Forget the Hot Stove: Corey Seager Could Make the Biggest Impact of 2019

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While many fans of the Dodgers are focused on the team acquiring a catcher or perhaps an impact outfielder in the coming weeks, they can’t forget about one of the biggest returns the Dodgers will see in 2019.

Corey Seager spent most of the 2018 season on the sidelines with an elbow injury that started bothering him in the fall of 2017. The then sophomore shortstop tried to work through the pain, ultimately becoming sidelined for the 2017 NLCS. He rehabbed his elbow throughout the offseason thinking he might be ready the 2018 season. But he ended up undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery in early May, after just 24 starts at shortstop. His surgeries didn’t end there. He also underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left hip in August.

The loss of the 2016 Rookie of the Year at the shortstop position was a tough pill to swallow last season, especially since his next door neighbor Justin Turner was also out dealing with a wrist injury of his own. Chris Taylor took over a majority of the playing time for Seager, with Enrique Hernandez spelling him from time to time. Then, the Dodgers traded for Manny Machado just after the All-Star break, who defensively filled the shortstop gap very well.

Seager has been spotted working out at Dodger Stadium. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com earlier in December that Seager has now “switched gears” from rehab to training to be ready for actual baseball games.

“We’re encouraged with where he’s at, but we’ll know more as we get into January and he ramps up his baseball skills,” Friedman said.

Baseball-Reference projects the young shortstop to have a slash line of .292/.364/.475/.839 with 11 homers, but with only 319 plate appearances. Steamer for Fangraphs has him making 651 PA, and projects his slashline to be .283/359/.477/.836 with 24 homers, and a 5.7 WAR, good for what they project to be second best in the National League next season. (It’s also interesting to note the inclusion of Justin Turner).

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The Dodgers will only benefit from the return of their All-Star shortstop, both in stability and production. Once Seager is fully healthy, his presence will be felt throughout both the batting order and on the field, and it bears repeating, the stability of a steady, everyday shortstop will galvanize the team again.

 

 

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34 thoughts on “Forget the Hot Stove: Corey Seager Could Make the Biggest Impact of 2019

  1. Good projections for Seager. No surprise. He should be ready to go by April so hopefully there will be no restrictions.

    I’m seeing a lineup with Seager, Turner and Harper. If we had a .400 OBP guy at leadoff and a RH thumper in the 5 hole we could lead the league in scoring. Again.

    The roster reconstruction is obviously not done, however in the end it may still have many of the same names. I look for something big but my gut tells me they may not want to do something so attention getting it changes the chemistry of the two time NL Champions.

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  2. Interesting to see no Harper in the top 10 WAR. Maybe they didn’t include him because he hasn’t signed but I’d love to see where he ranks

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    1. This is a good place to start Rich:

      https://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&type=steamer&team=0&lg=all&players=0&sort=27,d

      They sure don’t like Harper’s defense. Give him to Ebel right away and I am certain if Bryce is willing to put the time in he can be a 0 dWAR player in no time. It’s just a matter of hard work. Harper is 4+ oWAR player who technically is just entering his prime years. In the right situation he could cement his legacy. Is that in LA? Iontkno. He may come here and the cement in that legacy would be the overshoes he is wearing when they throw him off the Santa Monica pier. But 100 runs scored, 30+ home runs and 100 ribbies every year for the next 5 years is something to build around.

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  3. If Seager returns to his all star form, I think he will make a huge impact. I expect some rust and hopefully he is healthy enough in spring to play regularly and get the cobwebs taken care of. We do not know what the 2019 final version will look like. There obviously will be some new blood. Hopefully it will be the productive kind. Maybe the new approach that the new hitting coach brings will also be productive. Maybe Barnes hit’s .280 again with say 15 dingers. He could do it. But I do not expect Muncy or Kike to repeat what they did last year. I think Bellinger will get better. They guy has a great swing. If Scoyoc can get him to get it under control, really good things could happen. I would love to see Taylor cut way down on his strikeouts and become the hitter he was in 2017 again. Because if he did you eliminate the need to trade for a leadoff hitter or a second baseman because he fills that spot nicely. All in all, everything is going to have to fall into place for them to win again. Andy had better have a couple of rabbits to pull out of his hat because so far his card tricks suck.

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    1. I just looked for Barnes on that fangraphs projections site I posted. He is projected at 1.9 WAR. I’d take that in a heartbeat. He’s a decent defender and somebody has to hit 8th.

      We don’t even have a right fielder, though Verdugo does show up on page 2, with a 102 wRC+. And the only Dodger name on the second base list? Austin Barnes. Taylor or Hernandez, if included as 2B, would show up in the top 1/3.

      Agree about Taylor. I doubt we see the .354 OBP again, but if he gets close, he’s the lead off guy. You know who might be better….. Alex Verdugo. Maybe not right away but once he gets accustomed to being in the Majors. In Miami. Or Cleveland. Pittsburgh.

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  4. I don’t get all the anti Friedman talk. The Dodgersbhave gone to two straight World Series! He has rebuilt the farm system into a consistent top ten. Doesn’t he get any credit for Taylor and Muncy. Seager, Bellinger, Buehler three straight rookie phenoms that he kept and didn’t trade away. That Hamel deal would have been disastrous for us! Great trade for Grandal. And he resigned our top guys Kershaw, Jansen and Turner on team friendly contracts. The last 2 years he made big trade deadline moves to strengthen the team. We may not have won a World Series but that’s not on him. If Kershaw and Jansen do their jobs then we beat Houston and Boston was just on a roll and too good this year. Friedman has positioned the Dodgers to be good for many years to come! And who knows where Guggenheim’s financial status really is. They seem kinda shady to me. Count me as a Friedman fan! He has more smarts than all of us combined! Well maybe not Scoop

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    1. Rich, I get what you are saying. But they were good when he took over. As far as Hamels goes, they were never going to trade Seager. That was all rumor and had not basis in fact. He got lucky with Bellinger, but his only draft chip on the table is Buehler, and no way he gets traded. The Grandal trade was not great. It was a good trade and they got a couple of good offensive seasons out of the guy, but he faded every post season and for the most part was a non factor. The farm system was damn good BEFORE he got here. Bellinger and Seager were Logan White’s boys. So was Pederson who had a decent 1st half his rookie year. Muncy was a good pickup, but do you really expect him to repeat last year? Sorry, he surprised the league last year, but they are going to be ready for him this year. If he comes close to the numbers he put up, the Dodgers would be extremely lucky. But just look how far Taylor dropped. The guy led the NL in strikeouts. We give Friedman credit for that bad move? The Braves went to 4 World Series in 5 years. They won 14 of 15 division titles including 11 straight. yet they are remembered more for the epic failure to win more titles. The Dodgers are heading down that same road. They are a very good team. But they are far from being a great team. Good teams get close. Great teams win. They had a great team in 2017 and lost.

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  5. But 2017 was a great team he assembled that should have won but I believe it was on the players who didn’t bring that title to LA. I guess my point is ive been a Dodger fan for 40 years and won’t stop being one because we haven’t won a World Series. It still is electrifying to be in Dodger stadium for playoff baseball! Better than being an Angel fan!

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    1. I have been a Dodger fan for 65 years. In 2017 they had a great team. But with some really questionable moves by Roberts during the Series they might have won. Had Darvish pitched effectively they might have won. But they didn’t. The point is this, I am a Dodger fan, always will be. Winning the series would be nice. I have seen 6, would like to see #7. But that does not mean that I have to sit here and agree with every move Friedman makes. Better than being an Angel fan? Maybe, but the Angels won the big dance in 2002. The Giants have won 3 and the Dodgers are on a 30 year drought. Friedman has NEVER signed a big name free agent. He did keep Kenley and Turner on team friendly deals and they are the only 2 players he has signed that have gotten more than 3 years. His building the farm system is over rated since he inherited a really good one to begin with, and the Dodgers were a very good team when he took over. I don’t see where he is so frippen brilliant. Friedman is also 0-3 as a WS leader. His Rays lost 1 and the Dodgers have lost 2. I do not see the genius everyone else claims is there. Fred Claire even won a title. It is not easy to get there, that is true. I give him credit that the team has gotten there. But I in no way consider him a genius.

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  6. For the Friedman haters here, just saw at MLBTR that the Tigers asked Andrew for either Verdugo or Ruiz for Castellanos, an admittedly good hitter with one year of control left who can’t field his way out of a paper bag. I’m willing to offer Stewart and Gale. Maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle. That same article says that Grandal rejected a 4 year/60 million offer from the Mets before they turned around and signed Ramos. If so, that could be the greatest free agent mistake of all time (Jody Reed can finally get the monkey off his back).

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    1. Asking for and actually getting in a trade are two entirely different things. Teams have always asked for the best. The Dodgers did not even give up the best when they traded for Machado. They gave up some interesting talent, but no one that was MLB ready except Valera and they had received him in an earlier trade. It is like the Phillies knew that Seager was never really going to be traded. They wanted him, but they sure settled for a lot less from the Rangers. Yeah, Grandal dropped the ball again! Glad he is an exe Dodger. By the way Jefe, reports are circulating that neither Harper nor Machado are going to announce where they are going until after the new year……your time for Ol Andy to announce something major is about up and I think you blew it ol pal.

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      1. I still have approximately 78 hours Bear. It’s not over till it’s over! However…………………………..I’m very good at admitting I was wrong, so stay tuned on Jan. 1. On the other hand, I’m also pretty good at gloating. And between now and the 1st one of us should check because I’m not sure I said it would be a major move, just that there would be something. I could be wrong about that because I do tend to spout a lot and forget everything but the last point I made.

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      2. Update: Just checked and this is what I wrote “I’m absolutely convinced Andrew does something by the time the ball drops in Times Square but have no clue what it might be.”

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    1. I hope ol Grandmal chokes on it. Turning down a 60 million dollar deal is idiotic……but then again that guy was never known for his intelligence……..the clock is ticking el Jefe! tick tock………

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  7. There is also a blurb around that both Harper and Machado prefer NY. Just make up your frippen minds already so all of this stupid talk can go away.

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  8. I think the mystery team for Yaz with the 4 year offer is the A’s. Don’t ask me why it’s just a hunch. I’m shocked Atlanta hasn’t jumped on him he would fit perfectly in the middle of their lineup and they have a huge hole at catcher.

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    1. I don’t see the A’s spending that kind of money Alex. I think the mystery team is the Nippon Ham Fighters and the offer is for 60 million yen (about $550,000 if my math is correct). Ya gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em. Yasmani may not be the best poker player.

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      1. I say it’s Oakland because why wouldn’t he have already taken a 4 year deal from a contender? It’s gotta be a bottom dweller team offering that deal.

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    2. The Mets offered him 4 years and as far as anyone knows they were the only team to do that and he turned them down so they signed Ramos. Catchers are thinning out. Ramos, Lucroy McCann all off the board. Well there is always Hundley and AJ.

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  9. At this point I am sold on wanting Barnes to start. I think he will break out this year. Give Matt Wieters 1 year $5 million to back him up and catch once a week then see where Smith and Ruiz are with their development in August.

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  10. After the lucroy for 3.35 mil, I’ll bet you could get Wieters for less than 5 mil. If I was grandal I would fire my agent, for convincing me to turn down the Mets offer, no way he gets close to that now, not after Ramos signed for 2 years 19 million.

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    1. Wieters huh. Yeesh. .670 OPS range. Decent defender. A move like that puts us one more step behind.

      Like him or not, and I didn’t, Grandal was a 3.3 WAR player. We replace him with a < 1 WAR player we are asking for it.

      Hate to say it but at this rate if we don’t get Realmuto or Cervelli we may be asking Yasmani to return. If we don’t get it elsewhere we need some offensive production from catcher. What’s the plan Andrew?

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  11. Hey, El Jefe, pressure got to you yet>? They want a huge haul for Realmuto or Castellanos. I think they would be better off spending the money on some other catcher or outfielder. I wonder why no one has mentioned Adam Jones. Plus defender, good hitter with power. Play Verdugo in RF and platoon in LF. That puts Bellinger at 1st where he belongs. Muncy, Kike, Taylor, all can do the job at 2nd. Freese to give Belli and Turner breathers. I can live with Barnes and Maldonado behind the dish. There is a rumor that they are talking to Harrison’s agent. And of course the Harper rumors are still out there. Latest reports say Machado is going to the Yankees. I questioned a poster on twitter who keeps insisting that the Dodgers are going to sign Harper. I asked him to use his brain and not his heart. I say the same to all here. Do they honestly believe that ownership, who has the final say, not Friedman, are going to give Harper the richest contract ever after he rejected 10/300 from the Nationals. To do so, they would have to go over the CBT, and drastically reduce the amount of money they could spend on other free agents at positions that need to be addressed ASAP. If they do sign Harper, I would bet it is for no more than 5 years with at least 1 opt out. I would rather see the holes filled than Harper in a Dodger uni. I know I am in the minority. But I have been there for a long time.

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    1. Pressure, what pressure? Just got off the phone with Friedman. Told him to let the Tigers have Ruiz, Verdugo and Lux for that one year of Castellanos, as long as the trade goes down before New Year’s. He’s working the phone feverishly as I write this. In the meanwhile I’m drafting a victory speech and a concession speech. I still have about 49 hours. Lots of time.

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      1. What kind of wacky weed are you smoking? Wow, I know you are just stirring the pot, but that’s a horrible trade just to prove you are right. Maybe they sign a player by Monday….but it ain’t lookin good amigo.

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      2. He wasn’t serious Bear.

        Predictions are fun but it’s folly to take any of them too seriously. Remember all the fights at you know where? A certain blogger was wrong about EVERYTHING from 2003 to yesterday and all pointing those facts out to him got anybody was death threats and a board blow up. That won’t happen here of course but it’s evidence that taking ones opinions too seriously can cause trouble.

        My opinion this morning is that unless we add more better pitching and more better hitting there are at least 3 teams that are more better than us. But that may be ok with this group because all 3 of those teams are in the other league.

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