Rangers Corey Seager thriving in post-shift MLB world

Analytics say Corey Seager was one of the hitters most hurt by pitching changes last season.

Now that the defensive tackle has been restricted, the Texas Rangers slugger is having a great spring training.

The 28-year-old had eight hits in his first 18 spring training at-bats, including three homers and eight RBIs. Teams switched Seager in roughly 93 percent of his plate appearances last season, and he finished with a career-low .243 batting average.

Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract in December 2021, but his first year with the Rangers was disappointing. He finished with a career-high 33 home runs, but Texas lost 94 games despite adding Seager and Marcus Semien.

Here are some other players who have a good spring training:

Gerrit Cole, Yankees, RHP: The five-time All-Star looks poised for another big season, pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings over his first two starts. He has struck out 11, walked none and allowed just three hits. The 32-year-old was 13-8 with a 3.50 ERA while leading the major leagues with 257 strikeouts.

Jordan Walker, Cardinals, OF: The 20-year-old prospect is making a push to make the team’s opening day roster after 12 hits in his first 28 at-bats. He also has three home runs, three doubles and a stolen base. Walker’s still-growing 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame has some comparing him to a young Aaron Judge. He hit .306 with 19 homers last season in Double-A.

Max Fried, Braves, LHP: The 29-year-old has thrown five scoreless innings and struck out nine in two starts. He has been a mainstay in the team’s rotation over the past four seasons with a 52-20 record.

Trey Mancini, Cubs, 1B: The 30-year-old has made a good first impression with the Cubs, with nine hits in his first 16 at-bats of the spring. Mancini was one of Baltimore’s best players for several seasons before being traded to the Astros last year and helping Houston win a World Series title. He signed a two-year, $14 million contract in the offseason.

Julio Urías, Dodgers, LHP: Still only 26, has given up just one run in 6 2/3 innings in two starts. He led the National League with a 2.16 ERA last season and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

Matt Olson, Braves, 1B: The slugger is in midseason form with eight hits in his first 15 at-bats, including three homers. Olson had the unenviable task of taking over first base after franchise icon Freddie Freeman left for the Dodgers in free agency, but he responded with a solid season in 2022, finishing with 34 homers and 103 RBI.

Alec Bohm, Phillies, 3B: The 26-year-old has shown some power with three homers in his first 21 at-bats. He’s hit just 24 homers in his first 1,126 big league at-bats, but at 6-foot-5 and 218 pounds, it’s fair to expect more homers as he gets older.

Report from The Associated Press.

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