Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Corey Seager makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – Corey is the brother of Seattle Mariners’ 3B Kyle Seager. His father, Jeff, and his other brother, Justin, also played collegiate ball. Prospects with bloodlines in the game seem to have an advantage from being around the game so much while growing up. Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – Although Seager’s batting average has skyrocketed this year, his K:BB rate hasn’t improved. While the shortstop was closer to a 2:1 strikeout to walk rate in 2013, he is around 3:1 in 2014. Rating: 8 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – The shortstop hit for a paltry .269 batting average in 2013 between two levels. 2014 has been a different story though, as Seager is currently batting .350 on the year. The Dodgers’ top IF prospect has the tool set to contribute a high average in the majors. Rating: 9 out of 10.
4) Power – After launching 18 HR’s in 80 games at Rancho Cucamonga, Seager earned a promotion to play for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. In his first 14 games in the new league, Seager has continued to hit for average, but has just 1 HR so far as he continues to make adjustments to his new surroundings. Rating: 9 out of 10.
5) Speed – Seager isn’t much of a burner, but he does have the tools to chip in a SB every once in a while. One could expect around 5-to-10 SB’s a year out of the prospect, with an outside chance to steal around 15. Rating: 8 out of 10.
6) Body – The big infielder checks in at 6’4" and 215 pounds. That will play at the shortstop position as an athletic 20 year-old. But as he continues to age and grow, there is a very real possibility that 3B or another position could eventually become his new home. Rating: 9 out of 10.
7) Durability – The prospect suffered a hamstring injury back in late April, but returned after a short stint on the disabled list strong. He looks to have returned healthy. Rating: 10 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – The dream scenario would have Seager developing into a Troy Tulowitski-lite. If he stays at shortstop, a 25 HR bat with a solid batting average that can chip in a few SB’s can go a long way in the fantasy game. Rating: 10 out of 10.
9) Floor – Being still just 20 years-old while finding success at the Double-A level is an impressive feat, although there is still quite a window between this prospect’s floor and ceiling. If Seager doesn’t develop the power to hit 20+ HR’s at Dodger Stadium, and finds himself playing 3B, he might not be the best major leaguer in his family. Rating: 7 out of 10.
10) Future – The Dodgers seem to be holding firm on not trading away any of their top prospects. They also don’t appear to be in any hurry to get them to the majors by adding so many large contracts. In the most likely scenario, I could see Corey Seager developing into a fantasy option in the mold of an Aramis Ramirez at 3B down the road. Rating: 9 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 89% - B+
Future Outlook: Hanley Ramirez currently occupies the SS position for the Dodgers, but is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. It is hard to believe that Magic & Co. wouldn’t be willing to pony up the money to resign their superstar. If they do, the length of Hanley’s contract, as well as his ability to stay healthy, could be the key deciding factors as to how soon we could see Corey Seager in L.A., or in another uniform. If Hanley signs with another team, I still wouldn’t expect Seager to get a look until at least the very end of the 2015 season at the earliest. The most likely scenario would have the Dodgers shifting Dee Gordon back to SS and giving Alexander Guerrero his first look playing 2B in the majors. But if Seager keeps producing like this, he will make the team find room for him eventually. The shortstop prospect has worked his way up to Double-A very quickly, but the Dodgers have shown that the contracts will play and the prospects can bide their time in the minors (see: Joc Pederson). The prospect’s quickest route to the major league roster might be through a position change to 3B. There is a small chance we could see him in 2015 at Chavez Ravine, but Seager is most likely currently on pace to receive the call sometime during the 2016 season, or even 2017 if his path to the majors is blocked. That timetable is a bit flimsy, but it is very much up in the air. Just take a look at what the Dodgers have done with Joc Pederson. Joc almost received the call over Yasiel Puig back in the middle of the 2013 season. But here we are over a year later, and he is still awaiting his call-up. After adding in the fact that Seager is still just 20 years-old, the wait could be a long one. But once Seager gets his feet under him in the show, he could be a top 10 shortstop or third base option for a long time.