With Joc Pederson now manning center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Corey Seager is the club’s next can’t-miss prospect expected to make his home in the Majors sooner rather than later.
After finishing the 2014 season in the Double-A level, Seager opened the year with the Tulsa Drillers, the Dodgers’ new Double-A affiliate, and has continued to tear the cover off the ball. While his offense has been all the talk, Seager played third base on Thursday for the first time this season.
It led to an exchange between ESPN’s Mark Saxon and director of player development Gabe Kapler in which Kapler expressed confidence in Seager’s ability to play either position on the left side of the infield without committing him to either shortstop or third base:
Corey is an athlete. He can play anywhere on the diamond,” Kapler responded via text. “In general, we want our men to think of themselves as baseball players rather than labeling themselves in any way. That said, Seager can unequivocally play shortstop and third base. He’s a pro. Exposure to multiple positions can only help our players.”
While outside expectations have largely held Seager will transition to third base, the Dodgers have indicated nothing of the sort. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in November he didn’t see any reason to move the prospect from shortstop and more recently, manager Don Mattingly likened Seager to Cal Ripken, suggesting height isn’t an end all, be all for shortstops.
Jimmy Rollins, who seemingly was acquired to bridge the gap to Seager, views his understudy’s stature as something that could be used to his advantage — one that Rollins, listed at 5’7, doesn’t have the same fortune to utilize.
Additionally, with the Dodgers having signed Hector Olivera, plus carrying Alex Guerrero on the roster and Justin Turner being under team control, the future need at third base isn’t as large as the one at shortstop.
Howie Kendrick, Rollins and Juan Uribe are all in the final year of their respective contracts. Of the three, Kendrick would appear most likely to be re-signed. That presumably would leave Guerrero and Olivera competing for the third-base job next year and Seager, if the Dodgers determine he’s ready, left to play his natural position in the Majors.
Seager returned to shortstop Friday and went 1-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored in the Drillers’ win over the San Antonio Missions, the San Diego Padres’ Double-A affiliate.
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