What Happened In 2017: The follow-up to his Rookie Of The Year season was hampered slightly due to an elbow injury. Nevertheless, Corey Seager continued to be one of the top offensive producers on the team.
It’s rare to have a talent like Seager who is able to produce consistent power from the shortstop position. Remember when his move to third base was a foregone conclusion? Seager has become one of the most prolific shortstops in Dodgers franchise history. It’s easy to forget that he’s only 23 years old and is going into his fourth big league season. Corey already holds the Dodgers franchise record for home runs by a shortstop with 51. 22 of those homers came in 2017.
The accolades came aplenty for Seager again. He won his second straight NL Silver Slugger Award for his offense at shortstop, and he was named to the All-Star team for the second year in a row. The big guy at short also improved defensively in 2017 and was a finalist for the National League Gold Glove Award along with teammate Yasiel Puig. Seager was second behind Brandon Crawford in UZR (+6.7) and fourth in the league in defensive runs saved at short.
He’s all-around good. Extremely good. Rafael Furcal was a great shortstop along with Nomar Garciaparra, Bill Russell, Pee Wee Reese and the great Maury Wills. Seager can now be talked about amongst the great Dodger shortstops, and has arguably been the best offensively through his first 329 games. He’s hit 52 home runs, most of those coming in the last two years. His career slash line is impressive .305/.374/.502/.876 despite a dip in production in 2017.
Seager’s season was admittedly hindered by some lingering injuries including a hamstring strain in June. He didn’t hit the disabled list, but then again in August was held back by an elbow injury. Seager played throw the elbow pain down the stretch, and it was reflected in his numbers. Corey wasn’t able to start for over a week at the end of August and could only pinch-hit. In the final month of the season, he hit .210 with six extra-base hits including three home runs in 24 games.
Seager ended up playing in 12 less games than in 2016. His offense dipped a bit, his batting average falling below .300 for the first time in his young career. He dropped from second in the NL in WAR (7.4) per FanGraphs to seventh in the NL (5.7). He struck out slightly more (21.4 percent) than the year prior (19.4 percent), but he walked more often in 2017 (10.9 percent) than 2016 (7.9 percent). The difference between a 127 and a 136 wRC+ isn’t vast, but it’s worth looking at the elbow injury’s significance on Seager’s results.
The Dodgers did not have their All-Star shortstop at their disposal for most of the postseason. In Game 3 of the NLDS, Corey injured his back while sliding and was left off the NLCS roster against the Cubs. He came back in the World Series and hit a home run in Game 2 against Justin Verlander.
Nevertheless, Seager’s an MVP-caliber player you hope to have healthy for years to come. The good news is that Chase Utley‘s baseball son was able to avoid elbow surgery (and got married) this offseason.
2018 Status: Will continue to be the Dodgers’ starting shortstop barring any elbow flare-up.