Having emerged as one of the top players at his position in all of baseball following back-to-back five-WAR campaigns as a rookie and sophomore, Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was primed for further success in 2018.
Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, he was limited right out of the gate due to persistent elbow pain that carried over from the end of the 2017 season.
Seager initially avoided the disabled list and appeared in 26 games during the month of April. He never looked completely comfortable at the plate, however, and hit just .267/.348/.396.
As the calendar turned to May, Seager made the difficult decision to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Being a position player, the general consensus was that he would face a shorter recovery time as opposed to pitchers.
Then in August, Seager again went under the knife to repair an ailing hip. Though, this particular operation didn’t affect his timeline to return for the start of the 2019 season.
With Seager sidelined for the better part of the 2018 season, the Dodgers eventually acquired the top rental bat on the trade market in Manny Machado to fill his void.
On April 18 against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, Seager went 4-for-5 with two doubles and drove in three of the Dodgers’ 13 RBI. He reached base an additional time via walk and struck out only once.
With Machado likely to depart in free agency, Seager is expected to reprise his usual role as the Dodgers’ starting shortstop next season.
Earlier in October, he revealed that he was slowly but surely progressing from the pair of surgeries and maintained his expectation of being able to play the position again.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman remains optimistic that Seager will be ready to go for Spring Training.