After impressing over the final month of the 2015 season, Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager entered 2016 as the consensus top prospect in baseball. Somehow, the 22-year-old managed to exceed the lofty expectations that were placed on his shoulders.
While appearing 157 regular-season games, the most of his professional career, Seager batted .308/.365/.512 with a 137 OPS+, .372 wOBA and 137 wRC+. He led the Dodgers in batting average, on-base percentage, total hits (193), doubles (40), triples (five) and was second in home runs (26).
Seager led qualified National League shortstops in doubles, home runs, batting average, slugging, wOBA, wRC+, was second in OBP and third in RBI. He broke Steve Sax’s Los Angeles franchise record for most hits in a single season (180 in 1982).
What’s more, Seager also set a Dodgers franchise record for most home runs by a shortstop in a season, broke Eric Karros’ rookie record for most doubles (30), and with 321 total bases broke Mike Piazza’s rookie record (307).
That resulted in the young shortstop becoming the unanimous selection for NL Rookie of the Year. Another byproduct of Seager’s rise to prominence was his inclusion on the Team USA preliminary roster for the 2017 Word Baseball Classic, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2016
Should Clayton Kershaw be at full strength come the spring, he’s expected to join Team USA at some point during the WBC. Seager previously said he was considering representing the United States but had yet to make a decision.
One factor weighing on Seager was wanting to ensure he’s prepared for 2017 after suffering from fatigue in what was his first full season in the Majors.
What may aid Team USA in having Kershaw, Seager and other Major League starts is a recent rule change that permits players to be added to the roster between rounds in the WBC. Thus, it may only require a few days missed from Spring Training as opposed to multiple weeks.