LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers can’t match the prospect news generated by the Chicago Cubs, who promoted slugging third baseman Kris Bryant on Friday, but something quite significant happened in their system Thursday night.
Top prospect Corey Seager played third base for Double-A Tulsa. It wasn’t the first time in his career he has done so. He played one game at the position when he was in the Class-A California League in 2013, but it was meaningful nonetheless as the Dodgers map out their plans for one of the best young pure hitters in baseball.
For a few years, people have assumed Seager, who is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, would wind up moving off shortstop and settling at third base. I asked Dodgers farm director Gabe Kapler whether this signaled a permanent position change.
"Corey is an athlete. He can play anywhere on the diamond," Kapler responded via text. "In general, we want our men to think of themselves as baseball players rather than labeling themselves in any way. That said, Seager can unequivocally play shortstop and third base. He’s a pro. Exposure to multiple positions can only help our players."
Just vague enough to be interesting.
By the way, Seager homered for the second time this season and tripled Thursday night in Tulsa’s 4-1 win against San Antonio, a game in which the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect, lefty Julio Urias, struck out 10 batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
In seven games, Seager is batting .571 with a 1.445 OPS and, in 28 at-bats, he has struck out once. He has dominated this level, batting .345 in 38 games there last season.
Considering Seager finished last season at Double-A, some people are wondering when the 20-year old will make the jump to Triple-A Oklahoma City. A better question is whether he’ll be promoted directly to Dodger Stadium or another big-league stadium. Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe, 36, is off to a sluggish start offensively and defensively, the team doesn’t seem to believe in Alex Guerrero or Justin Turner as everyday players and Hector Olivera is waiting to get his work visa in the Dominican Republic.
The Dodgers are committed to Jimmy Rollins as their everyday shortstop this season.
Give Seager a few weeks to learn the new position, at a minimum, and the Dodgers might elect to leave him in the minors until June anyway to delay his arbitration clock, but his arrival is starting to feel more and more imminent.