Prospect Preview: Corey Seager

Victor Decolongon

We check back in on Corey Seager

It's been about six months since I wrote this Prospect Comparison between Addison Russell and Corey Seager, so I thought it would be helpful to check in on the Dodgers shortstop prospect to see if anything has changed. As a 19 year old in Lo-A, Seager is young for the level, though not even close to the youngest player on his own team (see: Urias, Julio). First a look at what I had to say about Seager heading into the offseason:

In his first professional season, Seager did not set the league on fire a la Addison Russell, but he did record a .309/.383/.520 slash line in the Rookie level Pioneer league, a great line for an 18 year old. Seager is more power than he is speed, cracking 19 extra base hits in 175 at-bats while adding 8 stolen bases in 10 attempts. Seager impressed with his contact ability given his power profile, striking out only 16% of the time and posting an excellent 10% walk rate.

That covers 2012, and 2013 hasn't been much different (in a good way). He's currently slashing .299/.362/.524 in Lo-A, though he has seen his walk rate drop to 8% and his strikeout rate bump to 21%. That said, with the increased level of competition, his wRC+ has gone from 127 in 2012 to 141 in 2013, meaning that he's producing 41% better than league average as a 19-year old. That's pretty freaking good. Oh, and Seager is also seven of nine stealing bases, despite missing time with a hamstring injury.

Here's the scouting report we had on Seager in December:

A right hander in the field (it would be weird to have a lefty SS right? I can't think of any off the top of my head), Seager hits from the left side of the plate. His swing is short but sweet, with few holes, portending the ability to hit for average, and he uses his physicality and strength to hit for power. Scouts have thrown 60s on Seager's power potential, while raving about the simplicity of his swing. I wouldn't anticipate huge power numbers immediately, but he's very projectable and should show solid, if not overwhelming pop in the lower minors. One of Seager's best qualities is his approach at the plate, which has been called "extremely advanced" and is equal to that of players several years his senior. These qualities should allow Seager to succeed in the low minors and move relatively quickly for a high school draftee - although it appears as though the Dodgers will be more deliberate with him than the A's have been with Russell. Seager boasts above-average speed and is a heady player, allowing him to be successful on 80% of his stolen base attempts. I would anticipate double digit stolen bases over the course of a full season, without many CS's due to his instincts. Fielding could be his Achilles heal however. It's not that he's a poor fielder - quite the opposite in fact. He has soft hands, a plus arm, average range and smooth actions. The fear is that he continues to fill out and will outgrow the position. As it stands he projects to be a 50 fielder at shortstop. A move to third wouldn't be a death knell to his value though, as he projects to be a stronger defender there than at short, and though the burden on his bat would increase significantly, he has more than enough there to sustain himself.

Most of the report remains in tact, as you'd expect with only six months having gone by. That said, we do have more looks at Seager and more reports on him. It's worth noting that Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks rated Seager's arm a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale and gave him potential 60s on his hit and power tools. Put that all together and you've got a very promising foundation for an above-average player. If Seager can stick at shortstop (and the Dodgers are still playing him there), Seager's bat would make him an all-star. Additionally, Baseball Prospectus' Nick Faleris writes that:

Seager entered pro ball with an advanced approach that allows a whippy swing to play well as a catalyst for both his hit and power tools, and he has carried that approach (and swing) over to the pro game with great success

There are likely to be a spate of mid-season top prospect lists coming out and while Seager hasn't gotten a ton of hype due to his steady but not otherworldly play, I expect Seager to crack a few top 50 lists. If you can acquire him before those lists come out, it's likely that you could sell him for more soon after. Of course, one aspect of the "formula" that goes into those rankings is defense which is largely irrelevant to fantasy owners. That said, if he is going to crack the top 50 of prospect lists, it's going to inflate his fantasy value all the same. The savvy fantasy owner can take advantage of such a thing.

Source Material
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
FanGraphs

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