By David Krueger Herald Writer
EVERETT — Before he even makes his professional baseball debut, Justin Seager has helped keep an impressive streak intact.
By being picked by the Seattle Mariners in the 12th round, Justin made sure the Seager brothers are 3-for-3 in the baseball draft. Kyle was picked by the Mariners in the third round in 2009 and Corey was taken No. 18 overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012
Justin joins Kyle in the Mariners organization, bringing a familiar name for Mariners’ fans to Everett. The middle brother of the three, Justin is “beyond excited” to be playing with the Everett AquaSox as the team opens its Northwest League season today on the road against the Spokane Indians.
“I can’t wait to get going,” Justin said. “It’s such a blessing. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to working with Seattle because they’ve been so good to (Kyle). Hopefully they’ll be really good to me and hopefully I can perform as well as he has.”
At Everett, Justin will be coached by second-year manager Rob Mummau, who briefly met Justin when he signed Kyle to a contract with the Mariners.
“He’s a good-sized kid,” Mummau said of Justin. “Looks like he’s got a good swing and a pretty good arm. The versatility is good. He can play first, second, third, corner outfield. He’s a good kid all around.”
Mummau hopes Justin can emulate Kyle, who has been belting balls ever since Mummau scouted him.
“I just loved the way (Kyle) went about the game,” Mummau said. “He was a gamer. He can really hit. He squared up a lot of balls in college. That’s the one thing, he could just barrel the balls up left and right. That was his one carrying tool, and he’s still doing it.”
Kyle has long been a good source of advice and information for both Justin and Corey, the youngest of the three brothers. Justin will continue counting on Kyle’s advice as he builds his professional career.
“He’s helped me a tremendous amount, especially the past couple of years when he’s gotten in Seattle’s organization and learned so much from them,” Justin said. “He was able to pass some of that to me. To be a good role model and to do it the right way and to play the game the right way. He’s always done that. He’s showed me that hard work will eventually pay off. Just keep working hard and good things will happen.”
When Kyle saw the Mariners had drafted his younger brother, he made sure he was one of the first to call and congratulate Justin.
“I was watching the draft and I saw it on my iPad. (When) I saw his name go, I jumped up and down a little bit then I ran in and got my phone and gave him a call,” Kyle said. “I got to talk to him pretty shortly after which was pretty cool.”
Which Seager was more excited during that phone call?
“I don’t know. I was pretty excited,” Kyle said. “But this is his dream as well. This is a big day for him and he’s worked extremely hard for this. For him to get the opportunity is pretty special.”
All three Seagers play the infield: Kyle starts at third base for the Mariners; Corey, 19, is a shortstop at Class A Great Lakes; and Justin is a corner infielder, playing third or first base. Because of their age difference, Kyle, 25, and Justin, 21, have never played on a team together.
At 6-feet, 2-inches, Justin is a couple inches taller than his older brother. Corey stands above them all at 6-4.
“Kyle gets a lot of business about being the shorter of the three,” said Jeff Seager, the boys’ father.
The boys’ mother Jody Seager quickly added: “During pictures, Kyle always gets on a hill.”
The Seager kids always have worked well together and gotten along, the father said, Well, mostly anyway.
“They fought like normal kids growing up. But they’ve always supported each other,” Jeff said. “Kyle’s always been very helpful to both his brothers, teaching them things, showing them new things that he’s learning as he’s gone through it and it’s helped both of them.”
Jeff and Jody Seager, who live in North Carolina, were invited by the Mariners to visit the Northwest to watch Kyle play in Seattle and to see Justin off on his new adventure with the AquaSox. Having two sons play about 30 miles from each other should make family trips out west a bit easier.
“I think it’ll save them a little bit on the travel, that’s for sure,” Kyle said. “They can knock out two birds with one stone. It’s really exciting and I think just having all three of us now in professional baseball is definitely exciting.”
Kyle started out at Class A Clinton, making Everett unfamiliar territory to mom and dad.
“That’s the one level that we’ve never seen,” Jeff said. “So we (went) up on Thursday and (scouted) around. We’ll look at the schedules when the Mariners are there and (the AquaSox) are home and we’ll figure out when we can come back out and watch both of them on one trip.”
The Seagers also try to visit Corey, who plays for the Dodgers’ Class A farm team in in Midland, Mich., making it easy for them to separate their major-league allegiance.
“In the American League it’s the Mariners, and in the National League it’s the Dodgers,” Jeff said.
If the two teams play, the parents are hoping they split the series.
“And they all go 4-for-4,” Jody added.
The family’s outings could really be eased if the Mariners acquired Corey from the Dodgers, essentially making their infield a Seager family reunion.
“The whole infield?” Jody said. “That’d be interesting.”
“That’d be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?” Kyle said. “To have all three of us? That’d be pretty cool.”