October 23, 2017

After an excellent showing in the Division Series (3-for-11 with a triple and four walks), it was a shock when Seager was omitted from the NLCS roster due to a back sprain—suffered during an awkward slide in Game 3—that required an epidural injection. The Dodgers got by because Charlie Culberson, who was limited to 13 PA during the regular season, went 5-for-11 with three extra-base hits and several strong defensive plays, and Chris Taylor filled in admirably as well. Seager is expected to be reactivated for the World Series, but that doesn't mean he'll be full strength; notably, he also battled elbow soreness late in the season and hit .210/.286/.358 in 91 PA in September. It wouldn't be a surprise if he pulls DH duty when the series shifts to Houston.

When healthy, the 23-year-old shortstop is one of the game's elite two-way shortstops, a .295/.375/.479 hitter with 22 homers in the regular season. He might be the team's best position player; his 5.6 WAR was 0.1 behind Turner, with both missing time due to injuries. A very aggressive hitter, he led the NL in first-pitch hits (50) and batted a sizzling .481 when making contact in such instances. Though his career OPS against lefties is 76 points below his mark against righties (.824 vs. .902), he hit .325/.389/.527 with eight homers in 190 PA against same-siders this year, for a 90-point edge in OPS (.916 vs. .826). Defensively, his +10 DRS ranked fourth among NL shortstops thanks to his great range and sure hands. 

Correa, the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year, didn’t put together the MVP campaign many expected thanks in large part to a torn thumb ligament that sidelined him for two months midseason, but he's still one of the game's special playeres. The 23-year-old Puerto Rican clobbered opposing pitching to the tune of a .315/.391/.550 line with 24 home runs, went deep twice in the Division Series, then hit .333/.357/.556 with a homer against the Yankees in the ALCS. Like his double-play partner Altuve, Correa crushes fastballs, hitting .349 against them this season; his lone home run of the ALCS came off a 99-mph outside fastball that he took the other way to rightfield. And defensively, he’s as good as they come. Only the presence of Altuve keeps Correa from being the Astros’ best player.

Edge: Astros

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