Typically, when one thinks of a first baseman, one thinks of a power hitter capable of slugging 30 or more home runs. Yet, aside from the first go around with Carlos Pena, the Rays have never had that type of first baseman, focusing on players such as Casey Kotchman or James Loney – players that can put the ball in play and display an excellent glove.
This approach to first base may bode well for Cameron Seitzer, a player that normally might not seem like an actual prospect in any other organization. Seitzer, the son of former Royal/Brewer/Indian/Athletic Kevin Seitzer, is likely not to be confused with a power hitter, having a total of 17 minor league home runs in just over two and a half seasons. Yet, what Seitzer does well is put the bat on the ball, and hit at a respectable rate. Over his minor league career, Seitzer has struck out less, and hit better, than league average, despite typically being young for his level. This season at Montgomery, Seitzer is hitting at a .275/.378/.351 rate, which may not look overly impressive. However, league average for the Southern League is .243/.321/.364, which makes Seitzer line that much better, particularly for a 23 year old in a league where the average age is 24.
The Rays have been aggressive in their approach with Seitzer as well. Typically, the Rays bring their prospects along one level at a time, getting them used to success before they advance in the system. Yet, the Rays had Seitzer skip levels in both 2012 and 2013, as he bypassed the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Meanwhile, Seitzer has seemingly rewarded their faith in his ability, as he has continued to hit and play solid defense.
Cameron Seitzer may never be the prototypical first baseman, but if he can provide double digit home runs and hit in the .270 to .280 range with good plate discipline solid defense, that is all the Rays really seem to want from the position. At this point, he has seemingly met all the challenges that the Rays have sent his way. If he can continue to progress, Seitzer may well be the future for the Rays at first base.