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Dodgers: Corey Seager Is Peaking At The Right Time

It’s been a long way back for Corey Seager.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 08: Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bobbles a ground ball by Johan Camargo #17 of the Atlanta Braves in the eighth inning of a MLB baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

One of the differences between the Dodgers going into the playoffs in 2019 verses 2018 is that they have Corey Seager at shortstop instead of Manny Machado. The lost 2018 season is well documented as Seager had both Tommy John and hip surgery. Machado was acquired in July of 2018 to fill in before he became a free agent and the Dodgers didn’t make much of an attempt to re-sign him.

Seager not only had to recover from his major surgeries, but he also changed his diet as the Dodgers were afraid he’d blow up with all the inactivity.

Coming into the 2019 there were all different kinds of expectations on Seager. Many would compare him to Machado while others recognized that he could start slow. After a long rehabilitation both off and on the field it looks like the Dodgers are finally getting the real Corey Seager. This article will take a look at his gradual progress this season, as he seems ready for the post season.

First Month Struggles

During Spring Training, Corey Seager was brought along slowly and seemed noticeably thinner due to his new diet. He didn’t see actual game action until about two weeks out from Opening Day.

While Seager did hit a home run on Opening Day, the first few weeks of his comeback looked a little shaky. His defense was sloppy, and his bat was not the Corey Seager we became accustomed to in his first two full seasons in the bigs. Seasons that saw him take home the Silver Slugger award at shortstop in both campaigns.

His strikeouts were on the rise, and his slugging percentage was way down. Below are his statistics from Opening Day through April 30.

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
110 26 8 0 2 9 15 27 .236 .333 .364

Getting Hot, Getting Hurt

Corey Seager takes in the action at Lake Elsinore while on rehab with Rancho Cucamonga. (Photo credit: Tim Rogers/Dodgers Nation)

Seager’s struggles continued in the beginning of May as he slashed just .194/.289/.355 (AVG/OBP/SLG) but then started to heat up. For the next month of games, he ended up slashing .354/.415/.625. However, as he was running the bases against the Angels in Anaheim on June 11, he pulled a hamstring. He ended up missing a full month of the season but we did get to see Seager and A.J. Pollock in a rehabilitation assignment with the Quakes. His full numbers from the beginning of May until his injury are below. As you can see, his bat was clearly looking like the Corey Seager from before 2018.

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
127 40 13 0 6 29 13 24 .315 .382 .559

Restarting, Again

Seager came back after the All-Star Break and started slowly. In his first eight games back he slashed only .148/.258/.185 and continued to look a little shaky and unsure on defense. Through the rest of July and August he started to be pretty consistent, if unspectacular. He triple slashed .273/.313/.482 with 4 home runs over 37 games. While he did add 17 doubles, the power had not totally come back.

Below are his totals from the All-Star Break until the end of August.

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
166 42 18 0 4 23 12 32 .253 .304 .434

Getting Hot, Staying Hot

In September the home run power has started to return. There were fewer doubles and more home runs as his slugging percentage spiked. The Dodgers have been batting him a bit lower in the order in many games but it seems to be working. Seager likes to attack the first pitch and that is not something the Dodgers want at the top of the order.

Batting anywhere from five to seven in the lineup seems to suit Seager and his approach. Against right handed pitchers he’s been batting behind Cody Bellinger in the order and bats seventh against lefties.

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
70 21 2 1 6 21 3 13 .300 .329 .614

Defense

Some of the defensive metrics for Seager have him in the lower half of all shortstops defensively. He will never be a great fielding shortstop like Francisco Lindor but in the past he’s been ranked quite high. The eye test over the last month or so says that his defense is looking better. He seems to be making more plays than before. Feeling healthy and being confident he’s healthy are probably contributing to his better defensive play.

Final Thoughts

Corey Seager is trending in the right direction both offensively and defensively. Moreover, he’s having a campaign that’s worthy of a few Comeback Player of the Year votes as well. Plus well earned Player of the Week honors.

As Los Angeles rolls into the playoffs, having a healthy and productive Corey Seager would be something they haven’t had since 2016. Remember, he was having back and elbow problems already in 2017. With him protecting Bellinger against righties and being in the lower part of the order against lefties the batting order is much stronger with a productive Seager.

A healthy and productive Corey Seager would increase the Dodgers odds of going all the way in 2019.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

3 Comments

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  1. I’ve been a Dodgers fan since 1974. My Dad took me to the 74 World Series. The A’s won but I became a fan of the Dodgers and have bled Dodger Blue ever since. I’ve finally got to go to my first game at Dodger Stadium in 2017 and watched Rue pitch a 3-0 shout out. It was so assume. I can’t wait to go see them again.

  2. 5th or 6th with Pollock depending on who’s pitching. Keep Muncy at 2 and move Lux or Taylor – depending on who’s pitching – to lead off. Move Joc down where his all or nothing swings are less damaging.

  3. Seager is rolling and boy do we need him to stay selective and hot. Maybe he can put some spark in Muncy and turner.

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