When Major League Baseball banned the shift, it was reported that the player who would benefit most from that would be Corey Seager.
It was estimated he had more than thirty hits taken away from him because of the shift.
It seems they were right. From the opening bell of the season, Corey Seager has hit. And hit. And hit. In fact, the only thing that stopped the Rangers twenty-nine-year-old shortstop was his own hamstring. Opposing pitchers haven’t been able to.
After last night’s 5-for-5 performance, the first five-hit game of his career, Corey Seager, who coincidentally wears number 5, is batting .352, with a .403 on-base percentage, an OPS of 1.020, and OPS+ of 178.
To put that into perspective, Aaron Judge is leading all of baseball with an OPS of 1.078. Next is Freddie Freeman at .986. Because Seager missed a month of the season, he doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify.
In order to qualify for the batting championship and all qualifying stats like OBP, and OPS, a batter must have 3.1 plate appearances for every game his team has played. The Rangers have played 63 games, meaning Seagar would need to have 195 PA. He has 144.
He should catch up in July, assuming he doesn’t go down again with injury.
Seager’s .352 average would be the best in the American League (Miami’s Luis Arraez is hitting .401.)
His .403 on-base would put him third in the American League, behind the Rays Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz, and the Yankees Aaron Judge.
You can delve the numbers anyway you want, the point is, Corey Seager is having his best season as a major leaguer. Last night, he had one of his best game as well.
He singled in the first.
He hit a two-run double in the second (Marcus Semien was thrown out at home otherwise it would have been three RBIs) to start the Rangers scoring.
He homered in the fourth to make it 6-0.
He singled and scored in the sixth.
He singled in the eighth.
Seager stepped up when the Rangers really needed him. After a decisive 8-3 loss to Tampa Bay Friday, Texas needed to win if only to prove it could go toe-to-toe with the runaway best team in baseball.
They certainly did that, returning the favor with an 8-4 win. The rubber game of the match is today.
Texas has its work cut out for it going up against the pitcher with the best record in baseball, Shane McClanahan. He leads baseball in wins, with nine (tied with Nathan Eovalid) and ERA at 2.02.
You can bet that won’t deter Corey Seager, who will be batting and battling second as he resumes the best season he’s ever had.