Dodgers: Is Corey Seager the Best Shortstop in Baseball?
Corey Seager was called up in September of 2015 and was already a Dodger fan favorite. 2016 was his first full season as an MLB player and it was an exciting one. After seeing what he did in his first full season it’s easy to see why some consider him the best shortstop in baseball.
Corey Seager was in the starting lineup for the Dodgers on Opening Day 2016 and many fans wondered if what he did in 2015 would continue. 2016 was his official rookie season, due to the fact he only had 98 at-bats in 2015. In his first Opening Day as a big leaguer, he collected one hit and two RBI’s. In a 15-0 route for the Dodgers, this didn’t stick out too much. But the rest of 2016, Seager was ready to put the Dodgers on his back and do so much more along the way.
Watching Seager swing a bat is art at its finest. His swing is so smooth and his mechanics are polished like a veteran. He rarely swings at pitches most rookies would, always composed, and is always ready for the next challenge ahead of him. Dodger fans waited so long for this time to come and he wasn’t about to let anyone down.
Seager started the season with eight straight games with a base hit. It took him 11 games to hit his first home run of the season and he was just getting started. Even as a rookie, Seager was labeled as the guy who carried the Dodgers. Of course, Clayton Kershaw normally carries that role, but he can only pitch every five games. Seager played in 157 of the Dodgers 162 regular season games.
Through the first month of the season, Seager had a .250 average, which isn’t bad considering he’s a rookie. After just a few games into May, Seager started to catch fire and from that moment he never looked back. In April, he only hit two home runs, while in May he hit seven. Things only got better for the future Rookie of the Year as the season went on. Seager continued to be dominant at the plate and was also turning into a great shortstop which most people, including myself, thought he would struggle due to his lack of arm strength. But just as he did all season, Seager showed there’s nothing he can’t do.
Before being voted into his first All-Star game and Home Run Derby, Seager was voted Rookie Of the Month in June for the first time in his career. At this point, Seager was a name it seemed like everyone knew. He had an impressive batting average that was hanging right around the .300 mark and 17 home runs under his belt. Dodger fans were finally seeing who their shortstop would hopefully be for many seasons to come.
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In his second half of the season we did see some of the power die down a bit, but the offensive production not so much. A lot of fans were worried he was dealing with the “Home Run Derby Curse” which many people believed happened to Joc Pederson the year before. Many fans believe the Home Run Derby causes players to use up a lot of their power in the event and they aren’t able to keep it up during the rest of the season. But of course, there’s also just the fact that once you’re more than halfway through a season your body naturally wears out. It took Seager until his last game of July to record his first home run since the event took place. He recorded nine home runs after competing in the Home Run Derby.
Seager had some pretty impressive streaks going throughout his rookie season. His longest hitting streak and on-base streak were both at 19 games. Which shows you just how consistent his bat was. He never went more than 20 games without a home run and never more than 11 games without an RBI. Seager showed consistency in his offensive production from the moment he put on a Dodger uniform. He also had four multi-home run games, with three home runs in a game being his most to date.
Corey Seager had plenty of accomplishments in his rookie season as well. He won Rookie Of the Year unanimously, while also picking up the National League shortstop Silver Slugger Award. A lot of people believed he might win NL MVP, although he did not, but he still ranked third among NL players. He finished seventh in batting average in the NL. Seager saw a lot of at-bats totaling at 627, which ranked second in NL and coming in at second in hits. He managed to prove myself and his critics wrong once again, committing only 18 errors all season, which was first among shortstops.
On top of all the accolades he received in 2016, Seager also broke some Dodger franchise records. Seager broke former Dodger Great, Steve Sax’s record for most hits in a single season by a rookie. This record held up for 34 years before Seager broke it with his 181st hit of the season. He also managed to break Hanley Ramirez’s Dodger franchise record for most home runs in a season by a shortstop, which now stands at 26 home runs. Just to keep adding to his impressive rookie resume he also now holds the record for most doubles in a season by a rookie. He broke Eric Karros’ record of 30 and raised the bar to 39 doubles. Last, but not least, he broke Mike Piazza’s rookie record for total bases in a season, which was 307 and is now at 321 held by Seager.
Next: Joc Pederson's 2017 Season Outlook
Corey Seager has been a lot of fun to watch for all fans of baseball. He plays the game with maturity and always works to his fullest potential, even already being one of the top players on the team. Seager seems to love the veterans, which is great for his growth and as a Dodger fan myself, I am very excited to see where his career ends up. If Seager can continue this dominance throughout 2017 I don’t think there will be any doubt about who the best shortstop in baseball is.