Corey Seager Deserves to Be an All-Star
The leader in All-Star votes for the shortstop position in the National League should be a no-brainer, yet this person -- Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers -- currently finds himself stuck in third place.
Maybe it's because fans still aren't familiar with him because he made his big league debut just last season, playing 27 games. However, the guy in second place -- Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies -- made his Major League debut this season, so I'm ruling out familiarity.
Perhaps it's because Seager doesn't play for a winning team, while the player leading the way in voting -- Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs -- plays for a team in first place in their division.
The Dodgers aren't winning their division, but at seven games over .500, they currently own the top wild card spot in the National League, so it's not like Seager is playing for a team stuck in the cellar either.
Based on what each player has done on the field so far this season, Seager is the obvious choice to be the National League's starting shortstop.
Let's compare the three by some "traditional stats" to get things started.
Seager doesn't have the lead in the home runs or RBI categories, but he's not far behind, and his batting average and on-base percentage are far superior. If you're not sold on him yet, his "advanced" stats should help push his case over the top.
Seager strikes out far less often than either Russell or Story, while still showcasing impressive power. He and Story are close in Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA), but using Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), which is park- and league-adjusted, it's not even close.
A 115 wRC+ is an above-average mark and something only 59 hitters did last season, but a 139 wRC+ is on an elite level and something just 13 hitters managed to do in 2015.
So far this season, the league average wRC+ is 96 (it's 94 for the National League), which means Russell has been a worse-than-league-average hitter this season.
The final two categories in this table, Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) and FanGraphs Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) -- another metric used for evaluating a player's offensive value -- again show that Seager is head and shoulders above his competition.
His 3.5 fWAR is ninth-best in all of baseball and second-best in the National League. Seager's 15.2 Off isn't as impressive -- it's just 23rd best -- but it's more than double Story's total, and Russell has a negative mark.
This isn't to say that Russell and Story are poor players. It's just that Seager has been one of baseball's best over the first half of the season -- and not just among National League shortstops -- much of which stems from his ability to hit the ball hard consistently.
Our own Jim Sannes wrote about Seager last month and explained that his batted ball profile at the time was phenomenal. Well, not much has changed since then, as Seager owns a 39.2 hard-hit rate, which ranks 25th-best, and his 12.8 soft-hit rate is the 16th-lowest total.
When you combine these impressive marks with a low strikeout percentage, you get the type of outstanding season we're seeing from Seager, which makes him look like a complete hitter. It also includes performances like this:
#Dodgers #BestOfTheWeek el novato Corey Seager pego 3 HR's (10,11,12) #ROY16 en la #NL ??? pic.twitter.com/yZFMbsmQLV
— MeGustanLosDeportes (@PalillitoArnold) June 5, 2016
That was a three-home run game for Seager, which made him the first Dodgers rookie since 1959 to accomplish the feat. He was quoted after the game saying, "It didn't matter where it was thrown, it looked like it was on a tee." I think that's called being locked-in, and Seager's looked this way almost all season.
He hasn't been too shabby in the field either.
Half of a season of defensive chances is not enough to determine the true skills of a fielder, but regardless. Seager's 12,4 UZR/150 is also superior to both Russell's (6.2) and Story's (-8.4).
Any way you cut it, Seager easily deserves to make the National League All-Star game as the team's shortstop.