Manager Don Mattingly lavished praise on 20-year-old Corey Seager, comparing the infield prospect to Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and former batting champion John Olerud.
“Without a putting a giant X on his back, he’s more like a Ripken to me, as far as being the big shortstop that doesn’t really profile there but has great hands, great awareness, really good clock as far as calmness and knowing the timing,” Mattingly said. “At the plate, he’s more like a little bit of an Olerud if you really watch him. He’s quiet. He’s a big guy with a small swing.”
A 6-foot-4 shortstop, Seager is not only the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Dodgers system, he is considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
“With Corey, really, there’s really nothing not to like,” Mattingly said. “He looks comfortable in the box, he looks comfortable on the field, he looks comfortable with our guys. He seems to be handling everything about big-league camp.”
Asked if Seager was ready to play in the major leagues, Mattingly replied, “Do I think he’s ready? I wouldn’t be afraid of him, I’ll tell you that.”
However, Mattingly doesn’t want Seager to shuttle back and forth between the major and minor leagues, saying that could hinder his development.
“You want to give them the best chance to develop so when they do get here, it’s not a back-and-forth thing,” Mattingly said. “That’s where you run the risk.”
Especially with on a team with World Series aspirations such as the Dodgers.
“I think if his situation was a different situation, I’m not sure you wouldn’t throw him in and let him play, get that experience here,” Mattingly said. “That’s not obviously the situation here.”
Seager hit a walk-off double Sunday in the Dodgers’ victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Mattingly said he wasn’t asked after the game about Seager’s game-winning hit.
If 18-year-old left-hander Julio Urias had done something of similar magnitude, Mattingly said, “We would have been talking about it for 30 minutes.”
Why has Seager received relatively little fanfare this spring?
“Because he quietly goes about his business, maybe,” Mattingly said. “I don’t know. But that’s fine.”