I let out a loud groan just writing this title, so I’d understand if Dodger fans collectively have a strong visceral reaction to this title. However, it is a possibility that needs addressing.
Corey’s Offseason And It’s Effect
Corey was only on the field for 26 games last season before he was shelved for the year. He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 4th and surgery on his hip on August 7th. It was reported a few days ago here that the Dodgers said Corey Seager was nearly 100 percent and ready.
The Dodgers obviously have to exercise patience when bringing Corey back to the field full time. Thankfully they have the entirety of spring training, and then some if they so choose. Tommy John surgery is a serious operation, but typically more for pitchers. Still, having to throw from shortstop is critical, and making sure the arm is ready for that sustained type of motion is crucial. Corey is still young — which makes all the difference for recovery.
Should Corey have some issues, or heaven forbid develops other injuries, the Dodgers still are blessed with options.
Dodgers Have Options Outside Corey
Every Dodgers fan’s favorite discussion to have, is the Dodgers biggest ‘good problem to have’ — that being platoons. Dave Roberts has already said in multiple places that platoons shouldn’t be as big of a part of the strategy this year. With that in mind, it still leaves the Dodgers with an embarrassment of riches in terms of options. If Corey Seager misses time, here are the options.
We’ve seen the ‘super utility man’ play just about everywhere but catcher. He’s so fun to watch and has such a great joy playing the game, that it’s easy to forget he’s serviceable or flat out great in the field at most positions. In the outfield, he isn’t the fastest man there, but he has a knack for getting really good jumps on balls. This makes up for his lack of speed, and makes him a good outfielder. He also has a pretty impressive arm. In the infield, I’m reminded of two plays–one at shortstop and one at second. Take a look at this from 2017
This one from 2018 had a lot of implications. We were in a tight race for 1st against Arizona (at the time) and this was a huge first out of the 9th in a 1-run game.
Now ‘the banana man’ won’t put up the same OPS and overall offensive contribution as Corey Seager. If we’re being fair there are very few shortstops in the league who could match Corey’s production. Still, Kiké put up pretty good power numbers last year and in a small role I firmly believe will continue to do so.
Fans have a tendency to only see his high strikeout total. Yes — he struck out a lot. However so did the rest of MLB unilaterally; that’s just where the game is going. He was still a 4.1 win player, and got on base at a rate of .331. If he could repeat 2017 levels of OPS and production–he’d be a top player in the NL. As it stands now, many outlets have included him on the top 20 list at his position. He can play in the outfield and in the middle of the infield. If the Dodgers prefer him in the outfield, that’d move Kiké in at SS more often.
The Dodgers 2016 1st round draft pick put up great numbers in 2018 between Rancho and Tulsa.
- BA: .324
- OBP: .399
- SLG: .514
- HR: 15
This was done in 116 total games. Nobody’s expecting Gavin to be a power hitter — it’s not what he was drafted for. Still, 15 homers was honestly more than I expected. Will he hit 15 in the majors? Not likely, but nothing’s for sure. Gavin was drafted as a shortstop but he’s perfectly capable of playing 2nd base. Cody Bellinger got called up to the majors in 2017 due to a ton of injuries, but he was solidly in AAA, whereas Gavin Lux isn’t quite there yet. Most talking heads expect to see Gavin Lux during the September call ups, but stranger things have happened.
A Healthy Corey Seager Is Ideal
The Dodgers’ “embarrassment of riches” sure covers them in case of a catastrophe. Despite that, the most ideal outcome is a healthy, robust, Corey Seager. A former ROY, if he can give us a slugging percentage of .480+, that’s what the Dodgers and Dodger fans will want to see most. When he’s healthy, he’s one of the best and most exciting players in MLB, and an elite Dodger.
[button link=”http://dodgersnation.com/andrew-friedman-on-dodgers-roster-no-weak-spot/2019/02/15/” type=”big” color=”red”] Andrew Friedman On Dodgers Roster: ‘No Weak Spot'[/button]