Corey Seager followed up his Rookie of the Year campaign with another excellent season in 2017.
What went right
In the 134-year history of the Dodgers, three times has a player hit 20 home runs as a shortstop. Two of those years were by Seager in his two full seasons, including 22 home runs in 2017. He is already the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise leader with 51 career home runs as a shortstop.
Seager followed up his 6.1-WAR rookie season with 5.6 WAR in 2017, joining Hall of Famer Duke Snider as the only Dodgers with two 5-win seasons by age 23.
Seager posted a career-best 10.9% walk rate, and despite 74 fewer plate appearances than in 2016 he had 13 more walks this year than in his rookie campaign.
He continued to hold his own against lefties, hitting .325/.389/.527 against same-handed pitchers in 2017.
After years of hearing the 6’3 Seager would eventually have to move off shortstop, he had his best defensive season in 2017, rated as well above average by Ultimate Zone Rating (+6.7 runs), Defensive Runs Saved (+10) and Total Zone Rating (+9). Seager was a finalist, one of the top three finishers for the NL Gold Glove award at shortstop.
Seager provided one of the lasting images of the postseason with this exultation after hitting a home run against Justin Verlander in Game 2 of the World Series.
What went wrong
Seager missed five games with a strained hamstring in June, though he was able to avoid the disabled list.
Seager suffered an elbow injury in mid-August and though he didn’t land on the disabled list he was still hampered, including an 11-game stretch from Aug. 29 to Sept. 7 in which he didn’t start and was limited to only five pinch-hit appearances.
The elbow pain was something Seager had to manage over the final month and a half of the season, but despite earlier concerns he was able to avoid surgery after the season.
Coincidentally or not, Seager struggled down the stretch, including a 39-game stretch from Aug. 6 to Sept. 25 with only four extra-base hits. In the final two months of the regular season Seager hit .278/.333/.378.
Seager also suffered a back injury while sliding in Game 3 of the NLDS and was sidelined for the entire NLCS against the Cubs.
Stats: .295/.375/.479, 22 HR, 33 doubles, 127 wRC+, 5.6 rWAR, 5.7 fWAR
Game of the year
Seager’s grand slam to cap an eighth-inning comeback rally to beat the Reds on June 11 was special, but for his game of the year we’ll go with June 20 against the Mets, when Seager homered three times and drove in six in a 12-0 whitewashing of New York. He has a three-homer game in each of the last two seasons.
Seager has two years, 32 days of major league service time, and will qualify for salary arbitration after the 2018 season.