Heading into the 2017 season, the Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager was coming off a career year where he posted career highs in batting average (.278), on-base percentage (.359), slugging percentage (.499), home runs (30), runs scored (89), and runs batted in (99). He’s also been a model of consistency to some degree. He’s had 20 or more home runs every season dating back to 2012 and his wOBA was .335 or higher dating back to 2013. All together, Seager ranked fifth among third basemen, yet could have been drafted several rounds after the likes of Machado, Arenado, Bryant, or Donaldson. He appeared to be a sound fantasy baseball investment back in March.
Well we’re 71 games into the 2017 season and Seager has just 7 home runs, meaning he’s on pace for about 13. This is not the reliable, yet affordable, player, I thought I was getting on draft day so I’ve decided to dive in and see if Seager’s power has been zapped or if he’s due for an improved second half.
Off the bat, Seager’s BB% and K% are in line with his historic ratios, around 10% and 16% respectively. So no red flags here.
Next, in order to hit for power you need to hit the ball hard and in the air. Seager’s hard hit percentage is 37.8%, a tick below 2016’s 38.7%, but nothing major. Furthermore, his soft hit percentage is 10.8% this year, down from 14.7% last year. By all accounts Seager is still hitting the ball hard. He’s also hitting the ball in the air: his fly ball percentage this year is 48.4%, up from 42.0% last year. Seager has maintained at least a 40% fly ball % every year of his career.
Seems like Seager is getting a bit unlucky and is due for some positive regression, which is backed up by the very low HR/FB rate of 6.6%. Last year, Seager posted a career high HR/FB of 14.6%, and the two seasons before that he had HR/FB rates of 12.1% and 12.9%. The MLB average HR/FB rate this season is 14% and has been trending upwards since 2014. During this time Seager has always been above the league average. For a visual, refer to the graph below, courtesy of Fangraphs.
Based on the above, I’m confident Seager’ power stroke will return for the second half. I think a conservative estimate would be 13 homers over the remaining 90 or so games, to get Seager to the 20 HR mark. If some things go his way he could certainly surpass this projection. If you own any shares of Seager, hang onto them, and if your third base situation is weak I would look into buying if the asking price is discounted for his slow start.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join guest host Andrea LaMont, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday June 18th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #91 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Bilal Chaudry. Bilal is a commissioner, an occassional radio guest, and veteran owner in MLFS leagues.