Remember Kyle Seager?
Third baseman for the Seattle Mariners?
It's strange, for a guy that led his team in a handful of key offensive categories last year, you're not hearing too much about him so far this spring.
With all of the excitement surrounding Felix Hernandez's contract extension, the additions of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, and the questions surrounding the young trio of Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak, Seager seems to be a bit of an afterthought.
I myself am guilty of this oversight given the fact that I lumped Seager in with the rest of the M's youngsters during my 2013 season preview earlier this week.
Yet when you really think about it, it seems ridiculous to ignore a player who in his first full season as a professional hit .259 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI as the M's starting third baseman after he barely made the team's opening day roster.
As we look ahead to 2013, the big question is whether Seager can build upon last year's breakthrough performance or will he end up like Mike Carp?
Remember Carp and his breakout performance in the second half of 2011?
On opening day in 2012 he was the team's starting left fielder in Tokyo, but before most of us were even awake to get the final score, Carp was on his way to the DL after spraining his right shoulder. From there things only got worse and just this week Carp was shipped off to Boston for either cash or a player to be named later.
Could the same thing happen to Seager?
It's possible, but I have my doubts.
Looking back to last season, what impressed me most about Seager was his consistency. Beyond a rough stretch at the end of June/early July, Seager made contact from April through October. Every time you thought he would fade, he would go out and deliver a clutch hit to drive in two runs.
While I doubt he will lead the M's in home runs and RBI in 2013, it will be interesting to see how additions like Morse and Morales in the middle of the order will affect Seager's numbers. Right now the current projections from Fangraphs have him hitting roughly .270 with 15 HR and 70 RBI.
By themselves those numbers won't quite amaze anyone, but if you add them to a reasonably healthy and more consistent lineup, perhaps the Mariners offense will actually start to frighten opponents?
It's all part of a domino effect that will hopefully take hold this season, but even if it doesn't I doubt Seager will embarrass himself.
Deep down I believe Seager will remain a key fixture in Seattle as one of the team's more productive players at the plate for this and several years to come.
Feel free to doubt him, as Kyle Seager is the kind of gritty player that is easy to underestimate, but in time I like to think both fans and foes alike will come to realize that he's a keeper.
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