Cleat Geeks

Dodger’s injuries lead to opportunities for younger players

Corey Seager being congratulated after crossing home plate

Howie Kendrick, Yasiel Puig, Jimmy Rollins, Scott Van Slyke, and Justin Turner, have all had to miss time this year due to their injuries. This would normally spell defeat for a club, but not the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a payroll over the $300 million mark, that team would have to be pretty deep. When Hector Olivera became expendable during the trade deadline, it was apparent that Don Mattingly had something better in waiting. Joc Pederson appeared to be the answer early, but the Home Run Derby, and All-Star game seemed to drain all that was left from this record breaking rookie. The answer may have been one that scouts have been telling us about all along; Corey Seager.

Corey Seager; the 21 year old brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, hasn’t slowed the pace he set in the minors since being called up. In 125 games this year in the MiLB, Corey had hit 18 HR’s, 76 RBI’s, and has maintained his minors career batting average of .307. Seager only struck out 76 times this year in his minors stint, that’s nearly half of Joc Pederson’s strikeout total this year in 130 games (151 strike outs). Whenever a batter can secure 147 hits in 125 games, you can almost guarantee he will be in the majors soon enough.

Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) chases down the ball hit by Texas Rangers Nelson Cruz (17) in the second inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas Saturday, April 20, 2013.  Seager would throw to first to force out Cruz on the play.(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

As impressive as hit bat has been, I have been even more impressed with his defensive skill. In game one of the Dodgers series with the Angels (7-5 win on September 7th), It was amazing to see the athleticism Seager was exhibiting. Early in the game, Albert Pujols hit a bullet to the left of 3rd baseman Justin Turner. After Turner’s dive to secure the ball was unsuccessful, Seager not only played his role as backup, but he was able to fire the ball to Scott Van Slyke at first base from the edge of the grass. It’s plays like this that will help this team in October. Corey can hit as many homers as Joc did in the first half of the season, but baseball is so much more than batting, and Seager has already shown signs of this understanding. Dodger’s fans would love to see Jimmy Rollins take back his familiar spot between second and third, but I have to admit, I’m enjoying the defensive display that Seager has shown thus far.

corey-seager-julio-urias-futures-game-2014-dodgers.0Seager is not the only contributing young player on this team. Enrique Hernandez (kike’) has also shown that he can be a valuable utility player for Los Angeles. He has taken over in the outfield for the struggling Pederson, as well as a short stint at the short stop position, but he doesn’t seem to be at home in the position like Seager does. We may see Corey take reps at third base as well, when Turner needs his allotted rest, but he almost assuredly needs to be in the lineup regardless of position. His bat is more consistent than his age should allow at this level, even though his promotion was simply a matter of time. This is not a club committed to simply one season. They will be in the running for a long time to come because of players like Corey Seager, but let’s not shy away from the immediate help that he has already given the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

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