Cody Bellinger. Mookie Betts. Clayton Kershaw. Walker Buehler. Max Muncy. In the past two years, these names have emerged as the ones synonymous with Dodgers baseball. However, Corey Seager is a name often lost in the emergence of the Dodgers as a super team in the last few years, mainly due to his injuries that past two seasons.
Since the 2017 NLCS, Corey Seager has struggled with various injuries, the most prominent of which being his need for Tommy John Surgery a few weeks into the 2018 season. As a result of this surgery to fix issues in his arm, Seager missed most of 2018 season and got off to a slow start in 2019. When he finally did manage to get back into his groove in 2019, he got hurt again, straining his hamstring in a mid-season game against the Angels. When Seager returned after the All-Star Break, he got off to yet another slow start before finding himself at the plate a few weeks later.
From his debut in 2015 until his epic home run off Justin Verlander in Game 2 of the 2017 World Series (yes, he actually looked excited), Corey was indisputably one of the best players in baseball. In 2016, when Seager won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, he had an .877 OPS and hit 26 home runs. In 2017, he had an .854 OPS with 22 home runs. While in 2019, these numbers might not impress some, the offensive explosion that took baseball by storm largely hadn't happened yet. Seager ranked second in the National League in Offensive War in 2016. These were, unquestionably, elite numbers.
However, due to Seager's missing most of the 2018 season coupled with the Dodgers' rental trade for Manny Machado, Seager vanished from upon which he previously resided. His slow start in 2019 didn't help matters, and neither did his injury. However, during certain stretches last summer, Seager was nearly impossible to get out. Fans saw the Corey Seager they remembered from year prior, as Seager led the National League in doubles with 44, hit 19 home runs, and played to a war of 3.3, very respectable numbers for only playing 95 games.
So where does Corey Seager go from here? The 2020 season, one already fraught with uncertainty, looms as an important one for the (only) 26-year-old short stop. He's fallen out of many "Top 10 Shortstop" and "Best Players" lists, partly due to his injuries and limited playing time recently and partly due to the explosion of talent at shortstop. Regardless, 2020 will either provide a means by which Seager can regain his former status as a top player in the National League or provide opportunities for injuries and slumps.
Based on what we've seen recently from Seager, the former seems infinitely more likely. Seager, who is theoretically entering his prime, displayed how he still has the ability to both play an above-average shortstop while hitting at an elite level when healthy. So far in the Dodgers' 2020 Summer Camp, Seager is 8-12, with nearly all of those hit going for extra bases (yes, mostly doubles), and when he makes outs, they are loud, loud, outs.
Corey Seager is finally entering a season fully healthy with a normal, rehab-free, and extended offseason. He can provide serious power at the bottom of the Dodgers' lineup and can now occasionally DH to rest and try to avoid further injuries, as a player of his caliber missing games in 2020 could be disastrous in a 60 game season.
Corey Seager is finally primed and ready to go. The league should be scared.
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