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Dodgers: MLB Expert Questions Corey Seager as a Long-Term Shortstop

The defense of Dodgers’ shortstop Corey Seager has been shaky for the first month of 2021. In both the Cubs and Brewers series, Seager has not been able to convert grounders into outs in crucial situations. Particularly late in games.

ESPN’s Buster Olney and Paul “Hembo” Hembekides discussed Seager’s defensive metrics this week on an episode of Baseball Tonight. Hembo did not pull any punches.

“He’s graded as a league average defender at shortstop for most of his career. But, his numbers so far this season have been pretty ugly.”

For the traditionalists, Seager ranks 14th in fielding percentage (.965) among shortstops in 2021 through Wednesday. Yet, the advanced metrics judge Seager much more harshly.

“He’s minus 3 defensive runs saved and he’s minus 4 outs above average. I do expect those to flatline as we go forward.”

According to Baseball Savant, Seager ranks almost dead last in outs above average (29th). In defensive runs saved, Seager slots in at 22nd in the league per FanGraphs. Hopefully his stats do regress to the mean as Hembo suggests. 

Seager has to be better with the leather for this Dodgers team to get back on track. He’s proven he can do that, but the time is now.

Destined for the Hot Corner?

Hembo took things a step further with Seager and posed a serious question about his longevity at the shortstop position.

“It is reasonable to have a discussion regarding his viability at the position long-term. He’s listed at six foot four. That makes him one of the biggest shortstops in the history of major league baseball. As these guys approach free agency this winter [Correa and Seager], how much of the conversation, how many dollars at stake, on whether or not they’re going to stay at shortstop, or move to the corner of the diamond?”

It’s certainly an interesting question – how many more years can Seager play shortstop? How will that affect his impending free agency? Would he be more open to a move to third than in the past? Those answers will have to wait.

Los Angeles needs Seager to routinely convert grounders into outs today, tomorrow, and the next day at shortstop. 

NEXT: Major Shakeup Options For Struggling Team & Is Corey Seager’s Defense Hurting LA?

Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.


    1. That answer won’t be seen yet. But if I’m the MLBPA and especially the NL, I don’t play one inning next year without the DH. And if it means the players go on strike because of this, I’m all for it! It would serve that SPINELESS Manfred right!!

    2. easy – he’s been slated to move to 3rd base for years now. only one not liking that is Corey!!! We can find another position for JT if/once Corey moves to 3rd

  1. Oh the difference 6 months make. Last fall Seager was the best player on a championship team poised to make a bazillion dollars and today he’s a bum.

    Corey will start hitting and get his head out of butt defensively, Mookie will start hitting, Cody, Zack, Tony, and DP will return, and the Dodgers will rip off a winning streak that will make this period a bad memory.

  2. Destined for the hot corner? If you think he is inept at shortstop he would be far worse third (if that is possible) no range, terrible arm, slow reaction time pitiful fielding technique. Let him and his soon to be hefty contract walk and and go get Bobby Witt Jr. from Kansas City. He possesses all the talents that Seager lacks.

    1. I guess Seager is judged differently….maybe he should flip his bat on homeruns…have a dance step roundIng 3rd on his hr trot…or pound his chest and maybe we will not notice his errors…that I guess is why it is not noticed Tatis has 10 errors to Seagers 4…and is batting .229 with less at bats while Seager is batting .250…but Seager who carried the Dodgers to a title is the guy who should move from SS…Tatis is a error machine…and always is…but Seager who hits better consistently and has less errors shouldn’t get a big deal while Tatis did…one has a ring the other doesn’t…not making alot of sense

  3. I think he can play third. His agility and quickness are his biggest issue from what I see, watching almost every Dodger game. He’s a half step short a lot, and a few inches away from the ball.

    He’s been an exciting player from the day he came up, but lots of injury issues have sidetracked him. Seemed to be totally back last year, capped off with a great post season. I was a bit concerned the Dodgers might give him a mega contract and he’d revert. Half of that seems to be happening, hopefully he can straighten himself out. He’s not hitting much either. Trying to pull the ball too much. When he focuses on being a gap to gap hitter he’s exceptional.

  4. Don’t change anything. The bat, glove, and arm will come around. Seager is still an MVP caliber player. He’s going through a rough patch, but so is everyone else on this team.

  5. Corey would be an adequate third baseman, a good first baseman but we have enough first basemen. A tough situation.

  6. Seager will be out of baseball in 3 years. If not out, he will be just another journeyman player, .260/.330/.425 slashing. Do not waste money.

  7. Still, it is the pen which before last night blew a ton of games. That and of course Roberts!

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