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How Underrated is Kyle Seager?

Manny Machado

As a proud member of the Northwest, I am blessed (or not) to watch plenty of Seattle Mariners games. As you likely know, the Mariners, well, they’re not so hot, and besides the wondrous abilities of a few players like King Felix Hernandez it’s been a painful few years.

More recently, however, there’s been much cause to enjoy a Mariners’ game aside from when Hernandez or Hisashi Iwakuma pitches, thanks to third baseman Kyle Seager. Who’s that now? Your casual baseball fan might be asking? And therein lies the problem.

Recently during a Mariners ROOT Sports broadcast, which yes, would never be accused of not giving the home team the ‘benefit of the doubt’, a compelling point was raised regarding Seager and Manny Machado. The argument being that Seager and Machado belong in the same ‘wow are these kids super good’ kind of conversation.

Now, no one is trying to suggest that the tears of joy Machado has prompted throughout Baltimore and beyond aren’t warranted. The 21 year-old third baseman is clearly on the fast track to superstardom. The thing is, you hear much, much more about Machado in the mainstream press, then the 25 year-old Seager whose numbers aren’t that far off.

As of August 8th, Seager is batting .294, has an OBP of .360 and a slugging percentage of .481. Machado’s slash line currently sits at .297/.327/ .454. Seager has put together an OPS of .841, and Machado has scored a .781. Seager has hit 17 homeruns, 27 doubles, 2 triples and batted in 52 runs. Machado has smacked 10 dingers, a ridiculous 40 doubles, three triples and has 54 RBI.

If we want to look at some other offensive metrics, Seager has a weighted on base average of .365 with the good folks at Fangraphs. Manny has a wOBA of .340. Seager has a weighted runs created plus of 134, and Machado has a wRC+ of 112.

Of course, offence is just one side of the game, and if you peruse baseball highlights regularly, then you know that Machado is a wizard when it comes to flashing the leather. While Mariners boosters might argue that Seager is much more gifted at fielding than observers give him credit for, Machado is a clear winner in this respect. Currently, Seager’s fielding runs above average with Fangraphs sits at a -0.1, while Machado’s is an awe inspiring 19.8.

One last sabermetric point: according to Fangraphs, Seager is sitting at 4.1 wins above replacement (which if you’re not a stats nerd, all you need to know is that Mike Trout’s WAR for 2012 was a god like 10), and Machado’s is 4.8. That’s ridiculously impressive stuff, and as you hopefully noted, there’s not much difference in the all encompassing metric.

So, you decide. Considering how much you hear about Machado (and for good reason), how underrated is Seager in comparison? Sure, Seager is a few years older, and that’s partially why, but if he was playing for the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, or yes, the Orioles, how big a star would he be?