Corey Seager: Silver Slugger

If you haven’t been watching the Dodgers, you probably haven’t heard that much about Corey Seager this year. But you should have. Corey Seager may have a half foot on Mookie in height, but Betts casts a much larger shadow. Seager may be having a MVP year, but he may have to settle for silver. A silver slugger that is.

Competition

The other reason you haven’t heard much about Corey Seager is that Shortstop is absolutely loaded this year. National League included. Specifically, Tatis was a MVP offensively for the first 40 games, and Trea Turner was going for a batting title .400 at one point.

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Tatis was on fire to start the year even touching a 1.200 OPS on August 9th. He stayed hot through the month, but his September has been absolutely pitiful. He’s had 6 hits since September 8th. Only one was an extra base hit (Double). And even with his 7 hits before September 8th, Tatis is only slashing .200/.312/.338 in September. And he only seems to be struggling more of late.

It’s unlikely that he’ll win unless he somehow has an absolutely incredible series against the Giants.

https://www.mlb.com/player/fernando-tatis-jr-665487?stats=gamelogs-r-hitting-mlb

As for Turner, he has remained in competition with Seager. He has dropped off from his .408/.465/.699 August slash line, but even Trout wouldn’t be able to keep that up. But he still owns a .969 OPS on the year for a guy who is supposed to bring mostly speed to the table. But here he is with 10 HR and 12 SB with a few games to go. That’s over a 25-30 pace in a regular.

And he has had 20 more opportunities than Seager. But that’s a double edged sword as far as voting. Either Turner will get extra votes for being this good with 10% more ABs, or Seager will get extra votes for how much he’s produced in his opportunities. We think Turner has a real shot of winning the award as well, it comes down to how much the voters value his speed.

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Seager’s Year

All of baseball has about 3-4 games remaining on this crazy season and the statistical leaderboards are starting to take shape. And Seager is about on top of every important category besides speed.

On the year he has a slash line of .325/.374/.620 for an OPS of .994. He has 15 homers, 12 doubles, and a triple. That’s almost half his hits going for extra bases this year. He also has 16 walks compared to 33 strikeouts. Not great, but far from bad for the best power hitter in baseball according to statcast. And for good measure, he has stolen a base this year.

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/corey-seager-608369?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb

Why Seager Has An Edge

We think Seager has an edge for three particular reasons, consistency, expected statistics, and he’s the hottest hitter in baseball right now. And even though it’s only a stretch of five games, this is crunch time for award winners.

Consistency

It’s hard to say if any player has been as consistent as Seager has this year. Here are his slash marks for each month.

  • July- .344/.417/.688
  • August- .299/.330/.563
  • September- .346/.402/.654

It’s also worth noting that Seager was injured during August which caused his worst slump of the year. He had a 1-15 slump surrounding his injury. Still he came back run about a week and it only took 3 games for Seager to start mashing again.

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If you take out his injury caused slump, Seager’s August batting average jumps up to .347. Almost identical to his .344 and .346 marks. Still, he didn’t and it doesn’t matter that he got injured. And it’s not a given he would’ve stayed hitting at the same pace if he didn’t get injured.

But if an OPS of .893 is your worst month, you are not only having a silver slugger campaign, you are going to get MVP votes. If Mookie wasn’t around, it would probably be a lot more.

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Expected Stats

Once again Seager is currently slashing .325/.374/.620. But according to Statcast it should be closer to .362/.468/.730. That’s almost a difference of .200 in OPS and good for the 99th/99th/100th percentile. He’s top 2 in all of MLB in each category. The only batter to be ranked in the top 3 of each category. Tatis was hitting this well, but again has fallen off drastically.

And of those top batters, none of them have been as unlucky as Seager this year. He has the number 1 expected OPS in all of baseball but ranks 9th in actual OPS. Versus Trea Turner has actually been lucky according to statcast.

Seager is barreling the ball almost 17% of the time and his average exit velocity is 93.6 MPH. A hard hit ball is 95 MPH. And he’s almost hitting it that hard on average.

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Conclusion

We think Seager deserves that Silver Slugger in the end. Turner and Tatis may be worth more when you add in their defense. But thanks to statcast, we know no one is hitting the ball as well as Seager. And if you’ve been watching the Dodgers every day, you would see just how unlucky he’s been. Which to us, makes his stats all the more impressive. If he loses, we think it will be to Turner and because of his speed.

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