I’d like to talk about one Corey Seager, last year he had one of the great rookie years ever, had a 7.4 WAR, 136 wRC+ and good defensively with a 10.6 UZR, looking at the numbers this year while he still was one of the best players in the game, he didn’t produce as much value, 5.7 WAR, 127 wRC+, but I am here to point out how this season showed improvements in his play for the future.
The first thing you should know is that he played a large chunk of the season with an elbow problem that could require surgery in the offseason, his 2nd half numbers were significantly worse.
298/395/502 .204 ISO 139 wRC+
292/348/450 .158 ISO 113 wRC+
His injury obviously was a big part of that, the first sign that this season had improvements was his significant increase in BB%, in 16 it was at 7.9 it went up to 10.9, some of that can be attributed to him decreasing his O-Swing%, by coincidentally or not 3.1 percentage points, 32.2 to 29.1.
Say what you want about Walks, the biggest edge Harper has on Machado, that will earn him a lot more money than Manny in next year’s FA class, is plate discipline, what makes Votto as great as he is, is Plate Discipline, and for a guy with Seager’s hit tool that translates into high averages with some power, a BB% over 10, goes a long way.
The second one his 10 DRS and 6.7 UZR, silenced a lot of he’s a long-term 3B noise, after 2 full seasons of above avg defensive production, there’s virtually no doubt he is a Shortstop, but the most important improvement he had this year is this.
250/308/413 .163 ISO 95 wRC+
334/391/557 .223 ISO 155 wRC+
325/389/527 .201 ISO 144 wRC+
281/369/457 .176 ISO 120 wRC+
These were his splits, his first 2 full seasons, the top line is versus lefties, the bottom one versus righties, what you learn is, in 2016 he was so great against righties, that his overall production put him in the top 3 for MVP, despite being below average against lefties, this year he had a significant improvement in that area.
His production probably won’t be sustainable at this level considering he had a .392 BABIP against LH, but he showed that he can hit lefties and hit them well, which is a feat that a lot of good young players can’t, Jake Lamb isn’t a star because he can’t hit LH, his teammate Joc is held back for the same reason, Benintendi couldn’t hit LH this year.
Obviously, Seager is far better than all of them, but these players are examples of how split issues can hold you back and while his rookie production was so great it masked them, he wouldn’t be able to keep that up long term and this year was a sign he doesn’t need to.
To wrap it up, better plate discipline and great production against LH are facts that prove that Corey Seager improved his play this year and is better positioned to succeed in the future now than he was a year ago.
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