2016 MLB Prospect Report: Corey Seager
David Kerr gives an in-depth analysis of the rising Dodgers star.
Corey Seager, Shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers
Weight: 215 lbs.
2015 Minor League Stats (AA & AAA): 464 PA, .299/.344/.487, 18 HR, 76 RBIs, 81 Runs, 4 SB
2015 Major League Stats: 113 PA, .337/.425/.561, 4 HR, 17 RBIs, 17 Runs, 2 SB
We always hear about “ceilings” when it comes to top prospects. While the elite young hitters transform their prospect status into elite major league careers, the majority fall short. Just look back to MLB drafts over the last 10 years and you’ll see plenty of names that you’ve probably never heard of.
With Corey Seager, it’s different.
We see a sky-high ceiling and all of the tools to become a legitimate superstar. When he was drafted out of Northwest Cabarrus High School in North Carolina, the Dodgers’ assistant general manager at the time, Logan White, compared Seager to Cal Ripken Jr.. At the shortstop position, there is no greater compliment.
At age 21, Seager has absolutely nothing left to prove at the minor league level. Though he never posted eye-popping numbers at any level, his skill set and pedigree give us reason to believe that he will develop into a certified stud. It is tough to give any player a Mike Trout comparison, but this is what we potentially could have with Seager. Remember, Trout had a rather cold cup of coffee in 2011 before his total eruption the following year. To believe it impossible that Seager could finish the season as a top-three shortstop in 2016 would be ignorant.
Being 6-foot-4, 215 lbs., Seager has a tall, lanky frame—something that could prohibit him from being a shortstop over the long haul. With that said, it isn’t going to matter in the short term. He will be the starting shortstop for the Dodgers on Opening Day and will have eligibility at the position for the next two seasons at a minimum. For future reference, if Seager does make a positional change, it will mostly likely be to the hot corner. With the recent drop off on the left side of the infield, Seager’s position will be welcome at both shortstop and third base.
There is no crystal ball for the future, so let’s focus on the present. Seager is the Dodgers shortstop at this very moment and because of that, his stock is at an all-time high headed into the 2016 season. It is clear the shortstop position has long been a black hole when it comes to fantasy production. Not until the emergence of Carlos Correa in 2015 has the position seen elite players in the past couple of seasons. Sure, Jose Reyes has given fantasy owners stolen bases with a handful of home runs over the last several years and we surely cannot forget an oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki, but Correa’s pedigree—and 2015 production—show that the shortstop position is on the rise once more. Seager will only add to the weight at the top.
It is always wise to look to player’s strengths and weaknesses. We know that Seager is young and has plenty of room to grow, but there are also tidbits that we can grab to help predict which way his career arch will go. Seager spent the better part of 2014 in High-A Rancho Cucamonga and struck out 20.8 percent of the time. The following season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, that number dropped to 14 percent over 464 plate appearances. That is exactly the type of positive development that fantasy owners can get excited over. It’s worth noting that Seager held his own over his first 113 plate appearances with the Dodgers last season by striking out just 16.8 percent of the time. If he can stay right around that number or lower it over the next few seasons, we will see his contact rate rise.
A negative that we can look at regarding Seager is his clear lack of speed. He only swiped double-digit bags in one minor league season and that was in 2013 when he stole 10 bases while splitting time between Single-A and High-A. We have seen players in the past randomly post solid stolen base numbers over a full season (Todd Frazier comes to mind), but usually minor league statistics are a good barometer for projecting speed in the future. If you head into the 2016 season hoping that Seager will be a 20/20 player, you should take a step back right now and reevaluate.
The best part about Seager is that his physique has enough room to pack on several pounds of muscle. Translation: his power numbers will continue to rise. He hit 38 doubles and 17 home runs last season between Triple-A and the majors; seasoning, polish, and muscle mass will push more balls over the fence as soon as this year. With Seager, 30 home runs a season is a realistic possibility.
Currently, Seager has an ADP of 40.9 in Howard Bender’s Mock Draft Army. This is likely too high this season, but because of his pedigree and positional eligibility, it’s unlikely that he’ll fall any further than the 45-50 range. It is certainly a gamble to pull the trigger on Seager in the fourth or fifth round of a 12-team mixed draft because he’s just as likely to disappoint in his first full season and he is to cement himself as a top shortstop. There are currently much better ADP values including Jose Reyes at 123.2 and Jean Segura at 179.8.
There is glowing confidence in many circles that Seager is truly a dynasty god on the cusp of something remarkable. He is still several years away from his prime, but has the skill set to become a superstar as soon as this season. Think of Seager as a game of Russian roulette. There are plenty of reasons to believe in a rookie season breakout, but expectations need to be tempered. If you land on the wrong chamber, your season-long plans could be ruined. Remember that on draft day.