As a rookie manager Dave Roberts took the controls of a Los Angeles Dodgers team that faced high expectations. Suffice to say, not much has gone right for Roberts and his club through the first three months of the season.
That’s been both a positive and negative. Aside from the absurd amount of injuries the Dodgers’ have absorbed and some veterans coming out of the gate slowly, there have been surprise contributions from others. Or, in Corey Seager’s case, production has exceeded expectations.
The young shortstop entered the 2016 season as a National Rookie of the Year favorite. All he’s done since is play at an MVP level.
“Not take anything away from anybody else on the ballclub, but what he does on the offense and defensive side, yeah, he’s our best player,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after Monday’s victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Seager went 2-for-5 with an RBI, run scored and triple. Seager’s RBI single in the fourth inning extended his hitting streak to an MLB-leading 17 games. He’s since moved into sole possession of second place for longest hitting streak by a rookie in Los Angeles franchise history at 19 games.
“There’s really nothing he can’t do on a baseball field. The at-bats, late-inning production, playing a premium defensive position, hitting the ball out of the ballpark, driving runs in, taking a walk when he needs to, running the bases, he’s really continued to get better,” Roberts raved about his shortstop.
“It’s scary to think he’s only 22 and how much he’s grown and become a very, very good Major League player at this stage in his career.” Roberts previously declared Seager as the best shortstop in the NL, along with championing him to start in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Wise beyond his years, Seager took Roberts’ latest praise in stride while building up his teammates. “We’ve got a lot of veterans in this clubhouse that are doing a great job,” Seager said. “You can kind of just follow their coattails.”
Seager entered play on Wednesday batting .304/.362/.539 with 20 doubles, three triples, 17 home runs and 41 RBIs. He leads the Dodgers in total hits (100), doubles, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, wOBA (.380) and wRC+ (142), among other categories.
While his recent stretch has garnered well-deserved attention and NL Rookie of the Month honors for June, it’s more than just an uptick in production.
“I was talking to some of the coaches about Corey, and it doesn’t necessarily seem like any type of hitting streak or playing better than he was earlier,” he said over the weekend.
“It’s more the fact that this is kind of who he is. He’s a guy that posts, likes to play, squares the baseball up and finds the outfield grass and sometimes hit in the stands. It’s not that he’s hot, it’s what Corey Seager is. This is what he does. I don’t really even see him as, ‘he’s hot.'”