The Missing Link? Seager may be the key to Dodgers World Series Hopes

October baseball is here and once again the Dodgers appear to be an odds-on favorite to make another run at an elusive World Series title. In 2017 and 2018 the boys in blue failed to fulfill their goal of grabbing the franchises’ seventh title, and the first since 1988, with losses in the fall classic to the Astros and the Red Sox.

            The Dodgers finished the 2019 regular season with a franchise record 106 wins and their seventh straight NL West crown. Yes, they were led by MVP favorite Cody Bellinger and Cy Young hopeful Hyun-Jin Ryu along with the likes of their ace Clayton Kershaw, Max Muncy, Walker Buehler, and a plethora of young talent, but perhaps their most intriguing storyline (or the lack thereof) heading into the postseason is the quiet reemergence of Corey Seager.

The Dodgers finished 2019 with a franchise record 106 wins and a seventh straight NL West title.

            Seager took the baseball world by storm in 2016. As a highly touted prospect and just 22 years old, Seager slashed .308/.365/.512 with 26 home runs and 40 doubles, netting him the National League Rookie of the Year award and a top three MVP finish. His rookie season would not end the way he had hoped, as the Dodgers were eliminated from the NLCS by the Chicago Cubs while he hit just .205 in the postseason.

            The young All-Star shortstop put up similar numbers in the 2017 regular season but once again had a tough finish as he hit just .222 (6-27) in the World Series as Los Angeles fell short to the Astros. Costlier, Seager battled injuries throughout the end of the season including an elbow and hip injury that eventually led to Tommy John and arthroscopic surgery in 2018 ending his campaign after just 26 games.

            To supplement the loss of Corey Seager, the Dodgers made the big splash of the trade season, dealing for Manny Machado. Machado was hoped to be the missing piece to the World Series equation after Seager went down, but Machado underwhelmed particularly in the playoffs where he slashed .218/.257/.405. Machado signed with the Padres following the season.

Machado hit just .218 throughout the playoffs with the Dodgers.

            Now fast forward to 2019. In the midst of arguably one of the best regular seasons in franchise history, Seager quietly put together his best season to date. The now 25-year-old, slashed .272/.335/.483 with 19 home runs, a NL leading 44 doubles, and a career high 87 RBI’s in just 134 games.

Seager played 134 games for the Dodgers in 2019 and posted a career high 87 RBI’s.

            “As much ups and downs as you have during the year, just being able to look back at the end and say, ‘Okay, you made it through the year healthy’ – it was a total win in my book.” Seager told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

            Even better, in the last month of the season, Seager slashed .291/.322/.616 while logging 13 extra-base hits (7 home runs) and 26 RBI’s during the 22-game stretch. To say Seager is getting hot at the right time may be an understatement. It is possible that a healthy and productive Corey Seager may be the missing piece to the Dodgers World Series hopes.

The Dodgers open up in the NLDS at home in Los Angeles with a matchup against the Nationals on Thursday. Seager looks poised for a big (and healthy) postseason and the possibility of him being named a postseason MVP over all the other stars in Los Angeles does not seem too far-fetched.

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