In a season full of magic and stars, it seems as if we forget who the Dodgers’ actual best position player and future face of the franchise is.
At 79-33 it only makes sense that there are numerous large contributors on the Dodgers. There have been surprising breakouts such as Chris Taylor, Alex Wood and Cody Bellinger, a great player taking his game to “elite” status in Justin Turner, a resurgence of a fan favorite in Yasiel Puig and an acquisition of a big star in Yu Darvish. So it’s only fair that these players are getting a large sum of the attention.
Chris Taylor went from fringe-MLBer to a guy batting over .310 with a .922 OPS. Cody Bellinger went from top prospect to smashing expectations (literally) with 32 home runs in just 92 games. Belli has the most home runs in baseball since his call-up and being a 21 turned 22-year-old rookie makes all this that much more impressive. Alex Wood has a 2.33 ERA in 19 games (17 starts).
Justin Turner leads the NL with an absurd .351 batting average and has an MVP-level 1.009 OPS while playing some elite defense. And Yasiel Puig? Well, he has slugged a career-high 21 home runs from the eight spot and is playing Gold Glove caliber defense. And a Yu Darvish trade is the definition of a blockbuster trade.
The guy lost in the shuffle of all this? Well, that would be Corey Seager, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger, and the guy who finished third in the 2016 NL MVP Voting.
The guy is a machine. He put up excellent numbers last year at just 22-years-old, so it was fair to expect improvement. And improving he is. Heading into Wednesday’s game, Seager is batting a robust .307/.398/.530 with 19 home runs and 29 doubles.
He is on track for more home runs, doubles and a higher batting average than 2016. His OPS is 51 points higher than it was last season. Oh and he’s already walked three more times than he did all of last season.
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Seager is first on the team in hits, doubles, walks and average with RISP (.352), second in wRC+ and third on the team in batting average, home runs and OPS. And according to FanGraphs, he leads the team in WAR.
Throw in the fact that he is doing this all while playing some good defense at a premium position at shortstop and his value increases even more.
And remember, this Dodgers offense is one heck of a juggernaut.
But because it is so great is probably why he gets overshadowed by all the others. Also, he doesn’t play with the flair of a Cody Bellinger or Yasiel Puig. And he usually doesn’t show his emotions. He just goes about his business, kind of like a machine would. That’s just who he is.
He was the former top prospect in all of baseball before the 2016 season and was viewed as the future of the Dodgers. And he more than lived up to the hype. But this year, Cody Bellinger’s status as LA’s new super-rookie alone has taken the shine away from Seager. Then throw in the other aforementioned players, and it adds on.
But make no mistake. Corey Seager is the best position player on the Dodgers. He has the highest potential by far, is the best all-around hitter bar-Justin Turner and plays arguably the toughest defensive position outside of catcher. The dude has “future batting champion” and “future MVP” written all over him. All this and he’s only 23, making him LA’s best building block for the future.
This isn’t a comparison of Seager vs. Bellinger or Seager and Taylor. This is just to remind you how special number five is and who the face of the Dodgers will be once Clayton Kershaw is no longer the god we’ve been blessed with.