2016 Fantasy BaseballFantasy BaseballProspects

30 Prospects in 30 Days: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant. Corey Seager? Can Seager be the next big thing in Major League Baseball? Most people point in the direction of yes and the numbers sort of reflect that sentiment, but is 98 Major League at bats enough to crown him already?

Profile

Outside of Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor there hasn’t been a more touted shortstop in several years that most actually think can live up to the hype. Born in 1994, the younger brother of Seattle Mariners 3B Kyle Seager, Corey was selected as the 18th pick off the board in the 2012 first year player draft straight out of Northwest Cabarrus HS in North Carolina by the Dodgers. Seager will be joining ten other first round picks of the 2012 draft to see some time in the Majors including Correa, Byron Buxton, Michael Wacha and Andrew Heaney, among others. The potential MLB Rookie of the Year candidate stands at 6’4” 215 pounds and has the ability to mash the ball to all fields and did just that kicking off his career with a .337 average in 98 at bats, knocking four deep flies and driving in 17.

Pundits

Consensus across the industry has been pretty consistent for Seager over the last two years. Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com all ranked Corey in the 34 – 44 range in 2014 and in or around the top 5 by all three prior to the 2015 season. It’s still too early for many of the media outlets to come out with their official rankings for 2016, but Baseball Prospectus has released their list officially slotting Seager at #1.

Production

Outside of his 200+ plate appearance stint in the Pioneer League in 2012, Seager has expressed above-average power for a shortstop, topping at least 16 in all three full years in the minors and maxing out at 20 in 2014 across A+ and AA. Seager is expected to bring that level of power prowess into the majors and showed he could with four homers in 98 at bats last year, which is on par with his 24.5 AB/HR ratio he held in the minors.

In his first career stint on the major league club last season Seager exploded to a .337 average and a .561 slugging percentage. While he won’t possess a ton of speed, he has shown bursts of speed in the past topping double-digit stolen bases in 2013.

Where Seager has struggled a bit in his career is on the field with a career fielding percentage of .956 with 81 errors so far. Because of this the Dodgers tried Seager out at 3B for a few games last season, which turned out to be worse than his defense at shortstop. His less than stellar ability to control his defensive game won’t cause him to lose opportunity this season, but it could hinder his mind set if he struggles out of the gate.

Projection

Despite finishing his 2015 call-up with very impressive numbers, many players and projectors have Seager regressing just a bit as pitching staffs and their coaching systems can start to plan out his weaknesses. While it will be extremely difficult to keep up with his insane numbers last season, he has averaged .307/.368/.523/.891 stat line in his four minor league seasons with 62 homers, 278 runs batted in and 116 doubles. Seager should eventually level himself out into the .300 average range over the course of his career, but it may be a bit difficult for him to rake the way he did in 2015 right out of the gate.

Prediction

Expectations are going to be through the roof with Seager who not only has his brothers’ all-star level talent to live up to but all the hype that has surrounded him since entering the minors four years ago. However, those expectations will need to be tempered at least somewhat in 2016 as he is going to presumably get his first full attempt to be a big leaguer (barring injury). Teams are going to try and exploit whatever faults they can find on tape, and they will challenge him as much as they possible can forcing the rook to beat them instead of allowing Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig or Andre Ethier to. With that being said, Seager can easily be projected in the .270-.285 average level in his rookie season. Seager will also provide a significant amount of pop potential this season expecting to reach the 18-22 HR mark driving in 80+ runs and could even see a small spike in stolen bases to the tune of 8 – 12, which would be a career high if he can obtain the max of that spectrum.

If Seager can match these numbers the value you can get out of him in the 4th or 5th rounds of your draft compared to Correa who is being drafted in the 1st is impossible to pass up on.

Fact to Impress Your Friends

In September / October of last year Corey Seager led all shortstops in the majors with 45.6% hard hit% and finished sixth in the league among all hitters with at least 90 at bats.

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