a nice follow up in 2013, but I also believe owners should temper those expectations.
Kyle treated his fantasy owners (as well as his Seattle Mariner owners) to a solid rookie season. He batted .259, hit 20 home runs, drove in 86 runners, stole 13 bags, and scored 62 runs. If you were savvy enough to draft him, you probably got him late, and smiled every time you looked at your corner infield position. After a debut like this, though, fantasy owners want to know what they might expect in 2013. I'm here for you. Let's take a look. Since I started with the batting average earlier, and I'm all about consistency, let's start there. Kyle's .259 was not bad, and fantasy owners may see some improvement in 2013. Historically (minors and majors), Kyle has always had a respectable contact rate. Last year he struck out less than 17%, right in line with his historical performance, and while he still needs to work on his plate patience, his history and 2012 underlying stats give me some confidence that he can bat in the .262 neighborhood.
Power? Mr. Seager has that. His underlying power index is slightly above league average, but I wonder if that is going to be enough to hit another 20 home runs in the pitching haven that is Safeco Field. In addition, all those games in Anaheim and Oakland will not help matters. I'm not that bullish. I think 18 home runs is about all owners will get. Not bad, but not 20. Speed? Kyle has that too, and I think double digit stolen bases are within reach, and it would not surprise me (especially since I am projecting it) if he gets 11 of those. Rounding out the counting stats, I think high-50s in runs and low-70s for RBI are reasonable.
A 2013 stat line of 59 runs, 18 home runs, 71 RBI, 11 SB, and a .262 batting average is nice, but it will not take Kyle into the starting 3B tier in a 15 team mixed league. That said, like he was in 2012, he should be a valuable corner infielder, and if you are in a dynasty or keeper league, Kyle is someone you should consider keeping. His underlying numbers should continue to be strong, and Kyle could make it into that starting 3B tier in the next couple of years.