Corey Seager: Trade Chip Or Untouchable
Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Corey Seager‘s name has appeared in several speculative deals involving elite starting pitching trade rumors for Phillies star left-hander Cole Hamels and Red Sox Jon Lester. With L.A., the top-100 prospect joins outfielder Joc Pederson (Scouting Report) and pitcher Julio Urias (Scouting Report) as prospects worthy of building around. Will a win now, spend big Dodgers franchise sell it’s controllable assets for more star power? Or, is Seager two talented to pawn off?
Seager carved up California League pitching, posting a .352/.411/.633 triple slash line. His success earned the brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager All-Star status in the California League, as well as a Futures Game appearance. This left the boys at Dugout Blues blushing during a recent podcast appearance. The former 2012 first round pick out of Concord, North Carolina was already a top prospect, but saw his status rise to elite level. With an opportunity for success in Double-A Chattanooga, his ending the season as one of the top-10 prospects in baseball is a possibility.
The 6-foot-4, 215 pound screamed top flight prospect during his first home series with the Chattanooga Lookouts. Physically advanced as a 20-year-old, Seager’s body was reminiscent of a young Alex Rodriguez. Lean, with strong development of the calves and quads, Seager’s strong base is key to his strength. His upper half is tapered with wide shoulders capable of adding additional size at physical maturity.
In the field, Seager’s instincts allow him to make plays other infielders his size cannot. He’s lasted at short despite a lack of range on instincts and strong fundamentals. Seager fields routine grounders while flowing to first base which cuts down his throwing distance. This sets up strong feeds to first and second base. On difficult plays the big bodied shortstop struggles with footwork and fields balls on his heels. A move to third base is in his future as his plus arm, instincts and reflexes are ideal for the position.
An average runner, Seager has superb baserunning instincts. His reads were spot on throughout the series, cutting bases as well as anyone scouted. As his body develops muscle mass, foot speed will diminish. Seager’s will help pick up the slack.
Hitting is the key to Corey Seager’s long term success. The left-handed hitter’s swing is fluid and quiet hands allow for a seamless bat load. Seager has the quietest hands of any batter scouted in the Southern League. When attacking the baseball, keeps his hands inside the ball beautifully. With full extension at the point of contact. balls jump off the barrel. It’s the kind of swing which will allow the top-100 prospect to compete for batting titles in his prime.
Despite slugging 18 home runs in the California League, Seager’s power tool lags behind his pure hitting ability. He fails to fully utilize a strong base, over-striding at the point of contact. During the weight transfer from the left hip to his front leg, power is sapped while his back leg collapses. It is especially problematic on off-speed pitches because his base fights staying back. Luckily, bat control bails him out against Double-A pitching, but MLB arms would feast on this weakness if pushed to Los Angeles before making changes.
However, 18 home runs in three plus months means Seager has raw power and hit bat-to-ball skills are allowing it to play up. With a slight upper cut, Seager shortening his stride would allow the natural power to play at an even higher level. On his Double-A pitch, Seager drove a line drive the other way for a double off the left field wall. The hit showed Seager’s ability to add backspin to batted balls.
Along with Cubs prospects Kris Bryant (Scouting Report) and Addison Russell, Seager is in the top-three of position prospects to reach the Southern League in 2014. Corey Seager fills a hole in the Organization. With the oft-injured Hanley Ramirez heading towards free agency and the oft-injured Juan Uribe advancing in age, holding onto Seager while pairing him with Erisbel Arruebarrena (Scouting Report) on the left side of the infield seems like a wise investment. Corey Seager is a tremendous talent and apart of a foundation for the Dodgers to build around. The team’s third baseman of the near future. With the Dodgers front end of the rotation already boasting Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu, trading Seager and other prospects for a front line starter seems silly.
Owning Corey Seager
An elite prospect, Seager’s value has never been higher in dynasty fantasy baseball leagues. And while the bat may continue to develop into a .300+, 25-home run peak, Corey Seager’s imminent slide down the defensive spectrum to third base will keep his overall value stagnant. If looking to deal for the top-100 prospect, buying now for peak value isn’t wise. In his first taste of High-A, Seager struggled after dominating the Midwest League. After dominating the California League, the left-handed hitter has 12 strikeouts and one walk in his first 32 plate appearances. So while Corey Seager has displayed the ability to adjust with time, it’s likely he’ll move to third base and hit another wall before reaching Los Angeles. If willing to monitor him carefully, an opportunity to buy lower will present itself.
31 Jul 2014 / Chris Blessing /
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