Corey Seager might be baseball's top prospect but when will he be a Dodger?

Corey Seager might be baseball's top prospect but when will he be a Dodger?
Corey Seager waits his turn at batting practice before the 2014 All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis. (Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)

The prospects gathered here, the most promising prospects from far and wide — all, that is, except the fairest in all the land.

Corey Seager did not participate in the Futures Game on Sunday, five days after Baseball America declared him the top prospect in baseball.


"It's Seager. Everybody expects him to be everywhere," said Dodgers minor league catcher Kyle Farmer, who did play Sunday. "He's just one man."

Seager could be the next big thing — in all of baseball, not just for the Dodgers. He is the Dodgers' shortstop of the future, whenever the future might come.

It could be next season. It could be September. It might not be before then, even with Jimmy Rollins suffering through the worst season of his career.

The Dodgers are not inclined to trade Rollins to clear a spot for Seager. In the event Seager got injured or did not play well, they would be left with Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez or Darwin Barney at shortstop. That is not a risk they feel compelled to take, not with the team holding the largest division lead in the National League, 4 1/2 games.

The Dodgers are not inclined to put Rollins on the bench behind Seager, not with a 25-man roster and an inconsistent and heavily manned bullpen that mandates versatility among bench players. Rollins has played 18,779 innings in his career at shortstop, one-third of an inning at second base, and nowhere else.

Rollins, 36, is batting .215 in 86 games with the Dodgers, with eight home runs and a .266 on-base percentage. According to Fangraphs' calculations, the Dodgers would do just as well — and perhaps a little better — with a journeyman at shortstop.

Seager, 21, is batting .287 in 63 games at triple-A Oklahoma City, with eight home runs and a .341 on-base percentage.

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, would not say whether he considers Seager ready for the major leagues. He said the Dodgers have been pleased with how well Seager has played and, perhaps even more, how strongly he has rebounded from his few struggles.

"His arrow is certainly pointing up," Friedman said.

In the wake of his minor league wreckage, Seager leaves stories behind. In one series against the Angels' triple-A Salt Lake affiliate, he had one game with two home runs, another game with four hits, and yet another with six hits.

"The home runs were crushed," Angels first baseman C.J. Cron said.

"We just couldn't get him out," Angels pitcher Trevor Gott said. "He single-handedly won that series for them."

Seager also attracted attention during a four-game series against Round Rock, the Texas Rangers' triple-A affiliate.

"Best pure hitter I've seen in the Pacific Coast League this year," said Round Rock Manager Jason Wood, who coached at the Futures Game. "He stood out head and shoulders above everybody else."


Wood was not just impressed with Seager's bat. His size — 6 feet 4 and 215 pounds — has prompted projections of an eventual move to third base, but Wood said Seager sparkles at shortstop.

"What's amazing to me is his defense," Wood said, "to see him play shortstop and cover as much ground as he does for his size. He moves really well. He has quiet hands. He looks the part. Everything is under control.

"He looks like The Big Smooth out there. He's fun to watch."

Gott pitched against Seager in the California League, the Arizona Fall League and the Pacific Coast League. The two were teammates on the California League All-Star team, where Gott said he could barely get a word out of Seager.

"He's quiet. But he's a really, really, really good player," Gott said. "He has a certain presence in the box that screams big leagues."

Seager already has a brother in the major leagues, Kyle, who is in his fifth season with the Seattle Mariners. If Corey Seager shows up in L.A. in September, he might be the brother who gets to the playoffs first.

Twitter: @BillShaikin

Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report from Seattle.