Corey Seager, shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers, started the year as a highly touted rookie. Four major scouting publications, including Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, and MLB.com listed Seager as the number one prospect at the start of the 2016 season. Dodgers teammate Adrian Gonzalez has even predicted that Seager could be a Hall of Fame baseball player. So far, Seager has lived up to these expectations.
With the baseball season approaching the halfway point, the 22-year-old Seager is leading the Dodgers in many offensive categories, including batting average, home runs, runs batted in, and runs. One of his favorite memories is when he hit three home runs in one game against the Atlanta Braves to help the Dodgers win 4–2 in early June. After his third home run of the evening, the crowd chanted his name, and he came out from the dugout to take a curtain call and tip his hat.
All in the Family
Growing up in North Carolina, Seager played both basketball and baseball; however, his favorite of the two sports was baseball. Seager was not always a Dodgers fan, though. “I grew up a Yankees fan,” says Seager. “Both of my parents are from New York, so that’s what I grew up liking…My favorite player was Derek Jeter, so I always watched him play.”
Seager also has two older brothers who are his role models. His oldest brother, Kyle, is an All-Star third baseman with the Seattle Mariners. “[Kyle] helped me all throughout my career,” says Seager. “Whatever I’ve gone through he’s already gone through, so he’s kind of walked me through everything — kind of helped me along my path,” says Seager.
The youngest Seager turns to his brother Justin for advice too. Justin also plays professional baseball and is in the Seattle Mariners’ minor league system. “Justin and I talk every night, just like Kyle and I do,” says Seager. “I have a really close relationship with both of them. We work out together in the offseason, and we bounce a lot of ideas off of each other every night.”
While 2016 will be Seager’s first full year as a major league baseball player, the Dodgers actually called him up to the majors at the end of the 2015 season, and he joined their playoff run. He credits the experience for allowing him to be more prepared for his first full year in the majors. “The playoffs were a lot of fun,” he says. “It’s helped just to…know what you’re doing. You know what people expect from you. You know how to go about your business now.”
Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley has also helped Seager acclimate to the major leagues. While Seager is one of the youngest players on the Dodgers, Utley, at 37, is the oldest. Because it requires good teamwork for them to turn a double play, the two have developed a close relationship.
“We’ve gotten to know each other over the past few months and it’s great,” says Seager. “[Chase has] helped me a lot…with just defensively shifting, where to be, all of the other situations.”
Seager has learned a lot from other teammates as well. “I talk to Howie [Kendrick] a lot, I talk to Chase a lot, I talk to Adrian [Gonzalez] a lot. I also talk to Joc [Pederson] and Trayce [Thompson] a lot. Those are kind of my main guys.”
Even with all of the advice from his brothers and teammates, Seager still has had to make adjustments after leaving the minor leagues. The biggest adjustment has been to learn about the different baseball stadiums. “They’re all different; they’re all really big. It’s hard to get used to them, learn the dimensions, all that other different stuff,” explains Seager.
One of his biggest challenges is “just trying to be consistent every day. You’re trying to win every night. It’s one of those things that it’s a large scale, so it’s set up higher so you just want to come out and perform as best as you can.”
Although professional baseball is a business, Seager was surprised with how much fun he is having. “You get to play in different cities everywhere, all over the country. It’s a lot of fun,” he says.
Seager continues to have fun on and off the field with his teammates. Off the field, Seager shares a house with teammates Peterson, Thompson, and Alex Wood. But they do not talk baseball at home.
“We’ve got a rule: There’s no talking about baseball in the house,” says Seager. “It’s one of those things that you’ve just got to get away. You’ve got to be a normal person once you leave the field.”
Seager’s off-field hobbies include hunting and golf. He explained that he goes hunting every offseason, and he is just starting to pick up golf. Seeing how well Seager swings a baseball bat, it would not surprise anyone if he ends up swinging a golf club just as well!
Photographs by: Denis Poroy/Getty Images (action); courtesy of Sarah Liu