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Dodgers: Identifying LA’s Most Valuable Player Halfway Through the Season

There can only be one.



The 2020 Dodgers are a good team. Like, really good. After 30 games, not only do they lead the majors in wins (22-8), but they haven’t even played their best baseball in getting there.

While every playoff-caliber team has that one player that carries a large part of the load, the Dodgers seem to have about 10 of them. Each night is someone else’s time to shine, and it’s been special to watch. But even if it has been a group effort, there are two who have outperformed all others: Mookie Betts and Corey Seager. Just take a look at their batting lines below, courtesy of MLB:

Corey Seager

.298/.340/.585  7 HR, 20 RBI, 1.1 WAR

Mookie Betts

.300/.369/.664  11 HR, 24 RBI, 2.4 WAR

Judging by those numbers alone, it’s pretty clear that Betts has been the better player offensively. But if we could only choose one, which of these two has been more valuable to the Dodgers this season?

The Argument for Seager

Before diving into what has made Seager special in 2020, let’s get the one knock against him out of the way. His playing time took a hit in early August after a back injury kept him out of games for about a week, causing him to lose out on some opportunities to pad his stats.

Missing a few games aside, Seager has been the Dodgers’ most consistent player all season. From the moment Spring Training 2.0 kicked off, you could tell that he was on a mission and he’s managed to keep it going to this day.

While Betts may have the superior numbers, you can claim that Seager was LA’s only consistent bat for the first few weeks of the season. When Betts, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Justin Turner were slumping, Corey was there to carry the load. Had he not gone down with an injury, he very well could have similar numbers to Mookie. Moreover, many of Seager’s hits and RBIs have come in clutch situations, much like this go-ahead hit against Seattle last week.

Overall, Seager has been all that the Dodgers could have wanted this season and then some. If he can continue to produce at this rate for the second half of the season, he very well could be their MVP.

The Argument for Betts

What can’t Mookie Betts do? In his short time here in LA, he has already tied Major League records and set Franchise records on top of the greatness he provides on a daily basis.

The only thing working against Betts at this point is the first few games of the season, where he looked rather human as he worked himself up to speed in Los Angeles. Through the first 8 games of the season, Mookie Betts hit just .256 with 7 strikeouts in 39 at-bats. However, since then he has posted a .324 average with 10 home runs and 19 RBI while massively cutting down his strikeout rate.

What sets Betts apart from everyone else, though, is his defense. This is no knock on Seager, who is solid on the defensive side as well, but Betts is just a different beast. While he’s only had one outfield assist this season, it was one very impressive assist.

There just isn’t anything negative to say about him to this point. He has a great eye, bats for both average and power, runs the bases better than most, and is a stud on defense. Is any further argument really necessary?

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, any team would be lucky to have one of Seager or Betts taking the field for them every game. But all things considered, Betts’ contributions have helped the Dodgers slightly more than Seager’s. In fact, Bett’s contributions have him rated as the best player in baseball based on WAR (wins above replacement).

We knew when we got Mookie that we were getting a special player, but he has truly been better than advertised. The fact that we now get to see him finish his career here in LA is simply the cherry on top.

Which player do you think will be the most valuable by seasons end? Let us know in the comments below!

NEXT: Dodgers Mid-Season Report Card, How Do Bellinger, Kershaw, and More Grade Out?

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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  1. Either would be a good candidate as you state. Betts is my favorite as he has spent time helping other players like Barnes etc and defensively Betts is playing Gold Glove caliber Right Field.
    I have not looked at Seager’s defensive metrics but I have watched every game and he is an average SS at best. I hope the Dodgers move him to 3rd eventually as he is not as mobile as some players at SS. SS is such a difficult position and it should be the teams best athlete.
    I am a huge Seager fan and did not want him traded this winter but I still say his future is at 3rd. I wonder what is going on with Lux? He has been touted as the SS of the future and yet he is still at the alternative site and may not get into a game this year as we are at the halfway point and no statements from the Dodgers.

    • Lux can’t hit that’s why he’s there. We can’t be having him learn at this level in a short season. It’s an all in type season we need to go with our best from start to finish and hopefully it results in a championship. If next season is a full one we can have him work it out here

      • Mookie. Consistency is required to be #1. The week Corey had off could have been the opposite of your scenario.

  2. I’m gonna go with the eye test on this one and say Seager, although both have been very valuable. Keep in mind that nearly half of Betts’ homers have come in two games and often he is having strong games when other players are also having strong games (like his two homer game), it has been a rare game (like the three homer one) where he has been the majority of the offense. Seager – as you noted – has been consistently strong all season and could even have higher numbers because everything he has put in play has been a rocket. He has had more really loud outs than anyone on the team. Overall, is he a more valuable or better player than Betts, Of course not. But I think this half-season he has been just as valuable, if not very very slightly more.

  3. It’s Betts – who is the only challenge to Tatis for league MVP – but Seager has reminded all those that wanted him traded to remember why that was a horrible idea.

    Pollock has quietly silenced quite a few as well.

    • Good points Bum. After Seager had the the TJ surgery, and didn’t immediately match his his pre-injury 300 BA, alot of fickle people were saying trade him. I believe that Seager could contend for MVP awards now and in the future, but Betts already has one and we can all see why. He can manufacture runs with his speed and awareness or just drive the ball out if the park. He is the only reliable base stealer on the team. He beats out grounders or at least forces errors as infielders rush their plays to try to get him. In the outfield he gets to balls others can’t get to, and has a rocket arm. On a competitor scale he is an 11 on a scale of 1 to10. He also helps guys like Barnes learn how to hit. He sets the winning tone for this team in all areas. BTW, when everyone else was saying trade Seager, they were also say keep Lux no matter what. I was saying trade Lux while you can still get something for him. Now Lux and 75 cents will get you soda.

  4. I’m biased as I had a pre season bet on Seager to be MVP. Outrageous suggestion? Yes. But just felt he was going to benefit from the rehab and quieter year the club put him through.

    Consistency he has provided. But I think Mookie has the MVP wow factor.

    Actually feel Seager has been above average at short too, really cannot see what the detractors are putting him for.

    But Mookie is in the form and style required to be MVP – just gotta outshine Tatis Jr. that kid is flying

  5. Seager and Pollack should be in the 2 and 4 spots in the batting order (Mookie leading off, Turner in 3 spot). I would prefer Pollack in the 2 spot and Seager in the 4 spot. Bellinger should be pushed down to the 5 or 6 spot until he really starts to hit well consistently. How many other teams have a Mendoza line cleanup hitter? Muncy has already been pushed down in the order until he starts to hit consistently. The same should be done with Bellinger. Just because Seager has not batted cleanup before doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be doing it now.

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