The LA Dodgers’ shortstop and 2020 NLCS MVP is raking at an incredible clip this postseason, while simultaneously making his case to be the long term solution at the position for LA.
That year, the former first round pick played in just 26 games before succumbing to a season-ending injury.
His stats weren’t awful in those games, posting a .267 batting average with a .348 OBP, .744 OPS and 103 OPS+, but certainly a diversion from his outstanding NL Rookie of the Year campaign in 2016 and subsequent sophomore surge in 2017.
A digression significant enough to put his future with the Dodgers in question.
2019 proved to be something of a bounce-back season for the shortstop, who played in 134 games following his return to the diamond. He hit .272 with a .335 OBP, .817 OPS and a 113 OPS+ that year.
All solid figures but still quite removed from his early career excellence.
Looking at the big picture, it hasn’t nearly been the career that Seager or the Dodgers envisioned to this point. Besides his 2016 and 2017 outbursts, the six-year veteran has had relatively pedestrian outputs when compared to the lofty standards attached to his pedigree.
Until the 2020 playoffs.
The NLCS MVP has been a revelation for the Dodgers this postseason, seemingly out of nowhere. He played well during the shortened 60 game regular season in 2020, but he has taken his game to a new level as LA seeks its first World Series title since 1988.
To be fair, the team has had multiple star performers this postseason (Walker Buehler comes to mind), a big reason for their World Series appearance.
But Seager has separated himself from the rest of his teammates with his offensive resurgence that has lasted through three playoff series, dating back to the Division series against the San Diego Padres.
In 15 playoff games this October (at the time of this writing), Seager is hitting .304 with seven home runs, while maintaining a .403 OBP and a blistering 1.153 (!) OPS.
Just in the World Series alone, Seager has a whopping 1.238 OPS, albeit within a small sample size.
The 2020 playoffs didn’t start off hot for Seager, however, as he struggled during the two game Wild Card series against the Milwaukee Brewers. He hit just .143 in those games, but did post an .821 OPS.
This renaissance is even more surprising when juxtaposing it against the veteran shortstop’s career postseason stat line of .236/.318/.466 with a .784 OPS. Again, relatively pedestrian numbers for a player of his caliber.
In many ways, Seager’s sudden revival has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers, who might be witnessing a return to form of one of their most talented players. It might also present a challenging dilemma for LA in the coming off-season.
While Seager won’t hit free agency until 2022, the team will need to make a decision sooner rather than later on the shortstop’s future in blue and white. This is especially true now given his stellar playoff performance, which can be used as leverage on Seager’s part if an extension is in the works.
The Dodgers always knew of the talent Seager possessed, hence why he was made a first-round selection in 2012. That talent has resurfaced in a timely manner, winning back both Dodger fans and those in the organization who had their doubts after 2018.
Corey Seager should be here to stay.