PHOENIX — According to analytics, Corey Seager was one of the hitters most hurt by infield shifts during Major League Baseball's 2022 season.
Now that the defensive tactic has been restricted by MLB rules, the Texas Rangers slugger is having a huge spring training.
The 28-year-old had eight hits, including three home runs, and drove in eight runs in his first 18 at-bats during exhibition play. Teams shifted against Seager in about 93% of his plate appearances last season, when he finished with a career-low .243 batting average.
Seager signed a $325 million, 10-year contract in December 2021, but his first year with the Rangers — after seven seasons, three All-Star Game selections and a World Series title with the Los Angeles Dodgers — was disappointing. He finished with a career-high 33 homers, but Texas lost 94 games despite adding Seager and middle infielder Marcus Semien, an All-Star for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021.
Here are some more players performing well during spring training:
Alec Bohm, Phillies
The 26-year-old third baseman has flashed some power with three home runs in his first 21 at-bats this spring for Philadelphia. He has hit just 24 homers in his first 1,126 MLB at-bats, but at 6-foot-5 and 218 pounds, it's fair to expect more homers as he gets older.
Gerrit Cole, Yankees
The right-handed pitcher, a five-time All-Star, looks like he's ready to have another great season in New York, having thrown 6 1/3 scoreless innings over his first two starts this spring. He has struck out 11 batters and walked none while allowing just three hits. The 32-year-old was 13-8 with a 3.50 ERA last season while leading the majors with 257 strikeouts.
Max Fried, Braves
The 29-year-old left-hander has pitched five scoreless innings and struck out nine batters combined in two starts in Grapefruit League play. He has been a mainstay in Atlanta's rotation over the past four seasons, compiling a 52-20 record and helping lead the team to the 2021 World Series title.
Trey Mancini, Cubs
The 30-year-old first baseman has made a good first impression with his new club, generating nine hits in his first 16 at-bats this spring for Chicago. Mancini was one of the best players on the roster for the Baltimore Orioles for several seasons before getting traded last year to the Houston Astros. He helped them win the World Series last fall, then signed a two-year deal worth $14 million during the offseason.
Matt Olson, Braves
The 28-year-old slugger is in midseason form with eight hits in his first 15 at-bats this spring, including three homers. Olson had the unenviable task of taking over at first base after franchise icon Freddie Freeman left for the Dodgers as a free agent a year ago, but the former Oakland Athletics standout responded with a solid season in 2022, finishing with 34 homers and 103 RBIs.
Julio Urías, Dodgers
Still just 26 years old, the left-hander has given up one run in 6 2/3 innings in two starts this spring. He led the National League with a 2.16 ERA last season and finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting.
Jordan Walker, Cardinals
The 20-year-old prospect is making a push to be on the opening day roster for St. Louis after generating 12 hits in his first 28 at-bats in exhibition games. The outfielder also has three homers, three doubles and a stolen base. Walker's 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, which is still growing, has some comparing him to a young Aaron Judge, whose 62 homers last season for the Yankees set the American League record. Walker hit .306 with 19 homers last season in Double-A.