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Corey Seager’s year of relying on feels ends with a World Series MVP award

Dodgers shortstop hit .400 in the Fall Classic

World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dodgers are World Series champions for the first time in 32 years, and the biggest reason on offense was shortstop Corey Seager, who put together one of the great postseasons in major league history.

Seager drove in the go-ahead run in the Dodgers’ Game 6 clincher on Tuesday, culminating a World Series in which he was 8-for-20 with two home runs and five RBI, hitting .400/.556/.700. Seager’s seven runs scored .tied a Dodgers World Series record.

He was named World Series MVP, joining Orel Hershiser in 1988 as the only Dodgers to win both NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in the same season.

It was a resurgent season for Seager, who was fully healthy after Tommy John surgery and hip surgery wiped out the bulk of his 2018 season and limited him in 2019. This year, he was back to the dynamic player he was in his first two seasons, hitting .307/.358/.585 during the regular season. And that was without one of his usual weapons.

Players to win LCS & World Series MVPs

Year Player Pos Team
Year Player Pos Team
1979 Willie Stargell 1B Pirates
1982 Darrell Porter C Cardinals
1988 Orel Hershiser SP Dodgers
1997 Liván Hernández SP Marlins
2008 Cole Hamels SP Phillies
2011 David Freese 3B Cardinals
2014 Madison Bumgarner SP Giants
2020 Corey Seager SS Dodgers
NLCS MVPs began in 1977, ALCS MVPs in 1980 Source: Baseball-Reference

As part of the health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic this season, Major League Baseball prohibited the use of communal video terminals during games, allowing only the use of iPads in the dugout that don’t have any in-game video, removing a safety blanket of sorts for many players, Seager especially.

“I’m a big proponent of the video,” Seager said Sunday. “There’s certain things that you feel that you think are in the right spot but they’re not. It’s been a year of relying on feels, and that can be good and bad.”

It’s been almost entirely good for Seager this season, who has been the Dodgers’ best hitter all year. His postseason numbers have been otherworldly, hitting .328/.425/.746 in 18 games.

Seager this year had the second-most home runs in a single postseason (8; one behind the Rays’ Randy Arozarena this year), scored the second-most runs (20; one behind Carlos Beltran in 2004) and drove in the second-most (20; one behind David Freese in 2011).

All without his usual habit of checking video of his at-bats during a game.

“When things are right and clicking, you don’t always go in there,” Seager said. “It’s just the times when things aren’t right, you think you miss pitches, stuff like that is when you go check.”

Seager hasn’t missed too many pitches this season. Adding in his regular season, Seager in 2020 hit .312/.375/.624 with 23 home runs, playing in 70 of the Dodgers’ 78 games. He got to within five homers of his career high in roughly the equivalent of a half-season, not that he thinks of himself as a home run hitter.

“You just try to go out and put up good ABs. The whole goal is to put some barrels on baseballs, and hope good things happen,” Seager said. “Sometimes it turns into doubles, sometimes it turns into homers. I’ve never been the guy that’s going up there trying to just hit home runs.”

That proved to be a winning strategy for Seager and the Dodgers in 2020.