By Jon Weisman
Corey Seager connected for a huge hit in the eighth inning Saturday, a two-run home run off Javier Lopez that was the first the San Francisco southpaw had allowed to a left-handed batter in nearly two years.
It was huge because it put the Dodgers within one run (in a game that they ultimately lost by 90 feet, leaving the tying run on third in a 4-3 defeat). It was also huge personally for Seager, who had gone 47 plate appearances this season without hitting a homer.
Seager now has a .292 on-base percentage, .422 slugging percentage and .714 OPS, which might be lower than some expected but is more than fine for a 21-year-old shortstop with a world of potential.
No one, to my knowledge, has called for Seager to be sent to the minors to regroup. The same can’t be said for Joc Pederson, who has been taking grief for much of the season — even though Pederson’s averages (.306 OBP, .424 slugging, .730 OPS) are higher, as are his exit velocities compared to Seager’s, according to Brooks Baseball.
Pederson went 0 for 4 Saturday, striking out with two runners on in the seventh and popping out with Yasmani Grandal on third in the ninth, each time with one out. There’s no doubt that Pederson can look bad when he fails, though really few players look good when that happens. The strikeouts continue to take nearly 40 percent of his plate appearances, and the walk rate (5.5 percent) has decreased.
But Pederson, who turns 24 on Thursday, is only two years older than Seager. He’s more than a year younger than Yasiel Puig. Pederson is a hitter still finding himself, but as Seager and Puig and countless players have shown, that can happen at any moment.
“As far as the process goes, the way he’s going to the cage, where he’s at with the hitting coaches, he’s in a good place,” Dave Roberts said, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. “As long as he continues to stay consistent with that, the results will come.”