LOS ANGELES -- When lineups are announced for Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday, barring a surprise Corey Seager will be starting at shortstop for the Dodgers against the Mets at Dodger Stadium. In doing so, Seager will be the youngest position player to start a postseason game in franchise history.
At 21 years, 165 days old, Seager will be the third-youngest Dodger overall to start a postseason game, but the others were pitchers. Fernando Valenzuela started five times in the 1981 postseason at age 20, and Johnny Podres was 21 years, four days old when he started Game 5 of the 1953 World Series.
The previous youngest position player to start for the Dodgers was James Loney, who was 22 years, 153 days old when he started at first base against the Mets in Game 3 of the 2006 NLDS.
Seager has been pretty unflappable to date, though he admitted the playoffs are a different animal.
"I'm pretty excited. It's going to have electricity in the air. Its going to be a lot of fun, your adrenaline will be at full max," Seager said. "I'll look forward to it."
The Dodgers are looking forward to what they can get out of Seager, who was called up on Sept. 3 and started 25 of 30 games since joining the big league team.
"We had the opportunity to watch him all spring. We've watched him kind of come over, short bites last I think the spring before, maybe even the year before that. It's always been like really good, it's almost like right away you go, 'Ooh'," manager Don Mattingly said. "You see the swings and you know there's time between there that's going to be needed before he was able to get to here. But I think with Corey you see all the baseball stuff's easy. You see it, he swings, stays in the strike zone, the discipline, sees spin early, kind of the quietness of his hands, the clock is good, and then all the other stuff with that has been really good.
"As far as his demeanor around the locker room, relationships with teammates, you can see it's good. How he carries himself as far as he's really humble, but you can see the confidence. It's not like he's shy or quiet about anything. It's a humbleness, but there is a confidence there with it. So it's kind of everything's there, so you just kind of it's something that you don't see very often."
Seager entered the season as a consensus top-10 prospect in baseball, and by the time he was called up was either the best or second-best prospect in the game.
He was the Dodgers' best hitter in September, hitting .337/.425/.561 with eight doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI in 27 games. Now, at 21, he's the Dodgers' shortstop, about to walk onto the big stage of the playoffs. But so far, everything placed upon his very capable shoulders has been handled just fine.
"Everybody has been really pleased with not just his performance, but how he's handled himself. I think he's gotten the respect of a lot of guys in the clubhouse," said general manager Farhan Zaidi. "He has been in some big situations. The series in San Francisco came close to a playoff atmosphere with what was at stake, and he handled himself really well there. We don't have any concerns with him."