Things do not appear to be 100 percent with Corey Seager on defense. He’s never really been thought of as an elite defender, but his bat has more than made up for that in the past. But Dodgers fans are starting to notice his defensive shortcomings in 2021.
The most recent examples came on Saturday in a loss to the Brewers. There were two plays where he was standing to his right and just whiffed on them. One came in the 11th innings with a 1-run lead resulting in a tie ball game. Milwaukee would walk it off on the Dodgers that inning.
But when asked about it after the game. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t seem concerned. He cited Seager’s history of making good defensive plays as reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. After Sunday’s game, Doc was once again asked about Seager’s declining defensive numbers.
I know that the numbers, as far as runs saved and whatever, are down. I don’t think that it’s a small sample size. I know Corey expects to be better. He will be. I don’t think it’s positioning. I don’t think it’s focus on getting jumps on the baseball. I think he’s a plus defender at shortstop. He’s shown it.
Seager is now a -3 defensive runs saved in 2021. Anything below 0 is considered a bewlo-average defense. Seager had -2 DRS all of 2020 and had a marvelous +7 in 2017 in what appears to be an outlier year with the Dodgers. Still, Doc thinks things just aren’t going his way right now.
I think there are some things that have happened, dropping the ball, these are just kind of outliers that have happened in this perfect storm the last couple of weeks.
Most of the advanced defensive metrics would tell you that Seager is trending in the wrong direction for his career. His Ultimate Zone Rating(UZR) is at -1.9 and headed for disaster if he keeps getting the same average number of opportunities. That’s something the Dodgers can’t afford.
They’ve been able to get by without big hits, but there is no surviving a lack of offense and defensive miscues. Seager has dropped balls thrown right to him, misjudged balls taking a hop, and even played poorly on stolen base attempts. He’s the guy the Dodgers want out there, but he might be pressing a bit at the moment.