While the order may vary, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a consensus top-three prospects in Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias. Pederson is on the precipice of breaking into the Majors as the Dodgers’ starting center fielder, whereas Seager is believed to be next in line, followed by the 18-year-old Urias.
Entering Monday, Seager has appeared in five Catcus League games this year and ended Sunday’s game in dramatic fashion with a walk-off double. The young shortstop has been touted as a future cornerstone of the franchise, though his time in the Majors appears to be at least one more season away.
After losing Hanley Ramirez in free agency, the Dodgers addressed their shortstop need by trading for Jimmy Rollins, who enters the final year of his contract. However, had the Dodgers not filled the void, manager Don Mattingly suggested he would have been comfortable with handing the reins to Seager.
“I wouldn’t be afraid of him, I’ll tell you that,” Mattingly said Monday when asked if Seager was ready for the Majors. At 6’4, some outside the organization have predicted Seager’s size would eventually constitute him moving to third base.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in November the plan was to leave Seager at shortstop, which is the lone position he’s working at during Spring Training. Whereas Seager’s height may be an impediment to some, Mattingly likened his stature to Hall of Famer Cal Ripken.
“Without putting a giant X on his back, he’s more like a Ripken to me,” Mattingly said. “He has great hands, great awareness, really great clock as far as knowing the timing.” As for how Seager profiles at the plate, Mattingly compared to John Olerud, “If you really watch him, he’s quiet and bigger with a small swing.”
While it was Seager whom Mattingly singled out Monday, he credited the Dodgers’ collection of young prospects in camp and the organization for the coaching and manner in which they’ve been brought up through the farm system.
For his part, Seager recently said the outside pressure and expectations aren’t something he’s given any attention to and believes the work he puts in both on and off the field will guide him to future success with the Dodgers.
The 20-year-old prospect was named the California League MVP in 2014 after hitting .352/.411/.633 with 18 home runs and 70 RBIs in 80 games. Seager would have added to his success in High-A if it weren’t for a midseason promotion to the Double-A level.
In his first go around with the Lookouts, Seager batted .345/.381/.534 over 38 games. He’ll likely begin the 2015 season in Double-A though similar to Pederson last season, a promotion to the Majors in September is likely in order.
Corey Seager Discusses Walk-Off Hit