Over the last few years Los Angeles Dodgers fans were told of a promising shortstop working his way up the Minor League ranks.
They got their first glimpse at Corey Seager last season when the 21 year old was promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City in September.
While he was expected to be among the call-ups once active rosters expanded, Seager arrived days ahead of schedule, and needing to shoulder more of a workload due to Jimmy Rollins being hampered by injury.
The young shortstop quickly impressed with his ability to stay within himself and not be overwhelmed by the moment. Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler marveled at Seager’s demeanor and how it translated to defense, via Josh Jackson of MiLB.com:
“Sometimes we see a guy consistently make plays that look so easy and so routine that we don’t necessarily see acrobatic plays. What does that mean? He makes plays others make look acrobatic, he makes those plays look effortless. One thing that’s fascinating about Corey: the throws he makes on cutoffs and relays to cut down runners going from first to third look almost identical to the throws he makes with nobody on, when he’s just relaying the ball back. That calm. He’s got that thing that allows him to keep his body under control in high-pressure situations.”
As for the likelihood Seager, standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall, will be able to play shortstop moving forward, Kapler is confident the early 2016 National League Rookie of the Year candidate will succeed:
“We’re really happy with the way he’s handled shortstop and we have no doubt about his ability to dominate the position.”
In a combined 125 games last season with Double-A Tulsa and the OKC Dodgers, Seager hit .293/.344/.487 with 18 home runs, 37 doubles 76 RBIs and 81 runs scored.
There was no slowing him in the Majors, with Seager batting .337/.425/.561 with four home runs, eight doubles, 17 RBIs and 17 runs scored over 27 regular-season games with the Dodgers. His success resulted in Rollins being unseated as the club’s starting shortstop.
Much like with Joc Pederson in 2014 heading into 2015, Seager is in prime position to take hold of a starting job with the Dodgers. Rollins became a free agent once the season concluded and barring any surprises, Seager will be the Dodgers starting shortstop on Opening Day of the 2016 season.