Here’s a fun one. In one corner of this AL West hot corner showdown, we have Kyle Seager, Seattle’s wonderful 29-year old third baseman. In the other we have Adrián Beltré, himself once Seattle’s wonderful 29-year-old third baseman and now a living legend in the fields of comedy, fielding, and comedy in the field, to name a few. Will the Beltré prevail, or will the brash young upstart take his spot? Let’s find out!
Last season, Beltré hit an even .300, marking the sixth time in the last eight seasons he’s done it. His prolonged third act has featured tremendous batting averages year after year and there’s no reason to expect anything different in 2017. To wit, he could lose 21 points off that average and still beat Seager’s best year, though in fairness to Seager, it was last year, when he hit .278. There’s reason to think he could improve, but he’s unlikely to catch Beltré even if he does. Advantage: Beltré
Last season, Seager squeaked by Beltré by a solitary, sorry hundredth of a point, .359 to .358. It marked Seager’s career high in a year featuring a regular ol’ Beltré output, with a higher margin of error baked in for the latter: He could go higher. It seems unlikely Seager will go prevail unless he strikes up a sweaty summer romance with the BABIP gods, but they are fickle enough to not be trusted. Advantage: Beltré
Seager’s power is real, and it’s pretty resilient. He had 30 home runs last season, a career high, and he hasn’t had fewer than 20 as a full-time starter. Beltré, of course, is also still a homer waiting to happen. He hit 32 last year after falling below 20 for two seasons, but hit more than 30 for the four seasons before that, so… you’d expect him to fall somewhere in the mid-to-high 20s, all things considered. That’s just above where Seager has made his living, so it’s really a question of how real you think Seager’s gains are, and I’m tempted to pick him just to keep the matchup close. Good enough for me. Advantage: Seager
These teams both bang, and these guys live in the same neighborhood for RBI. Beltré topped Seager 104 to 96 last year, and has topped him every year except once, in 2014, and his slight advantages from year to year are a result seem to be mostly a result of being a slightly better hitter, which he is. Rocket science! If I expected Seager to actually top 30 homers again, I’d probably pick him here, but I think he’ll fall underneath it, edge out Beltré in dingers, but fall to him in RBI. How’s that for a prediction? Advantage: Beltré
It’s the same exact logic as the RBI section, but an even better bet for Beltré thanks to the OBP advantage. Advantage: Beltré
Beltré has a single steal in each of the last six seasons. Sassy. Seager has had a steady drop off every season since he went double-digits in 2012, but still managed three last year. He’s a lock. Advantage: Seager
In this case I think this category is as as much “injury prevention-program-related absence risk” as it is “injury risk;” these guys almost never get hurt, so the bigger question is whether or not they’re going to play every day. Beltré played 153 games last season and hasn’t played fewer than 143 games since 2011, which is insane for someone his age. Seager has averaged 160 games a year for four years. That’s, uh, good. It’s hard to beat Beltré here on the merits, but he does it. Advantage: Seager
Hear me out: I don’t know if Seager has this one locked up. My first thought was that it had to be Seager, because words mean things, but devil’s advocate: If Seager hit .300/.358/.521 next year, the counting stats would be wild, but that’s exactly what Beltré did last year. I’m just saying that unless Beltré is drafted like a guy who will get those numbers, he possesses tremendous upside as a late-round or cheap pick. But as a player, no, he will not reach his ceiling this year. Seager could, and that’s more of what I think the upside question is asking. Advantage: Seager
This matchup is really close, but I trust the Mariners with my fantasy sanity as far as I can throw them, and the other guy is Adrian Freaking Beltré, the god, so it’s not a hard one. Some things are just bigger than us, and love of Beltré is one.
And the winner is… Adrian Beltre.
Thank you for reading
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