LOS ANGELES -- It would probably be a huge upset for Corey Seager to win the Baseball Writers' Association of America National League Most Valuable Player Award on Thursday, but huge voting upsets happen, right?
Seager didn't lead the NL in any offensive statistical category. But if overall excellence should win the award, then the Dodgers rookie shortstop can make a legitimate case.
Seager's already leading the NL in awards won this offseason. He took down the BBWAA Rookie of the Year honors unanimously on Monday, adding to a list that includes a Silver Slugger, the Players Choice Award for Outstanding NL Rookie and the Rookie of the Year for The Sporting News (NL) and Baseball America (MLB).
The MLB Awards -- following league-specific recognition by BBWAA voters, whose ballots are based on regular-season play -- include candidates from both leagues (with postseason performance taken into consideration). MLB Awards are based on votes by retired players, broadcasters/reporters, team executives, Society of American Baseball Research members and fans, with each group accounting for 20 percent of the process. Esurance MLB Awards week concludes Friday on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET. MLB Awards categories include Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Executive and Manager.
Considering everything else that went wrong with club expectations this year -- most notably 32 injuries that put players on the disabled list -- Seager's breakout year came despite the expectations that he would have, well, a breakout year at the demanding shortstop position.
Neither of the other two finalists -- Chicago's Kris Bryant and Washington's Daniel Murphy -- play shortstop. Neither bats second in a lineup where the leadoff hitter had a .331 on-base percentage, holding down Seager's RBI total to 72.
Seager's WAR, as computed by Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com, respectively, was 7.5 and 6.12, tops for shortstops in either league.
"Obviously, I have a biased perspective, but I think he's the best shortstop in the National League," Roberts said of Seager. "Corey Seager is what the game is about now and going forward. The numbers speak for themselves."
His 26 home runs were a Dodgers record for a shortstop and he set Los Angeles Dodgers rookies marks for hits (193), runs (105) and doubles (40). The 193 hits were the most for a Major League rookie since 2001 (Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols). He finished fourth in MLB with a .334 batting average against right-handed pitching.
The 18th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Seager was the youngest Dodgers position player named to an NL All-Star Team and their first rookie shortstop All-Star since Bill Grabarkewitz in 1970. He is the fifth Dodger with a 25-homer/40-double season and he led Major League rookies in games played, hits, runs, doubles, RBIs, multi-hit games and walks. He joined with Kyle Seager of the Mariners as the first set of brothers with at least 25 homers each in the same season.
According to Stats, LLC, Seager joined Dusty Baker, Mike Piazza and Pujols as the only rookies in the divisional era (since 1969) to rank in the NL's Top 10 in batting average (.308) and slugging percentage (.512). He was second in the league overall with 57 multi-hit games, fourth with 321 total bases and seventh with his .308 average. The Dodgers nominated him for the Hank Aaron Award as their most outstanding offensive performer.
During the regular season, Seager had four multi-homer games, including a three-homer game June 3 against Atlanta. Although votes must be submitted before postseason games are played, Seager also became the first rookie in big league history to drive in the first run of four games in the same postseason, which included a pair of home runs.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.