Corey Seager’s breakout is making him Dodgers’ best NLCS bat


It’s a lineup that features the reigning National League MVP and another star that recently signed a $365 million contract extension. Yet the Dodgers’ best offensive player probably isn’t Cody Bellinger or Mookie Betts.

Enter Corey Seager, the 26-year-old shortstop whose raw talent has been on display throughout this postseason. The fact the Dodgers reached Saturday, after avoiding elimination from the NLCS a night earlier against the Braves, was partly a function of Seager’s dangerous left-handed bat.

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He entered Game 6 with four homers and 10 RBIs in the series. Included was two homers Friday night that helped bump his slash line for this postseason to .342/.409/.842.

“I didn’t know much before I came over,” Betts said, referring to Seager. “I just knew he was a good shortstop who could swing it a little bit. And getting to see him day in and day out is definitely a blessing. I have really one job: to get on base and stay there until he hits me in, which doesn’t take too long.”

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It’s a different Seager than the Dodgers had seen in previous Octobers. Before this year, Seager had appeared in 31 postseason games and owned a disappointing .203/.275/.331 slash line. Now he’s among a list of players that includes Giancarlo Stanton (2020), Nelson Cruz (2011), B.J. Upton (2008) and Jim Thome (1999) who have at least four homers and 10 RBIs in a postseason series.

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Corey SeagerGetty Images

But Seager doesn’t want to hear about his own accomplishments at this point.

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“The whole goal is to win, we haven’t done that yet,” he said. “So regardless of what you’re doing, if you don’t win at the end of the year, it’s not the same. We’re just trying to win a game [Saturday] and let things happen.

“I’m just putting good swings on good pitches right now. And everything is kind of clicking.”

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Seager missed most of 2018 — which included a second straight World Series appearance for the Dodgers — after undergoing in-season Tommy John surgery. He returned the following year, played through hip discomfort that led to surgery near the end of the season and led the NL in doubles with 44, but he didn’t have a real breakout until 2020.

In the 60-game sprint, Seager hit .307/.358/.585 with 15 homers and 41 RBIs.

“He’s healthy, he’s been healthy, he’s had a tremendous year, the experience he’s had in the postseason — all of it is lining up right now,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “For me, there’s no better player.”

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Seager’s homers Friday included a blast leading off the fourth that cut the Braves’ lead to 2-1. In the seventh, after Will Smith’s three-run homer put the Dodgers ahead for the first time, Seager homered again.

Justin Turner is the only other player in franchise history with 14 RBIs in one postseason.

“[Seager] is something else,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s one of those guys who never gives an at-bat away. It’s very impressive. He’s a dangerous, impressive hitter.”

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