The Los Angeles Dodgers have won 12 of their last 14 games and now have a comfortable 8.5 game lead in the division. The clubhouse has found a new note of chemistry and has welcomed new players with the 40-man roster expansion being implemented.
One of the key players that was called up to make his Major League debut was Corey Seager. While being ranked the number one prospect in the Dodger organization, Seager has shown the fans why the front office was so patient in allowing him to mature. Over the span of a week, the 21-year-old has shown an impressive display of baseball on both the offensive and defensive side of the game.
The main skepticism Seager has faced with his call-up is which position on defense he should play. The rookie has started at both shortstop and third base, with the flexibility to give players like Jimmy Rollins and Justin Turner days off.
According to Helene Elliott of the L.A. Times, Seager is comfortable playing either position and understands how his attributes help him for both scenarios:
The smaller you are the more quickness you might have, but the taller, you can have length. You have to play lower to the ground. It has its ups and downs,” Seager said. “I’m pretty comfortable with short or third. I got to play quite a few games in the minor leagues at third so there’s a little more comfort there.”
During the Minor League season, the North Carolina native started 104 games at shortstop and just 19 games at third base. The thought process behind playing both positions was thought out well by management, so that Seager would at least be exposed to playing third base, rather than being called up and having to comprehend a new position.
Manager Don Mattingly understood the process upon Seager being called up and it has paid dividends. Seager made a dazzling play in the first inning of Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels by backing up Justin Turner on a ball to the 5-6 hole. The lengthy infielder then threw a dart to first base to retire Albert Pujols, drawing cheers from the crowd in attendance. Mattingly commented on his versatility and stated that he has looked comfortable with the experience he got in the Minor Leagues:
So his preference was to make sure he got to play a little bit at third so he didn’t come up here and the first time he ever plays it is here. I don’t think he had any reservations. The fact that he’s been able to play a number of games down there has made it an easier transition.”
Joe Wieland, Seager’s teammate and roommate for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, was also called up with Seager at the beginning of September and has seen the development of his teammate. When asked if Seager has shown him whether he is better at one particular position, Wieland had an honest answer:
I think he plays short better than he plays third. Probably more just because he’s getting comfortable with it,” Wieland said. “Wherever you throw him, he’s going to do a great job.”
In five games played, Seager is 6-for-18, with three doubles, four runs scored, and three RBIs. The rookie has shown a surprising calmness to his approach, as he has struck out only three times and has drawn two walks.