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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

April 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Kyle Seager moving into elite status at third base (with minor-league report)

Kyle Seager is congratulated  by Kendrys Morales after his homer last night. Photo by Associated Press

Kyle Seager is congratulated by Kendrys Morales after his homer last night. Photo by Associated Press

(Here is today’s Mariner minor-league report).

After a relentless stretch of negativity, the Mariners changed the mood last night, at least temporarily. They put up what I felt was their best all-around game of the season in a 6-0 win over the Angels. They had great pitching, good defense, and an impressive power display, most notably from Carlos Peguero, on a rocket to center that might still be traveling if it hadn’t hit the batter’s eye.

But I want to focus on Kyle Seager, who is emerging not only as their most consistent hitter, but one of the top third basemen in the game. Seager came out of the gate slowly, and was lugging a .147 average (5-for-34) after nine games, with three of those five hits coming in one game. But beginning on April 11, Seager has run off a 14-game hitting streak, during which he has hit .412 (21-for-51) with seven doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs and six weeks, giving him a slash line of .412/.474/.725. It’s the longest active streak in the majors, and ties the league’s longest of the season.

Overall, Seager is up there with the big boys. Among major-league third basemen, he ranks fourth in batting average:

Chris Johnson, Atlanta, .397

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit, .361

Michael Young, Philadelphia, .312

Kyle Seager, Seattle, .306

He ranks fourth in on-base percentage:

Wright .438

Cabrera .432

Johnson .424

Seager .379

He ranks third in slugging percentage:

Johnson .556

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati, .532

Seager .529

Wright .514

Cabrera .506

He ranks fourth in OPS:

Johnson .980

Wright .952

Cabrera .938

Seager .908.

And he ranks tied for third in WAR, which has a defensive component:

Manny Machado, Baltimore 1.5

Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay 1.2

Seager 1.1

Wright 1.1

There’s no guarantee he’ll stay up there, of course. But Seager — who is second in the majors with 10 doubles, behind Mike Napoli’s 11 — had a very solid year in 2012, his first full major-league season, and appears to be building off of that. Out of all the young Mariners’ offensive players, he and Michael Saunders look like the ones who have figured out what it takes to progress and thrive in the major league — Seager the quickest of all.

And maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, because though he wasn’t as highly touted as other prospects, including his former North Carolina teammate Dustin Ackley, Seager out-performed Ackley in the minors. He hit .345 at High Desert in 2010, his first full pro season, leading all of the minor leagues in hits (192) and runs (126). And in 2011, the year he made it to the majors, Seager hit .312 in 66 games at AA Jackson and .387 in 24 games with Tacoma. And now he is conquering the big leagues as well, one consistent bright spot amidst a struggling lineup.

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