Corey Seager (TEX): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
This past off-season, Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract with the Texas Rangers prior to the lockout. The Rangers also added Marcus Semien to a significant deal. These are two pieces that will be in Texas for a while to help push them into contention once again. Both have struggled out of the gate but after two solo home runs yesterday, let’s check in with Seager’s performance and what we can expect from him for the rest of the year.
In his last four games, Seager had put up zero hits with one walk but only three strikeouts in 16 plate appearances. This is a microcosm of his season so far. His walk and strikeout rate have been consistent with previous seasons (7.9% and 16.7% respectively) while his BABIP sits at a paltry .244. His hard hit rate is down a bit (from 49% to 43%) and barrel rate down as well, despite the highest fly ball rate of his career (45.3%). Not much has changed on the plate discipline side except a bit more contact on balls out of the zone and bit less on balls in the zone.
And since his peripherals are in line with his normal abilities, Seager’s xStats in Baseball Savant are all much better than his actual stats (.285 xBA to .243 BA, .551 xSLG to .421 SLG, .369 xwOBA to .288 wOBA). He may just need to get used to his new surroundings, but for the most part, luck is not currently on his side. If Semien can start mashing like the last few years, these two back-to-back will be dangerous.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Justin Turner (LAD): 4-5, 3 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Everyone was just talking about dropping this guy. Sure he is hitting .168 with a 40 wRC+ and one home run, but his BABIP is .195 and he’s still striking out less than 20% of the time. His line drive rate is sub-15% for the first time in his career. Oh and he’s still in the best offense in the league. The one issue I do see though is that he is swinging more and making less contact. This may be some compensation to get out of the slump but he’ll find it.
Edwin Ríos (LAD): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Ríos popped a homer and added a couple of singles in the rare start. He added a pinch-hit homer the day before as well. It is hard to see where he can fit in regularly with the stacked lineup the Dodgers put out there, but if an injury happens or if Turner contradicts what I just said, Ríos could find more time, and then it would be time to pay attention to him.
Jonathan Schoop (DET): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
I was in on the Tigers coming into the season and boy was I wrong. They are not good. Schoop included. He is slashing .157/.202/.241 with two home runs. He cannot buy a hit. He is hitting the ball about as hard as last year with similar batted ball rates and with a .167 BABIP, things should get better. However, Schoop is already just a fringe guy.
Travis d’Arnaud (ATL): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Catcher has been a tough position to fill so far this season, but if you were one of the lucky ones you would have d’Arnaud on your squad. He hit a 400-foot bomb yesterday getting his average to .309 on the year. He isn’t hitting the ball as hard as usual and he isn’t walking at all, but you take what you can get from your catcher spot right now. If he’s anywhere close to his 2020 self, he’ll be perfectly fine.
Jeimer Candelario (DET): 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI.
Another severely underperforming Tiger, Candelario is also sporting a sub-.200 batting average. His hard hit rate is down six percentage points back to his 2o19 and earlier days. Notably, his line drive rate is nearly ten percentage points below last year’s. It’s tough to roster any Tigers at this time and Candelario falls into a similar boat as Schoop, already on the fringe so don’t bother.
Nick Solak (TEX): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 SB.
Solak has not done much to start the year, but he is walking a bit more and has never been a guy to strike out a ton (only around 20%). He swiped two bags yesterday which is a nice surprise, but Solak is spending a lot of time on the bench now with Seager and Semien in Texas. It will be hard to find much playing time moving forward.
Mike Trout (LAA): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB.
I know this is cheating but it is always a nice reminder that Trout is the best player there is. He had two homers over 420 feet, added a walk, and a 108 MPH ground out. His xStats are out of this world right now. Ready? His xSLG is .802 and his xwOBAcon is .642 (his career is .517).
Cedric Mullins (BAL): 4-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
A combo meal for Mullins is a nice sight to see. He has been fine at the dish, with better hard hit numbers than last season. But that’s not where he shines. He pulls fly balls a lot and uses his speed. He’ll get you plenty of homers and steals like yesterday. I doubt he’ll have as good a year as 2021 but he’ll still finish about 25/25 with a .260 average which should be plenty good.
Jace Peterson (MIL): 2-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI.
Peterson is hitting out of the nine spot when he is in the lineup and he’s been serviceable. His 12.9% walk rate is noticeable and with five steals already this year that could be some sneaky deep league value if played right. However, he’s not an everyday guy usually and won’t be much of an offensive force.
Andrew Velazquez (LAA): 3-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB.
With Fletcher out for a while with surgery on his groin, Velazquez should be performing the everyday shortstop duties. His immediate value will be stolen bases. He strikes out around 30% of the time but should still be able to get on base and swipe a few bags every so often. Most projections show about 10 steals per 200 plate appearances for the remainder of the year.
Yonathan Daza (COL): 3-4, 2B, 3B, R.
Daza peppered hits throughout the game yesterday and only missed a home run to complete the cycle. He kicked the game off with a hard hit line out and kept hitting the ball well the rest of the game. He is a skilled contact player and will put plenty of balls in play with little power (like ISO less than .100 power). With Coors, he could have a high average but he won’t play often enough for that big of an impact.
Ian Happ (CHC): 2-5, R, RBI, 2 SB.
After a few games with too many strikeouts, Happ bounced back with back-to-back multi-hit games and added two stolen bases yesterday. He’s walking at over a 15% rate and has cut his K rate a few percentage points as well. He is hitting ground balls significantly more often than his career (13 percentage points higher), but he is making more contact both in and out of the zone. He’s in a weak lineup but he’ll get a handful of steals on top of a decent amount of home runs.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)