Convention says Seager might be better off honing his skills in the minors.
Corey’s hit tool kindly tells convention to screw off
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
An article: “Prospect Corey Seager‘s position switch could fast-track him to the majors”. T’was written by Mark Saxon earlier today discussing Corey Seager’s “position switch”, instead of rehashing it, here’s one of the more important quotes
"Top prospect Corey Seager played third base for Double-A Tulsa. It wasn’t the first time in his career he has done so. He played one game at the position when he was in the Class-A California League in 2013, but it was meaningful nonetheless as the Dodgers map out their plans for one of the best young pure hitters in baseball."
Before we read into this too much, let’s understand that Corey Seager is really a huge guy, regardless of position. He just happens to man a position that historically has been mean to guys his height.
I’m on record saying while he might be a shortstop right now, I have serious doubts about his ability to play that in the long run, given that his height and weight are intrinsically tied to each other and he’s still expected to fill out as he hits his mid 20’s. Considering all that, his move to third base might just be his natural progression. But considering that the Dodgers are starting a 36 year old player who’s struggling somewhat at third base, and have a bunch of good (but flawed) players behind them, starting the progression from SS to 3b for Seager might not be a terrible idea.
I’d still bet against him starting any games before September (lets remember he is still 20 years old until April 27th), but he just looks better than the pitching he’s facing at this point, so anything’s possible. Lets look at what would have to happen in order for him to make the lineup before September.
Seager would have to continue smashing AAA pitching.
Seems obvious, but given the amount of depth options, there isn’t exactly a huge need for the top prospect at this very moment. The Dodgers aren’t starting possibly the worst third baseman of all time like the Cubs were, they’re starting a player in Juan Uribe who has led the Dodgers position players in fWAR from 2013-2014 (I KNOW!). The options are good behind Uribe, so everything starts with Seager forcing the Dodgers hand. Seeing as they aren’t concerned with manipulating the service time clock, Seager playing will might very well ensure that he has a spot in the lineup eventually.
Seager would have to show competency at 3b
Doesn’t seem like too much of an issue, considering that he has all the tools to be a good defender there, but actually getting enough reps to play the position at a major league level is easier said than done. It’s not a huge issue, but a hurdle he has to clear nonetheless.
Juan Uribe would have to absolutely falter
Rooting for top prospects to not be promoted feels dirty, but why do that when it comes at the expense of the clear fan favorite the Dodgers have in Juan Uribe? “Uribear” has just a .418 OPS this season, and has looked sloppy on the defensive side at times this year. The team is (rightly) giving him every opportunity to bounce back from an early season slump, and I suspect the conversations for Juan to be benched won’t be taken seriously by the front office for another month at least. Because it’s ONLY BEEN 7 GAMES, PEOPLE. The problem, of course, is that the reason fan perception has become highly “anti-Uribe” and “pro-Guerrero”, is that Juan is struggling, and if he can’t turn it around, a change might need to be made. And speaking of which…
Alexander Guerrero would have to show he can’t be an everyday 3b
Lets put it this way, Guerrero has been great thus far, he has an absurd 1.385 OPS right now, he looks like a major league player. I don’t think he can start everyday for the Dodgers. Offensively, Guerrero has to prove that he can get on base at a consistent clip. He’s waiting on his first major league walk, and didn’t show incredible patience at AAA, only walking 3.9% of the time, this ties in nicely with the question of how he hits when he starts struggling. And we haven’t even talked about the fact that Guerrero only has 26 plate appearances in the big leagues. I FEEL like we can’t make a good judgement on his penchant for hitting big league pitching for a long time, maybe he hits, maybe he doesn’t, but the question is always going to be defense. I don’t think he’s looked great in the infield, his route to an infield fly ball was questionable, and the double clutch throw to second base last week in Arizona was just about the scariest thing, defensively. Time will tell whether he can defend, but I just don’t see Seager being held down cause of Alex Guerrero.
Hector Olivera would have to take a really long time to get here, and then need time in the minors
For all the worries about Hector Olivera and finding a spot for him, he isn’t even in the country. He needs to get his visa and prove that his elbow is stable, only then can he even begin his professional career, likely in the minors where he will definitely need time (Olivera has played in a miniscule amount of games since his bout with thrombosis in 2012-2013) to even gain stamina. I imagined the Dodgers would need him sometime this season, but relying on him might be an iffy proposition, especially considering the meteoric rise of Corey Seager.
Despite the sheer list of things that probably need to go right for Seager, his chances to make an impact as a third baseman in 2015 are increasing with every extra base hit he smashes off of overmatched pitching at AA. Saxon says that his arrival feels imminent, and as long as he hits, the team is more likely to promote him.
Then again, I might be totally wrong and as long as Seager shows he’s ready, the team would put him on the field if he’s the best option no matter what Uribe or Guerrero does. Speculating about prospects is very weird because development is so volatile for most guys, but having this conversation about Seager shows how rich the system is, Joc Pederson is making a big league impact right now, so is Pedro Baez, so is Yimi Garcia, so are numerous homegrown players, asking when a top 5 prospect will break in with the big league club is a good question to ask.