Monday, June 6, 2016

A Sizzling Seager Sparks Dodger Offense

It’s the first week of June, which means multiple things for the baseball world. Division contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the division pretenders, All-Star Game propaganda is beginning to circulate around social media, and the MLB Draft has arrived. The First-Year Player Draft — which takes place on Thursday, June 9 — has been very kind to the Dodgers as of late. 

Today, June 6, marks the 10-year anniversary that LA signed a particular 6-foot-3 southpaw out of Highland Park High School in Texas: Clayton Kershaw. Well, that turned out pretty well. Kershaw has blossomed into — what many people consider to be — the best pitcher on the planet; hard to argue against that position. Right about now it seems that the Dodgers played their cards correctly once again in the 2012 MLB Draft when they selected shortstop Corey Seager with the 18th overall pick of the first round. 

Seager wielded a sizzling bat for the Dodgers in this past weekend’s home series against the Atlanta Braves. In honor of the NBA Finals, I will say in a very LeBron-esque fashion, Seager hit “not one, not two, not three, not four …” but five home runs in the three-game home stand. 

In Friday night’s series opener, Seager stole the show hitting three homers into the seats of Chavez Ravine. He became the sixth youngest player (22 years, 37 days) to hit three home runs in a single contest, and is just the first Dodgers rookie to accomplish the feat since 1959 (Don Demeter). On Sunday afternoon, Seager concluded the series going 3-for-5 at the plate with two home runs and four RBI. 

Seager’s five round-trippers are the most one player has had against the Braves in a single series since Barry Bonds hit six in a three-game series against Atlanta in 2001. 

Currently leading the Dodgers in all three Triple Crown categories (.286 AVG, 14 HR, 35 RBI), Seager stands as a frontrunner for the NL Rookie of the Year award. Among National League shortstops, Seager is: 1st in WAR (2.2), 2nd in HR (14), 2nd in RBI (35), and 4th in AVG (.286). In his last 25 games, Seager has hit 12 home runs.

Seager’s numbers certainly scream he is worthy of consideration for a selection to the NL All-Star team; however, he may be falling victim to an All-Star voting system which has evolved into a popularity contest. While there are definite positives that come from a fan-voting system, there are some cases in which an active fanbase — think Kansas City All-Star voting situation last season — can get certain players on the All-Star team which may be less deserving than others. In the most recent NL All-Star voting report, Seager has a ways to go vote-wise for a selection to the Mid-Summer Classic; Addison Russell (CHC), Trevor Story (COL), and Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) currently lead All-Star voting at shortstop for the National League. Anyhow, should Seager continue his hot-hitting, there is still sufficient time for him to make a run for an All-Star selection. 

What made Seager’s offensive surge this past weekend all that much more satisfying was the fact that Los Angeles swept the series against the Braves — the Dodgers third series sweep of  the season. The three-game winning streak has pulled the Dodgers (31- 27) within 3.5 games of the division-leading San Francisco Giants (35- 24). This week, the Dodgers take on the Colorado Rockies at home in a three-game set before making the trip up north to AT&T Ballpark to face the Giants in a weekend series that could have large implications on standings in the NL West. 

Believe it or not, Seager is a huge fan and reader of the Angel’s in the Outfield sports blog — okay, maybe that’s not true. But what is undeniably true is the fact that the Dodgers will need to receive continued production at the plate from the 22-year-old slugger as the season continues and the race for the West heats up. 

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