Phillies Opposition Roadblock: Corey Seager

August 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager (5) hits a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
August 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager (5) hits a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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The week is here my friends.  We are seeing Chase Ultey play against our (and his) beloved Phillies for the first time since he was dealt around this time last year.  No, he is not back at the Bank yet, but that is coming.  I am saving a very special Opposition Roadblock for his return next week.

For now, I am going to focus on one of the best young players in the entire game.  Corey Seager has quickly become one of the most recognizable names among the top youngsters in baseball.  His first full season has been well above average, and I have enjoyed placing him in my fantasy baseball lineup on a nightly basis.

As the Dodgers make their run toward the top of the National League West, Seager is an extremely integral part in their success.  They come into play right behind the San Francisco Giants and hold a slim lead in the NL Wildcard standings.  They are currently without arguably the best pitcher in the game, Clayton Kershaw, and need their offense to step up to continue the run.

The 22-year-old shortstop is coming off a difficult series against Boston, in which he was 1-12 with two strikeouts and a double.  However, before we get excited about Seager getting cold “at the right time,” it should be known that he has never gone hitless for more than two straight games.  If that does not speak to talent, I am unsure what does.

Seager was selected in the first round of the 2012 draft as the 18th pick overall.  He passed up his opportunity to be a Gamecock of South Carolina in order to sign for over $2 million in LA.  The plan paid off for North Carolina native.  Seager had great success at every level of the minors, only once dipping below .300, where he was refining tools in order to become a better major league hitter.

He was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the year in 2014, an honor he shared with teammate, Joc Pederson.

A year later, Seager was promoted to AAA and on September 3rd, it finally happened.  The fans in LA had gotten the news they had longed to hear for some time.  Their shortstop had arrived.  The player we, in Philly, pined for and demanded we get in return if Cole Hamels were sent out west was going to have Vin Scully announcing his games.

More from That Balls Outta Here

And he did not disappoint.  In just under 100 at bats, the right hander hit .337/.425/.561 with four homers, 17 runs, and 17 RBI.  It was just the preview for what 2016 would bring for the future star.  Seager picked up where he left off and has not been sidetracked once by the bright LA lights.

This season, he became the youngest shortstop to start on Opening Day in 72 seasons (Gene Mauch for those of you keeping score).  He had a game in early June, in which he hit three home runs.  He was selected to be a 2016 All-Star, and has lived up to the description posting a line of statistical envy: .307/.369/.527 with 19 dingers, 71 runs, 52 RBI, and 31 doubles (a Dodger rookie record he took away from Eric Karros).

As the Phillies attempt to win their third straight series to start the month of August, they must key on slowing the Dodger shortstop.  The kid’s spray chart is a sight to behold, my friends.  From a child’s perspective, it seriously looks like a perfectly sprinkled ice cream cone.  There are dots of different colors to all fields, which shows his ability to do whatever he feels is best with whichever pitch is thrown.

The lefty has struggled to hit southpaws.  Of his 129 hits, only 31 have come against southpaws.  He is slashing .250/.299/.452 when he faces a lefty this season, but for someone as talented as Seager, that should improve as he matures.  Sadly for the Phillies, they are not starting a lefthander this series.  Zach Eflin, Vinny Velasquez, and Jeremy Hellickson have a much more difficult road, considering Seager rakes an impressive .320/.378/.546 against righties.

Pitch location will be key to controlling the youngster.  The Phillies will have to challenge him inside because he wants to hit the ball on the outer half.  Hellickson and Eflin, who love using offspeed down in the zone, are going to play right into Seager’s hands.

The bottom outside part of his heat-maps matches the color red of the Phillies batting practice jerseys.  Velasquez has the stuff to challenge him inside, but the other two have to use that game plan if they intend on not being hurt by his abilities down and away in the zone.

Corey Seager is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to follow in all of baseball.  He has impressed so many in the early part of his career.  Here is to being hopeful that the Phillies can bring his struggles to six games…and that he cools off again before next Tuesday.

Aug 8, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) connects for an RBI double during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 8, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) connects for an RBI double during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

My Pick: Buster Posey (3-9, a double, two runs, three RBIs, a walk, and strike out)

My Grade: Posey had a nice two game stretch.  He only played the first two games of the series, with the third day being a getaway day game.  They did not necessarily contain him and still won both the games in which Posey played.  My Grade: C

Phillies Grade:  The Phillies definitely did what they needed to do outside of a big double in the second game of the season.  His one hit in the first game was a result of Bob Davidson being a horrendous umpire.  Eflin had him on strikes, but Davidson decided he enjoyed the conversation he was having with Posey, so he allowed him to stay for another pitch…that was driven into CF for his only hit of the game.  Phillies Grade: B

Next: Phillies Week in Review