Seager Goes Ham

Corey-Seager

Corey Seager is a talented dude.

For starters, there aren’t many guys his size that have the athleticism to play shortstop. It’s a pretty short list (Cal Ripken Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Tejada along with one or two other guys that I’m forgetting). On top of that, he’s got a smooth, powerful swing that can hit line-drive double and long home runs.

Modern Woodman Park

Modern Woodman Park

He is an elite shortstop prospect and the only top shortstop in Minor League Baseball with a similar skill set might be the Astros’ No. 1 prospect, Carlos Correa. Incidentally, Correa also plays in the Midwest League. He is hitting .317, with a .460 slugging percentage for the Quad Cities River Bandits. Quad Cities plays their games at Modern Woodman Park on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, which might have the coolest backdrop in Minor League Baseball.

Back to Seager.  The native of Kannapolis, N.C., is the youngest of three brothers and has a family that provides a great support system (for more on that, see the second edition of this year’s LoonsNest). His oldest brother, Kyle, starts at third base for the Seattle Mariners and the middle brother, Justin, just finished a great career at UNC-Charlotte, which led to him being drafted by the Mariners in the 2013 draft.

Last summer, the Dodgers recognized the kind of talent that Seager has and drafted him with the 18th overall pick. Loons manager Razor Shines raves gushes about him. Through the first two months of the season, some wondered how long it would take Seager to produce like a first-round selection. It took him until the Loons 14th game to get above the Mendoza Line and even though he hit well in the second part of April, he struggled in May, hitting . 217 through six injury-riddled games.

But then he got healthy and came back with a vengeance. Since he returned to the Loons lineup on June 2, he has hit .335 with eight home runs and 40 RBI in 42 games. That’s 31 homers and 154 RBI over the course of a 162-game schedule. And with its big ballparks, the Midwest League is traditionally though of as a pitcher-friendly league. Not coincidentally, that’s about the same time that Great Lakes’ season turned around.

On July 29 (the day before this blog post went up), Seager put on exclamation point on the last two months with his best moment yet as a Loon.

Seager-480-4

In his first plate appearance, Seager hit an opposite field, 357-foot line drive that cleared the fence in left field. Great way to start a night.

In his second at-bat, he did something that everybody that was at Dow Diamond will remember for quite a while. He came up to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Seager sat on a 2-0 changeup and crushed it 420 feet for the grand slam. Everybody in the park knew as soon as he hit that it was gone, but then it left Dow Diamond. Not just the field of play, but the whole stadium. It landed in the parking lot!! The link below will paint a better picture than I ever could.

Seager socks his second homer

And here’s the game highlights from the InterTubes, which include both of Seager’s bombs and a mammoth 405-foot homer that Tyler Ogle hit onto the grass berm in straightaway center field.

When Seager came up for his third at-bat, I think everybody in the park felt like he was going to hit another one out. And he almost did, hitting a deep fly ball to center field that was caught 385 feet from home plate. He was under the pitch and the scary thing is, I don’t think he was really that close to hitting the ball on the nose. His last at-bat didn’t have the drama of the first three, but he did get a hit, with a line drive single to right field to finish his night at 3-for-4 with five runs batted in.

Loons fans have been very fortunate in 2013. Several future Major League ballplayers have passed through the hallowed halls of Dow Diamond this season. Along with Seager, 2013 Dodgers draft picks Chris Anderson and Tom Windle will likely end up in the show, and probably sooner rather than later. Julio Urias may end up being a once-in-a-generation type of story. Put it this way. The last player to make his Major League debut before he turned 19 was Alex Rodriguez. Urias could be next.

The list of future big leaguers on this roster could also include Miguel Sulbaran and James Baldwin, along with some other possible dark horses that have played well this year. MWL All-Star Tyler Ogle, Jeremy Rathjen, Craig Stem and Scott Griggs are a few players who could progress through the system. I also think guys like Geoff Brown or Owen Jones could surprise some folks. Brown has a really cool story and it would be great to see him make the show down the line.

What that means is Loons fans should soak this season up. Enjoy every time Seager comes to the plate. Watch as many Urias starts as you can.  Some day, you might tell your grandkids about the time you saw them play at Dow Diamond. The folks in attendance on Monday night certainly won’t forget what they saw for a long time.

Dow-DIamond

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