Corey Seager entered 2015 with unreasonably high expectations as one of the very top prospects in all of baseball. But he somehow lived up to those expectations with a wonderful September debut that the Dodgers hope was a harbinger of things to come.
What went right
Seager was productive right away, from his first day in the majors. He reached base by hit or walk in each of his first 21 starts, the longest streak by a Dodgers player to start his career since Jim Gilliam did so in 24 straight starts in 1953.
Seager hit .337/.425/.561 with four home runs, eight doubles, 14 walks, 17 runs and 17 RBI in 27 games. In September (which also includes the first four days of October), Seager led the Dodgers in hits, runs, RBI, doubles, home runs, batting average, OPS, wOBA (.421) and was second in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
He reached base nine consecutive times from Sept. 11-12 (three singles, four walks, a home run and a double), setting a Los Angeles Dodgers rookie record, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
At 21 years, 129 days old on Sept. 3 in his major league debut in San Diego, Seager was the youngest Dodgers starting shortstop since Bobby Valentine in 1971.
The left-handed Seager was 13-for-40 against left-handed pitching in the majors, hitting .325/.426/.500 with two home runs, a double and nearly as many walks (seven) as strikeouts (eight). In the minors, Seager also hit lefties well, to the tune of .349/.378/.604 with half of his 18 home runs coming against southpaws.
He was 5-for-14 (.357) with two home runs and a triple with runners in scoring position.
Because he played essentially every day from the moment he joined the majors, Seager ended up with 663 plate appearances in 2015, more than anyone else in the Dodgers organization, and his 152 games played were second to Adrian Gonzalez's 156 (Gonzalez was second with 643 PA).
Seager played in 27 of 30 games after his call up, including 25 starts (21 at shortstop, four at third base), and took over the starting shortstop role from veteran Jimmy Rollins, starting four of five games in the playoffs. Looking back on Seager's success, his playing time seems inevitable, but there was real consideration given to not calling Seager up at all in September, mostly because he wouldn't have had much of a role.
But a confluence of injuries made Seager's ascension unavoidable. Howie Kendrick and Kiké Hernandez were both on the disabled list with hamstring injuries, and Jose Peraza was nursing a hamstring strain of his own. Justin Turner, who was given regular rest throughout the season anyway, was hit on his hand by a pitch on Sept. 2, and Jimmy Rollins had at that point started and completed 18 straight games at shortstop. The Dodgers were in need of an infielder, and Seager was the best option.
Seager debuted in San Diego, starting in the first game of a four-game series. In the final game of that series, Rollins sprained his right index finger in a slide into third base, which would sideline him for two weeks, giving Seager more than enough crack in the door that he completely kicked down with his own performance.
What went wrong
Seager went 0-for-4, grounding into two double plays on Sept. 30 at San Francisco. To date, it is the only major league start in which Seager didn't reach base by hit or walk.
Seager was 3-for-16 (.188) with eight strikeouts and one walk in the National League Division Series against the Mets, and one of his hits, a double in Game 1, was a pop fly that should have been caught by left fielder Michael Cuddyer. Though it's not like Seager was alone in slumping at the plate in the NLDS. The Dodgers hit .238/.293/.333 as a team and scored 18 runs in five games.
Stats: .337/.425/.561, .421 wOBA, 173 OPS+, 175 wRC+ in 27 games, 1.8 rWAR, 1.5 fWAR
Salary: pro-rated share of the minimum salary of $507,500, so roughly $89,000
Game of the year
In his ninth major league game, and his eighth major league start, he went 4-for-4 with a walk in Arizona. He had two RBI singles, a double and, in the fifth inning hit his first major league home run, off Josh Collmenter.
Honorable mention goes to May 28 with Triple-A Oklahoma City in Salt Lake, when Seager went 6-for-6 with two doubles and a home run with six RBI.
Seager has 32 days of major league service time and all three option years remaining.