Dodgers Face-off: Seager Vs. Bellinger

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 23: Corey Seager
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 23: Corey Seager /

The future of the Dodgers is in good hands with some of the best young players in baseball. In particular, the 2016 and 2017 unanimous Rookie of the Year winners, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. Both are elite talents, but who has the brighter future?

These two young studs are the future of the Dodgers without question. Fans are now able to see why Andrew Friedman was unwilling to part with these players to acquire Cole Hamels or David Price a few years back. Both Cody and Corey will be the faces of this franchise in the near future if they aren’t already.

There’s no doubt in my mind that both these players are going to be exciting to watch grow to their full potential. However, I am more excited about the future of Corey Seager.

Not to take anything away from the greatness of Cody Bellinger, but I believe that Corey Seager is just one tier ahead of him. This could change, but as of now Seager’s future just looks brighter than that of the Arizona native, Cody Bellinger.

The reasoning for that is the maturity level and growth I’ve already seen out of Corey Seager. He came up in September 2015 and produced well enough to earn a playoff spot and even starts over the veteran Jimmy Rollins. He followed that with a tremendous rookie season. Hitting .308 with 26 bombs and 72 RBI’s.

In 2017 Seager was never fully healthy, dealing with many nagging injuries that started in Spring Training and carried over into the regular season as he rushed back. Despite not being healthy he managed to stay close to his 2016 numbers and increase OBP, RBI and was just 4 homers behind his 2016 season even though he had 88 less at bats.

Essentially Corey Seager hobbled into 2017, teams had more data on him and Seager scoffed at the idea of a “sophomore slump” With so many things working against the resilient 6’4 stallion managed to keep the same high level of production and that in of itself is special.

Another thing Seager improved was his defense. He lowered his error total from 18 to 11 and increased his defensive WAR from 0.7 to 1.7. Seager was even a finalist for the Gold Glove. Proving the people who believe he isn’t a shortstop wrong. He will continue to get better defensively and eventually earn that Gold Glove that he was so close to in 2017.

Corey Seager is so special because his floor is just so high that even when he is bad he is good. With that said, Seager might have a higher floor but Bellinger has a higher ceiling. Cody also has a lower floor than Corey though. The safe pick is Seager. However, Cody Bellinger has all the tools to surpass him.

If both players reach their full potential, Bellinger will be better than Seager. The problem is not many players can get to that full potential that many coaches desire, and know they can reach.

Cody Bellinger has the opportunity to be better than Seager if this major flaw gets corrected. First off he needs to make an adjustment on pitches that are getting him out. He was absolutely exploited on the biggest stage of the season. Even the least knowledgeable of baseball fans could tell you that the way to get Bellinger out was to throw a curveball down and in at his back foot.

That is the biggest difference between Seager and Bellinger. Cody didn’t make an adjustment over the course of an entire series but Seager is smart enough to make in-game adjustments and even mid at-bat adjustments. Sure Bellinger might be able to make an adjustment over this off-season to this pitch and come out on a tear again. But what will he do if they find another pitch that’ll get him out?

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He can’t continue to disappear towards the end of the season when it matters most. He should not wait until he reaches the off-season to correct a major flaw. He should attack the problem immediately during the season.

Cody Bellinger had a record-breaking year. He played tremendous baseball and did it all over the field – ending the season with a WAR of 4.2. He is the flashier of the two and that is because home runs are just fun. Bellinger provides so many of them, some fans would choose him over Seager. After mashing 39 home runs and setting an NL rookie record with those numbers, he deserves some credit.

I’ll leave you with this, Corey Seager’s rookie season ended with him having a WAR of 6.1. In 2017, despite the nagging injuries and the notion of a sophomore slump, Seager ended a down year with a WAR of 5.6. That’s over 1 point higher than Cody Bellinger was worth.

Next: Forecasting Next Year's Free Agent Market

Bellinger is flashy and, indeed, a great talent. If I were assembling a team from the ground up and had to choose between him and Seager, I’m going with Seager. It’s not really a contest in my opinion because, numbers don’t lie, Seager is a far more valuable piece. Not to take anything away from Bellinger, he’s great, but Seager is just a machine. I believe Corey will be the better player in the long run.