SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers shortstop prospect Corey Seager has been busy the first week or so of Cactus League play, culminating Sunday with a walk-off double to center field to give the team a 4-3 win over the Brewers.
Yet there was little talk of the win during Sunday's postgame media scrum, which has more to do with the nature of spring training than anything else. The outcomes of these games are largely meaningless, but for an individual performance especially from the club's top prospect to go largely unrecognized had manager Don Mattingly talking up his future shortstop on Monday morning.
"With Corey, really, there's nothing not to like. He looks comfortable in the box, he looks comfortable in the field, with our guys," Mattingly said. "He seems to be handling everything about big league camp."
Seager wasn't originally scheduled to play in Monday's game against the Giants, which would mark the first day this spring he hasn't gotten into a game, though he did make the trip (and with Darnell Sweeney likely not playing, it's likely Enrique Hernandez play second in his stead, leaving shortstop open for Seager after Jimmy Rollins departs). That gets rectified on Tuesday, with Seager starting at shortstop, by the way.
Despite his 6'4 frame, Seager is rather unassuming, the quiet future star if you will. Of the Dodgers' trio of top prospects, Joc Pederson is the one with a major league job within his immediate grasp, and Julio Urias has the uniqueness of youth, more than holding his own while most of us were meeting with guidance counselors and wondering where to meet after fifth period.
Seager, who turns 21 in April, has youth on his side as well. But having already transitioned nicely to Double-A — he hit .345/.381/.534 with 21 extra-base hits in 38 games with Chattanooga after his midseason promotion — Seager is closer than you might think to the majors.
"I wouldn't be afraid of him [playing in the majors right now], I'll tell you that. But you always want to make sure a guy has had a chance to fully develop. There is still more for him to pick up, like all of our young guys," Mattingly said. "If this was a different situation, I'm not sure you wouldn't just throw him in and let him play, and let him get the experience here. But that's not the situation here."
Mattingly had high praise when asked if Seager reminded him of any other player.
"Without putting a giant X on his back, he's more like a Ripken to me, being the big shortstop who doesn't really profile there but has great hands, great awareness, a good clock with calmness and knowing the timing," Mattingly said. "At the plate, he's more like Olerud if you really watch him. He's quiet, he's a big guy with the small swing."
To be fair, Mattingly never actually said "Cal" but it was clear who he meant. But just in case Mattingly meant Billy Ripken, we should buy as may Seager baseball cards as possible.