Kyle Seager: Top 5 third basemen
I have written a few times about Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager in these Roundups, but have written very little about his older brother, Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager. Seager plays in the upper northwest, and most of his games end very late at night, so he doesn’t get the press that his younger brother does playing in one of the biggest cities in the U.S., but he is every bit as good as Corey.
Last night, Kyle went 2-2 with with 2 walks and a run scored in the Mariners come from behind win over Trevor Rosenthal and the Cardinals. Seeger is now hitting .266-.349-.504 with 15 home runs, 43 runs scored, 48 RBI and a solid 47-32 strikeout to walk rate 315 plate appearances.
Among other qualified third baseman, Seager ranks in the top 10 in home runs, runs scored and RBI, and ranks 16th in batting average. His splits going back to last season shows that his home ball park depresses his home run totals, as he hits more home runs on the road than at home. This season, he has hit 10 of his 15 home runs on the road. Last season, he hit 19 of his 26 bombs away from Safeco. He is on pace to hit 33 home runs and drive in over 100 runs. ZiPS projects him to hit 14 home runs and drive in 48 runs over the rest of the season.
Seager is proving that he is one of the top 5 fantasy third baseman, but doesn’t get the love that guys like Kris Bryant, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado receive from the MLB media. He should continue to present value to fantasy owners going into 2017, as the four third baseman mentioned get more love, but Seager is just as good in the counting stats, and should continue to come at a cheaper price.
Speaking of Corey, he had himself a big night at the plate last night as well, going 4-5 with a run scored and an RBI in the Dodgers 8-6 loss to the Pirates. Seager raised his slash line to .298-.355-.527 with 16 home runs, 48 runs scored and 38 RBI, and is on pace to hit 35 home runs, score over 100 runs and drive in over 80 runs. He has hit in eight straight games, and has multiple hits in five of his last six games. Among qualified shortstops, he ranks in the top six in home runs, runs scored, RBI and batting average, and is probably a top 2-3 fantasy shortstop the rest of the way. With Manny Machado gaining shortstop eligibility this season, he is the #1 fantasy shortstop right now, while Seager will challenge Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts for the #2 ranking.
I didn’t hide my love for Astros outfielder George Springer in the offseason, ranking him in my top 3 among fantasy outfielders, so I was the high man among Fake Teams position rankers. The potential for a 30 home run, 30 stolen base season was too hard to overlook, and I was confident he could achieve that projection in 2016. Thought the first two and half months, Springer is hitting for power, but not running as much. That said, he is healthy and hasn’t required time on the disabled list. Last night, he had a night at the plate......in the first inning. Springer led off the game with a triple, and as the Astros batted around against Royals starter Edinson Volquez, he hit a grand slam in his second at bat in the first inning. He finished the game going 3-5 with a walk, 3 runs scored and 5 RBI, and is now hitting .266-.358-.475 with 16 home runs, 51 runs scored, 46 RBI and 6 stolen bases. He is on pace to hit over 30 home runs and steal 13 bases. His success rate on steal attempts is not good, so he will have to improve in that area before he can get to the 20 stolen base level. Looking at his batted ball data over on FanGraphs, he doesn’t hit the ball hard as much as I thought (31%), and his fly ball rate is less than 30% at the moment, so he will have to change his approach a bit if he is going to be a regular 30 home run hitter going forward.
The Padres attempted to build a winner last season and that failed, and their fans have had to endure an even worse season in 2016. Yet, one of the bright spots in the Padres lineup, and he’s one of the bigger surprises in fantasy terms, is first baseman Will Myers. Last night, Myers went 3-5 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 5 RBI in the Padres 13-4 win over the Reds. The big night raised his slash line to .289-.340-.533 with 17 home runs, 49 home runs, 50 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. He is on pace to hit over 30 home runs, drive in over 100 runs and steal over 20 bases. He is basically putting up the type of season that we expected from Paul Goldschmidt, and is actually outperforming Goldy in four of the five fantasy categories to date. He ranks second only to Goldschmidt in fWAR among first baseman right now, and is proving to be the steal of fantasy drafts in 2016. After several injury-filled seasons, Myers is showing us that, when healthy, he can reach the potential we all saw in him as a prospect. Pat yourself on the back for drafting Myers this season.
Another bright spot in the Padres lineup this season is Myers former teammate in Tampa, outfielder Melvin Upton Jr.. Last night, Upton went 3-5 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI, and is now hitting .263-.313-.430 with 11 home runs, 36 runs scored, 36 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He has hit in eight of his last nine games, with multiple hits in six of those eight games. He is on pace for 20+ home runs and 30+ stolen bases and for some reason is available in over 60% of leagues right now. Why?
Another outfielder who is under-owned at the moment is Rangers leadoff hitter and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. He is recently back from the disabled list as has played in just 16 games this season, so maybe fantasy owners forgot about him. Don’t make that mistake. Choo is coming off a season where he hit 22 home runs, scored over 90 runs and drove in over 80 runs while getting on base at a .375 clip. Now healthy, Choo is back leading off for the Rangers, and last night he went 2-4 with a home run and an RBI in the Rangers 8-7 loss to the Red Sox. Choo has hit in seven of his last 10 games, and is now hitting .241-.414-.426 with 3 home runs, 10 runs scored, 8 RBI, 2 stolen bases and a 13-13 strikeout to walk rate in his 70 plate appearances. It’s a small sample size, but Choo is seeing a huge increase in hard contact (44% vs 33% in 2015) and fly balls (43% vs 29% in 2015) this season. With the weather now warming up in Texas, Choo should provide owners with solid power and run scoring totals the rest of the way. He is owned in just 46% of ESPN leagues right now, and that is way too low for Choo, who hits in a very good Rangers lineup.
The Mets got good news on ace Noah Syndergaard on Friday, but the performance of starter Steven Matz last night is giving them another young starter to worry about. According to ESPN's Adam Rubin, Matz is dealing with tightness in his elbow:
Steven Matz downplayed the elbow tightness he has dealt with of late, noting it did not inhibit him in the opening four innings as he breezed on Friday.
And here is more from Rubin:
New York Mets left-hander Steven Matz repeatedly rubbed his pitching elbow while in the dugout before taking the mound for the bottom of the fifth inning Friday. Then, his velocity dipped as he surrendered six runs and recorded only one out in the inning.
Still, Matz suggested the elbow tightness he has endured of late was not a factor in his meltdown.
Not something you want to hear if you are a Mets fan or a Matz owner.
Matz was causing thought the first four innings of last night's game vs the Braves, then he couldn't get out of the fifth inning, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits, no walks and ZERO strikeouts. Over his last four starts, he has given up 14 runs on 30 hits, 4 walks and 20 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. The K-BB rate is fine, but there has to be concern after his performance last night, especially with the dip in velocity. He has already had one Tommy John surgery, so his elbow tightness is a big cause for concern right now. At this point, he won't miss a start, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Mets skip his new start to make sure his elbow is sound.
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