Don’t look now, but the Dodgers may have a trio of MVP contenders this season.
We all expected Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts to form one of the best duos in the game, which is already enough to give opposing teams nightmares. But something even scarier is starting to brew within the Dodgers’ summer camp: Corey Seager looks healthy again.
It doesn’t matter who you ask right now, the baseball world can all agree that Corey Seager is on an absolute tear.
Corey Seager is locked in. Start the season.
— AlaNNa Rizzo (@alannarizzo) July 10, 2020
Sure these games don't mean anything, but Corey Seager looks REALLY good.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) July 10, 2020
So far this preseason, Seager has 5 hits in the televised intrasquad games with 2 doubles. He looks as locked in as anyone, and that could be a sign that he is back to perfect health and ready to tear up major league pitching again.
Corey’s Health Issues
Corey Seager has been a victim of bad luck thus far in his early career, but that shouldn’t take away from his production levels when healthy. Let’s take a look at his first complete season as an example.
Back in 2016, Seager was coming off of a successful September call up from the season before in which he blew away all expectations that fans had of him. In 157 games that year, he hit .308 with 26 home runs and 40 doubles, which was enough to win him Rookie of the Year and a Silver Slugger.
At that point in time, Dodgers fans were convinced that Corey would be the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future, and rightly so. This was prior to Cody Bellinger’s arrival, making Seager the prized prospect.
The 2017 season was more of the same, but a UCL injury at the start of the 2018 season changed everything. Seager did not play again that season, and the future of the shortstop starting to become doubtful.
That takes us to last season, where fans were anxious to see if Seager had fully recovered and could return to his former level. He was slow coming out of the gate, as the team was doing everything they could to give him plenty of off days to ensure he stayed healthy. A couple of minor injuries throughout the season kept him from getting too hot at any particular moment, but he still put up some decent numbers. More importantly, he managed to play 134 games and finish the season with a relatively clean bill of health.
2019 was an encouraging sign that Seager was on the way back his former self. If you’re not convinced, let’s look at the numbers side by side compared to his Rookie of the Year season in 2016.
2016: .303 BA/.365 OBP/.512 SLG 26 HR/40 2B/72 RBI
2019: .272 BA/.335 OBP/.483 SLG 19 HR/44 2B/87 RBI
The average and on-base percentage were down, but he still had a sneakily successful comeback, all things considered. If he can carry the same mentality and foul pole to foul pole approach at the plate, he could be in store for a true breakout season.
It wasn’t long ago that Corey Seager was considered one of the best players in baseball, and if it weren’t for the UCL injury, he likely still would be. The determination that he has shown in his early at-bats during training shows a fire that has been lit, whether it be because of trade rumors or simply the desire to get better. Either way, the rest of the league better watch out because a healthy Seager gives this Dodgers team a three-headed monster that no pitcher would want to face.