Dodgers News: Andrew Friedman Believes Pitchers Exploited Corey Seager’s Tendency To Swing At First Pitch
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager hits a single during Game 1 of the 2019 NLDS
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Season-ending Tommy John surgery limited Corey Seager to just 26 games a year ago, casting a bit of uncertainty upon his return to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the start of the 2019 season.

He looked to regain his previous form as one of the top young shortstops in all of baseball. And despite a slow start in April, Seager eventually found his groove and enjoyed an all-around solid bounce-back campaign considering the circumstances.

The 25-year-old hit .272/.335/.483 with 19 home runs and 87 RBI across 541 plate appearances during the regular season (134 games). He additionally finished in a tie with Anthony Rendon for most doubles in the National League (44) and accumulated 4.0 WAR (Baseball-Reference) for his efforts.

Seager went on to struggle in the postseason, however, recording only three hits in 20 at-bats against the Washington Nationals pitching staff. He appeared overmatched at times and frequently chased pitches out of the strike zone.

It resulted in Seager striking out eight times while drawing just one walk during the five-game NL Division Series. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman opined that opposing pitchers took advantage of Seager’s tendency to swing at the first pitch during the 2019 season, via Pedro Moura of The Athletic:

“There are times when pitchers definitely exploit that, and I think there are times when it definitely serves to his advantage,” Friedman said. “It’s finding that equilibrium that I think is important. He possesses that ability, after the first pitch, to look over a baseball as well as anybody. So incorporating that a little bit more on the first pitch, I personally think would be a good thing.”

Of Seager’s 541 plate appearances during the regular season, 91 of them ended with him putting a ball in play after swinging at the first pitch. Seager was quite successful with this approach, batting a stellar .352/.374/.625 with nine doubles, five home runs and 13 RBI.

Even though he ended the 2019 season on a negative note, Friedman is optimistic about Seager’s outlook and believes he will bounce back with an even better showing next year.

The offseason figures to be an interesting one for Seager, whose name has circulated in trade speculation. The Dodgers reportedly have interest in acquiring Cleveland Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, and whether a deal comes to fruition could have a ripple effect on Seager’s future with the organization.

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