Back in March 2016, we reviewed the expectations of other sports analysts, their networks, and publications, while we made our own projections about Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and how he might contribute in his first full and rookie season. In “What Can Baseball Expect From Dodgers Shortstop Corey Seager?,” we made the following offensive projections on March 3, 2016 before the season began.

Corey Seager 2016 DodgersNation.com projections (age 22 season):

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       AVG   OBP    SLG

650      95        175        41         8           25         99        15          2          .299     .390     .530

It is now the last day of the season, October 2, 2016, and here is how Corey Seager has actually performed offensively through a full season.

Corey Seager 2016 Rookie Season statistics (age 22 season)*:

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       AVG   OBP    SLG   

687      105      193       40         5           26         72         3           3          .308     .365     .512

*ESPN.com and Baseball-Reference.com

We can see from the above charts that Seager has actually outperformed our projections. He has accumulated thirty-seven more plate appearances (i.e., stayed healthy), scored ten more runs, amassed eighteen more hits, with one less double, three less triples, one more home run, and a batting average of .308, which is nine points higher than what we projected for his rookie season.

Handing Out Dodgers End of Season Team Awards

On the other hand, where Seager hit second in the batting order he had far less opportunities to knock runs in hitting near the top of the order contributing twenty-seven less runs batted in (RBI). In 2017, Seager is almost certain to move down in the order to the three hole as the Dodgers best, most consistent, and clutch hitter, likely next to third baseman Justin Turner. Turner is a free agent after the 2016 season so the plot may thicken here shortly as he and the Dodgers decide to stay or pass go and pay the $60 million/four-year deal he is likely to receive.

Seager also had twelve less stolen bases and an on base percentage of twenty-three points below what we projected. However, he has a slugging percentage nearly identical to what we projected and made the 2016 National League All-Star team, while competing in the Home Run Derby at San Diego Petco Park nearly ousting Baltimore Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo in the first round of the competition. Clearly, the Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop has delivered at plate and in the field as many had hoped that he would.

In terms of Dodgers and Major League Baseball history, Seager’s first full season has been recording-breaking for the rookie. According to writer Mike Petriello with MLB.com in his August 5, 2016 article entitled “Seager making case for NL MVP Award,” Corey Seager is “having the best offensive season ever by a Dodgers shortstop . . . [and] He may end up with the best season ever by a rookie shortstop.” Seager’s 139 wRC+ (weighted runs plus) is the highest for 2016 among all shortstops and his 6.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement Player) is tied for the highest, ever, next to Dodgers television broadcaster Nomar Garciappara (1997).

In comparison to other shortstops, historically speaking, Seager was just as good in his rookie season. In the March 2016 article mentioned previously, we compared Corey Seager to shortstops Cal Ripken, Jr. (Hall of Fame), Alex Rodriguez, and Carlos Correa. Here are their category-by-category comparisons.

Cal Ripken Jr. 1982 Rookie Season statistics (age 21 season):

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       AVG   OBP    SLG

655      90        158        32        5           28         93         3           3          .264     .317     .475

Corey Seager 2016 Rookie Season statistics (age 22 season):

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       AVG   OBP    SLG   

687      105      193       40         5           26         72         3           3          .308     .365     .512

Alex Rodriguez 1996 Season statistics (non-rookie, age 20 season):

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       BA      OBP    SLG               

677      141       215        54        1            36        123        15         4          .358     .414      .631

Corey Seager 2016 Rookie Season statistics (age 22 season):

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       AVG   OBP    SLG   

687      105      193       40         5           26         72         3           3          .308     .365     .512

Carlos Correa 2015 Rookie Season statistics (age 20-21 season)*:

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       BA      OBP    SLG  

432      52        108       22        1            22         68         14         4          .279     .345     .512

*Only 99 games played.

Corey Seager 2016 Rookie Season statistics (age 22 season):

PA       R         H         2B       3B       HR      RBI     SB       CS       AVG   OBP    SLG   

687      105      193       40         5           26         72         3           3          .308     .365     .512

Defensively in 2016, in 154 games played at shortstop, Seager committed eighteen errors for a .968 fielding percentage. Similarly, Ripken, in 160 games played, while nearly splitting time between shortstop and third base in 1982, committed nineteen errors for a .972 fielding percentage.  Rodriquez, in 1996, in 146 games played at shortstop, committed fifteen errors for a .977 fielding percentage. Lastly, Correa in 2015, in 99 games played at shortstop, committed thirteen errors for a .967 fielding percentage.

In comparing these players, we can come to a few different conclusions: Seager has Ripken’s home run power and speed, Correa’s run production, slugging power, and glove, with Rodriquez’s ability to hit for average, get on base, and slugging power (although still below his numbers). Interesting enough, where Seager is performing statistically in the same breath as Ripken, Rodriquez, Correa, and Garciaparra (who was mentioned at the beginning of this article), Ripken, Correa, and Garciaparra also won the Rookie of the Year Award in their respective rookie seasons. (Note: Rodriquez had accumulated too much service time to be considered for the award before his breakout and historical 1996 season).

Seager is the favorite to win the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year Award according to many (see here) and his statistical performance backs up this claim especially with the loss of Trevor Story before the All-Star break. Seager has also entered the National League Most Valuable Player discussion according to writer Mike Petriello with MLB.com:

“He might be the best shortstop right now.” -Mike Petriello, MLB.com

More importantly, Seager has been as much a stud on the field as he has been off it. He has been a high-class citizen his entire career and nothing has changed for him in a Los Angeles uniform under the shiny light of the Hollywood sun. Seager has been a delight to watch becoming a major part of the Dodgers and baseball’s immediate present and distant future.

Corey Seager is the likely recipient of the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year Award and he has yet to show his prowess in the 2016 playoffs as the Dodgers visit the Washington Nationals for the Division Series. All of us should consider it an honor to play witness to Corey Seager’s playing ability and character makeup. We are in another golden era of top talent and subsequent performance.

After Early NL West Clinch Dodgers Forced to Make Tough Roster Cuts

About The Author

Editorial Writer
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Jeremy M. Evans is the Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing sports, entertainment, and business professionals in their contract, negotiation, and intellectual property matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and community leader based in Los Angeles.

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