GLENDALE, Ariz. -- No one has said a word to Corey Seager about playing any position other than shortstop this spring, and the Los Angles Dodgers' top prospect would just as soon no one ever does.
“I like shortstop, but at the end of the day, wherever they want you to play is where you’re going to play,” Seager said. “I’m open to whatever.”
People have speculated for years that Seager was destined for third base since he’s 6-foot-4 and has a build that might one day support more than the 215 pounds he currently weighs. For now the Dodgers are leaving him at shortstop. There is plenty of time to adjust since he won’t turn 21 until April 27.
Seager has been at Camelback Ranch since Tuesday working out voluntarily with a group of Dodgers position players that includes Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner. He left his home in North Carolina more than a week early to escape a storm that left four inches of ice on the ground and to get comfortable before his first major-league camp.
“I just want to soak up as much as I can,” Seager said. “Just observe is basically what I’m trying to do.”
In the meantime, the Dodgers -- and plenty of other teams -- will be putting Seager under a microscope this spring. Rated the No. 5 prospect in baseball by ESPN.com’s Keith Law, Seager batted .345 with a .915 OPS last season at Double-A Chattanooga and could push for major-league playing time as early as 2015. The Dodgers have told Seager they’d like him to work on his fielding, specifically getting rid of the ball more quickly and smoothing out his mechanics.
He certainly doesn’t look starstruck in his first camp. Invited by veteran infielder Darwin Barney to play table tennis Friday, Seager picked up a paddle and won a hardfought match. Seager’s path to the major leagues was somewhat smoothed over by his older brother Kyle, an All-Star third baseman for the Seattle Mariners, who train just a few miles from the Dodgers’ complex. Kyle Seager offered his kid brother some advice before the start of camp.
“He just said, ‘Keep your head down, go about your business and don’t step on anybody’s toes,’ " Corey Seager said.
It’s a two-way street. In exchange for mentoring his younger brother, Kyle gets to take his wife out for an occasional night on the town in Arizona and leave their 13-month-old son, Cru, with his uncle. A night of babysitting a toddler might prove more exhausting than a day of drills for Corey Seager.
“I’ve been there when he gets a little upset and I’m like, ‘Gosh, I hope he doesn’t get like that or I’m in trouble.’ “ Seager said.