Postseason ride a family affair for Seagers
SEATTLE -- Over the past several years, Kyle Seager has established himself as one of the top young third basemen in baseball, a core member of the Mariners' future and a 2014 American League All-Star and AL Gold Glove Award winner. But all the while, Seager kept saying his little brother, Corey, was the one with all the talent.
"He's going to be something special," Seager would tell anybody who'd listen while his brother was playing high school ball in North Carolina and then zipping his way through the Dodgers' Minor League system after being drafted in the first round in 2012.
That prediction played out on the national stage for Corey Seager, but the 21-year-old shortstop, who went 3-for-16 in five games in the National League Division Series, had a short run in the postseason after the Dodgers were eliminated by the Mets.
Jealous that his little brother, six years his junior, reached the postseason before he did? Not at all.
"I couldn't be prouder or more happy for him," Kyle said. "It's an extremely exciting time for not only me, but our entire family."
Kyle and his wife, Julie, debated whether to go see Corey play in person during the playoffs, but so far have opted to stay home in Salisbury, N.C., with their young son, Crue, and watch on TV while resting up following the Mariners' season.
Whenever Corey concludes his first season in the Majors -- he hit .337 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 27 regular-season games after being called up on Sept. 3 -- he'll join the rest of the Seagers back in rural North Carolina. It's that kind of family.
Kyle, Corey and middle brother Justin, who played for Class A Advanced Bakersfield in the Mariners' system this past year, work out together daily during the offseason. The three have always competed with each other in everything from ping-pong to basketball to backyard football and, of course, baseball.
"We grew up on a little farm, so we have a pretty good-sized front yard and were constantly out there playing and doing all that stuff," Kyle said. "We used to play a lot of basketball, but they're both taller and stronger now, so that doesn't really work for me much."
Kyle wound up being the shortest of the trio, which Corey tops at a lanky 6-foot-4. But Kyle set the tone from the start as a baseball junkie who his younger brothers followed closely throughout his career.
"They didn't have much of a choice, I guess," Kyle said with a smile. "He and Justin were in the car going to my games most of the time. Then all through high school and all that stuff, they were obviously there with my parents."
The Dodgers have been so impressed by the youngster that he's supplanted veteran Jimmy Rollins as the starting shortstop since hitting .426 (20-for-47) with six doubles and a home run in his first 13 games.
None of that has surprised a big brother who saw this coming long ago.
"He's been really good for as long as I can remember," said Kyle. "I remember watching his 8-, 9-, 10-year-old games and he was always a little bit different. He always had a really good arm and was always a little bit bigger, and he just continued to work hard.
"He always had the ability to slow down the game. I think it's pretty rare for a guy that works really hard that also can slow the game down and has the ability to kind of breathe like he does. He's pretty special, and he's going to do good things for a long time."
Corey Seager says having big brothers in the game -- including one in the Majors -- helped pave his path.
"Easy is the wrong word, but I've been around the game for so long that you kind of adapt to it," he said. "It's almost who you are."
Corey and Kyle have never been on the same team, because of their age difference, but Kyle has been able to pass things on that he's learned along the way.
"He's already made it, and he knows how to talk to us in our own lingo," Corey said.
Kyle says Corey's ability to grasp and use that information is what makes him unique.
"I remember getting called up in 2011, and he was still in high school," Kyle said. "Going back that offseason, and we're hitting and I'm showing him things I'd learned, and I can specifically remember showing him some stuff and him just getting it. And then him being better at it than me right then.
"You're kind of a little frustrated that your high school brother is already better than you and you're in the big leagues, but he's got a lot of natural ability and he works extremely hard and picks up on things really well. I couldn't be happier for him."