What do Luis Avilan, Scott Van Slyke, Chris Hatcher and Casey Fien all have in common? They are all making substantially more money than Los Angeles Dodgers starting shortstop and rookie star Corey Seager.
To any casual fan who has access to the internet and can see the stats, this disparity in salary may seem laughable. However, this is not on any level an indictment on the front office for handing out bad contracts. Rather, it’s an unfortunate symptom of a player with less than a full season under his belt playing in a manner that would suggest he should be amongst the highest paid on the team.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) June 24, 2016
People knew Seager was going to be an impact player from the time he was in the low levels of the the Dodgers farm system. But, even the most optimistic of Dodgers fans it would have been hard to predict the impact that the 22-year-old from North Carolina would have on the team so immediately. What’s even more impressive than the stats he is putting up, is the fact that you would be pardoned for forgetting that he is in fact, a rookie.
Seager looks the part of a player that can be a cornerstone of the Dodgers franchise for the next 10-15 years. Seager plays with a poise beyond his years and he carries himself like a big leaguer. However, aesthetic appeal aside, the way Seager looks while on the field wouldn’t matter for one second if he didn’t have the production to match. Thankfully, producing on the field has been the least of his concerns.
Corey Seager hit 7 home runs in May, now has 7 home runs in June. 16 on the year, 3 shy of Dodgers single-season SS record
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) June 23, 2016
Quick, lets play a little game. Who leads the Dodgers in: batting average, RBI’s, home runs, hits, OPS, slugging, offensive WAR, OBP and runs?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) June 23, 2016
Who is first or second place amongst all National League rookies in: home runs, RBI’s, runs, hits, batting average, OPS, slugging, OBP, and offensive war?
You guessed it, Corey Seager.
Thats right, in every major offensive statistical category Seager ranks either first or second for all rookies in the entire National League. Not only that, but Seager ranks in the top 10 in the entire NL for runs, hits, home runs and war. All this goes to say, Seager is already really good at playing baseball, and theres no reason to think that he wont get better.
At this point in the season, it would appear the Seager is a lock to be the Dodgers first Rookie of the Year award winer since Todd Hollandsworth in 1996. Seager is harkening back to the days of the mid-90’s when Dodgers youngsters routinely dominated the league. In addition, he is only the fifth Dodger ever to hit 20 home runs before turning 23, joining the ranks of Adrian Beltre, Willie Davis, Duke Snider and Tommy Davis.
So while taking all of this into consideration, with the MLB All-Star game coming up soon, you’d think that Seager would have the starting spot at shortstop all but wrapped up.
Regrettably, that is not at all the case.
Close races at SS, 2B, 3B and C highlight latest NL All-Star balloting update. pic.twitter.com/urH6Wf1xr5
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) June 22, 2016
Hey, look at that! It’s time for another game! This time, were going to compare the stats of two players who may or may appear in the top five of voting for National League shortstops.
Player A: 6 home runs, 37 RBI’s, .239/.332/.381
Player B: 16 home runs, 37 RBI’s, .289/.348/.519
You probably know where this going. Player A would be Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs. Any guesses who Player B is?
Corey freakin’ Seager
So, despite having better all around stats than Russell, Seager sits in a pretty distant 3rd place. He is more than 300,00 votes behind 2nd place Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies and Russell has more than double the amounts of votes. Frankly, the fact that Seager isn’t currently the first or second choice right now for starting shortstop, is absurd at best and indefensible at worst.
Seager doesn’t need to earn a starting spot on the All-Star roster to validate the season he’s having, but it would be nice for the rookie to earn some acclaim outside of Los Angeles for the way he is playing. Thankfully, some of the national media is starting to see exactly what Seager brings to the table and the real impact he is making
At the end of the day, Seager will be a mainstay on the All-Star ballot for years to come and more importantly, an impact bat in the middle of the Dodgers lineup. The Dodgers recent resurgence can largely be attributed to numerous role players finally playing up to the standards that had been set at the beginning of the season. However, Seager has been the best offensive player the Dodgers have had all season, and it really hasn’t even been that close.
The Dodgers, rather frustratingly, still sit 6 games behind the Giants in the NL West standings despite their return in form recently. But, one can only imagine how far the team would be back without the consistent play of Seager.
Few teams can claim to have a talent at such a young age already producing and putting up big numbers. Even fewer teams can claim to have such a talent putting up these kind of numbers while only being paid half a million dollars.
But, the Dodgers got lucky. You know why? The Dodgers have…