It’s hard to believe, but just over three weeks ago, Charlotte 49ers infielder Justin Seager was drafted in the 12th round by the Seattle Mariners. He would decide to forgo his senior season and sign a minor-league deal–with his sights set on the majors and a chance to eventually join his brother, Kyle, on the big club’s roster. Justin has made the adjustment quite well in his time with the M’s Class A-Short Season Northwest League affiliate in Everett, batting .340 in 13 games (2nd on the team) and tied for the team lead in hits (17) and doubles (4) going into tonight’s game against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, the Giants’ A-ball affiliate.
I had a chance to ask Justin a few questions on how things are going up in the Northwest and how he’s been able to make the adjustment.
1. First off, Justin, congratulations on the contract with the Mariners. How does it feel to be a step closer to the major leagues?
It’s a dream. It’s been my dream since I started playing when I was three years old. It’s a blessing. I come out here go to work every day, and there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.
2. What played into your decision to pursue a deal with Seattle versus staying in college for one more year?
I got a good opportunity. The opportunity was there this year for me to pursue my dream. I thought it was the best situation for me to move forward in my career.
3. How’s life been different in the Pacific Northwest compared to the Charlotte area?
It’s a lot different. Just the way everybody goes about their business, it’s more professional. You come to the field, you get your work done, and you all come together and play at night. There’s still a lot of companionship, but at school everybody’s a family. It’s a different atmosphere.
4. You’ve gotten off to a hot start thus far with the AquaSox. How have you been able to make the adjustment from collegiate ball to minor league ball early on?
Collegiate ball definitely helped me. It got me ready for what I was going to be facing in minor league ball. It taught me a lot of stuff that will always help me in my career. Just sticking to the approach that I learned from school that works for me and mechanics that work for me. It’s definitely different playing professionally, but you can use the things you learned in situations in pro ball. It really helps.
5. Finally, have you been able to keep in touch with your brother Kyle up at the big club fairly often for any pointers?
He helps me out all the time. He’s given me pointers since the first day of his minor league career. He’s been a huge mentor for me and it’s nice being in the same organization and only being about 35 minutes away right now. It’s been a blessing.
Special thanks to the Everett AquaSox media relations team, especially Patrick Leary (who happens to be the editor of our sister site covering the Mariners, SoDo Mojo) as well as Connor Madden for their help in setting this up.