AnalysisNL West

Editorial: Corey Seager Is the Most Locked-In Hitter in Major League Baseball

All statistics are accurate as of 5:00 PM EDT on August 8th, 2020.

Now over two weeks into Major League Baseball’s 60-game sprint, a trend that began to resonate during Dodgers’ intrasquad games has rolled over into the team’s regular season games; Corey Seager is crushing baseballs at an alarming rate.

Prior to this season, the best showing of the All-Star caliber hit tool Corey Seager possesses came in 2016. During his 2016 campaign, Seager carried an Expected Slugging Percentage (xSLG) of .533 along with an Expected Weighted On-Base Average (xwOBA) of .372, both of which ranked within the league’s top 5%. Seager was awarded an All-Star Game appearance, a Silver Slugger award, a top-three finish in National League MVP voting, and the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year award.

However, Seager’s health derailed the chances of him replicating his electrifying 2016 slash line in the following seasons. In 2018, Seager only appeared in 26 games due to a right UCL strain that required him to undergo Tommy John surgery in May of 2018. Later that year, Seager underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left hip. After a lengthy rehabilitation process, Seager made his 2019 debut. Unfortunately, Seager didn’t look quite the same, posting career-lows in Average Exit Velocity and Barrel Percentage.

The story has shifted for Corey Seager this season. He’s no longer battling injuries and chasing the ghost of 2016 because he’s hitting better than he did four seasons ago. So far in 2020, Seager leads Major League Baseball in hard-hit balls (95 MPH+), ranks in the top 2% of the league in Barrel Percentage, and holds an MLB-best .936 xSLG.

Although the sample size is small, the shortened schedule has made the Dodgers’ 13 completed games into 21.6% of the season, which is the equivalent to 35 games in a full 162-game season. While the home run numbers aren’t quite there due to his below league-average launch angle, it should come as no surprise if Seager takes home his third career Silver Slugger award here in 2020.

Featured Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

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