There have been touted Los Angeles Dodgers prospects, such as infielder Dee Gordon and outfielder Yasiel Puig, who arrived in Chattanooga out of spring training, and there have been others who have shown up in midseason.
Shortstop Corey Seager would fit the latter category.
Seager, one of the top 50 prospects in the minor leagues according to Baseball America, was promoted to Chattanooga last weekend and this week is competing in his first series at AT&T Field. The 20-year-old from Kannapolis, N.C., hit .352 with 18 home runs and 70 RBIs in 80 games with Rancho Cucamonga of the high Single-A California League before being plucked to Double-A.
"Your routine gets messed up a little bit," Seager said of the midseason call-up. "There is all the stuff off the field, like finding a new apartment and meeting a bunch of different guys. It rained a lot in Mobile, but it's been fun so far in Chattanooga. Hopefully we can get going and make the playoffs."
Getting going has been another matter for the Lookouts, who snapped a six-game losing streak Wednesday afternoon at AT&T with a 6-5 win over Montgomery. Alex Liddi's three-run double to left in the eighth inning was the difference for the Lookouts, who improved to 11-20 in the Southern League's second half.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Seager went 1-for-4 Wednesday and is hitting .368 though four games with Chattanooga. Four games isn't enough of a sample size to confirm that Seager has successfully made the adjustment, but it seems to solidify the time being right for the promotion.
"In the first half, we worked on stride direction and defensive angles, and I think he made a lot of progress there," Dodgers player development director DeJon Watson said. "I still think there is more work to be done, but he is in the right place to be challenged offensively and defensively. Once you get to this level, it's kind of where the grown folks start to show up and separate themselves.
"We'll see how he handles the pitching and the pace of the game here at this level. All those things will factor into his development, but I think he's mentally and physically ready for this challenge."
When asked whether it's advantageous or not to be promoted during the season, Watson said it depends on the player and his midset.
"If you look at how our system is set up, Midland is cold weather with a slow infield, and the ball doesn't carry," he said. "In Rancho, there is an extremely fast infield and it's hot at a high elevation. There are different lessons to be learned at every place we go. When you come here, the heat is really on you, and you see really good pitching on a nightly basis.
"In Albuquerque, you're back in high elevation and you're having to manage the travel more, so there are so many lessons to learn."
Seager doesn't remember it raining once this year in the California League, so playing in the Southern League is already very different.
A first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2012, Seager hit .309 in 74 games last year in the Single-A Midwest League under the guidance of Razor Shines, who is now his manager again. He has two older brothers in professional baseball, with Kyle having a .280 season with the Seattle Mariners and Justin in the Midwest League.
Seager's favorite thing to do away from baseball is to hunt deer on some family property in upstate New York, but he and his brothers have too much going on right now to get away.
"He's a guy who does a lot of things well and is a tremendous talent," Shines said, "and he's a guy who is expected to play one day at the highest level and do it well. He's a rare talent, and everybody knew that a long time ago, otherwise he would not have been a first-round pick."
Said Seager: "Pitchers know what they want to do with their pitches at this level, and they can execute it better. I'm also at that level where you can get called up [to the majors], but I try not to think about that. I just go out and play."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...