Anfernee Seymour has had an interesting journey since beginning his professional career. First, he switched positions, converting from a high school center fielder to minor league shortstop. This season, he switched organizations, coming to the Atlanta Braves from the Miami Marlins in an August trade.
So, what do the Braves have in Seymour?
The Bahamas-born speedster was drafted by the Miami Marlins, selected in the seventh round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of American Heritage High School in Delray Beach, Florida. Having really started playing baseball just a few years prior when his family moved stateside, the Marlins felt they could tinker with Seymour. They immediately moved him to shortstop, hoping to capitalize on his 80-grade speed and strong arm. More interestingly, they converted him from a right-handed hitter, to a switch-hitter, hoping to get that signature speed a step or two closer to first base.
His first half season in the Gulf Coast League was a mixed bag, as he slashed .245/.333/.265 with one extra-base hit (a triple, which should come as no surprise with those wheels). He looked like he would be good in the walk department, positing a decent enough 27-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio and showed that he wasn’t simply fast, but could use his speed wisely, swiping 11 bags in 13 attempts.
He jumped to the New York-Penn League the next season, and while there were improvements at the plate, the Marlins saw that the shift to shortstop was not going to be as easy as they had hoped. He had the range and he had the arm, but he also had trouble putting it all together, mostly on throwing errors. He committed 29 errors in 286 total chances, an .899 fielding percentage, but surprisingly posted the highest range factor of his career.
Seymour improved his numbers at the plate, slashing .273/.338/.349 with 10 doubles and four triples, but he was still searching for that first big league home run. He was again nearly perfect on the base paths, swiping 29 of 35 attempts successfully, and posted another decent strikeout-to-walk ratio of 52-to-20.
The 2016 season saw Seymour change organizations on August 6, when the Marlins went for it to try to stay in the playoff hunt. First, they shipped top prospect Josh Naylor to San Diego in the highly-profiled Andrew Cashner deal, and a week later they sent Seymour — a consensus top-10 prospect for the Marlins — to the Braves for left-handed bullpen specialist Hunter Cervenka. The Grasshoppers finished the season reeling on a 14-game losing streak without their two top prospects.
It was a curious move by the Braves. They were already an organization plentiful in not just middle infield prospects, but elite middle infield prospects. Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies and the freshly signed Kevin Maitan topped a list that got even deeper when they acquired slugging second baseman Travis Demeritte from the Texas Rangers at the end of July.
Coming off a 2016 that saw Seymour committee 42 more errors in 490 total chances at shortstop, it will be interesting to see the Braves’ intentions. With Ronald Acuna making highlight reel plays in center field and an equally dangerous speed tool, there is seemingly no room for Seymour in his original stomping grounds, either.
I saw Seymour twice this season, once against the Rome Braves as a Grasshopper and then in his first game in the Rome Braves lineup against the Fireflies. Both times I walked away impressed, but saw work that needed to be done.
You can see he stands toward the front of the box, with a very wide stance. He wraps the bat over his shoulder and there is a lot of bounce, both in his hands and knees as he awaits his pitch. He has a short, quick swing, that some times has a dip, almost uppercut characteristic to it, which may be what led to a career high 118 strikeouts (to just 26 walks) in 2016.
(The above video is taken from the all new Wayniac Nation Minor League Videos YouTube Page. Click on the video and you can see some clips from my adventures around the minors this season.)
For more on Seymour and what his future holds for the Braves, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball by clicking on the link below: