Corey Seager — the surprise home run hitter
By Cary Osborne
Of all the incredible numbers that Corey Seager put up before the All-Star Break, there’s one number that surprises him the most.
Seventeen — as in the 17 home runs he hit.
“No I didn’t. I really didn’t. I never expected it,” Seager said on Monday in San Diego, a couple of hours before he would take part in MLB’s annual Home Run Derby. “I’ve always been more of a doubles than home runs guy. I never really had that extra juice to get it out.”
Why the power surge?
“I really don’t know,” Seager said. “It’s probably more scouting reports. You get so much information about what they’re going to throw and sit on pitches and sit on locations where they like to throw. Just (a) better game plan on getting better pitches to drive.”
In his professional career, Seager has never hit more than 20 home runs in a season. In 2014, he tallied that number in 526 plate appearances in High-A Rancho Cucamonga and a short stint in Double-A Chattanooga.
Seager is two home runs short of Hanley Ramirez’s single-season franchise record for a shortstop of 19. (Ramirez hit his 19th home run as a shortstop in 2013 in his 319th plate appearance. Seager has 17 in 389 plate appearances.)
The 22-year-old rookie said he’s a student of video and scouting reports, and home runs have been the result.
“Coaches have all the numbers,” Seager said. “We can know a 1-0 count what the guy throws 98 percent of the time with a guy on third with one out.”
If you’re wondering if a player can process all that information and think about it when he reaches the plate, the answer is no in Seager’s case.
“You take the info and put it into your game plan, so you think about one thing and one thing only, and not all the different counts and all the different locations,” Seager said.
Seager’s father Jeff is pitching to him tonight in the Home Run Derby. You can imagine he has quite the scouting report on his dad.
Jeff Seager throws to the three Seager boys — Seattle Mariner Kyle and minor leaguer Justin — four times per week in the offseason.
Seager said choosing dad was a sentimental pick, but he also provided a lot of familiarity. And as we’ve learned with Seager, familiarity breeds success.
“He’s probably as nervous as I am,” Seager said. “He said he’s going to try and not look at me and not stare up. He said he’s just going to try and stare at the catcher and block everything out. I said, ‘Good luck.’”
If Seager wins tonight, he’ll become the youngest player to win the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.