Explaining Corey Seager's rough stretch that has impacted the 2024 Rangers early on

Texas Rangers v Atlanta Braves
Texas Rangers v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The Rangers have had a bumpy road through the first few weeks of the season. The offense has had its struggles, and injuries have certainly played a factor. But a particularly rough stretch from reigning World Series MVP Corey Seager has also played a significant role.

Seager is one of the best pure hitters of his generation. He's as aggressive as they come at the plate, with power that often leaves pitchers regretting their mistakes. That's been seen over the last two seasons as he's hit 66, leading all shortstops over that time. His prowess at the plate, paired with a further improved Rangers roster in 2023 culminated in the first World Series for the organization. He was the leader of that team with an incredible run of form in October and the most memorable moment in Rangers playoff history.

But in 2024 we have not seen that version of Corey Seager. The Rangers offense has had a slow start, and Seager's backslide is perhaps the biggest reason why.

Seager is fresh off a 1-for-12 series in Atlanta and has a below league average .678 OPS with only six RBI so far this season. He's also tied with Travis Jankowksi, Andrew Knizner, and the now DFA'd Jared Walsh for home runs among Rangers players this year with one.

You can't compare where he's at right now to exactly this point last season because he went down for a month after just 11 games in 2023. But if you compare the first 11 games of the last two seasons, you can begin to see the difference. Mainly his 1.008 OPS through 11 games last year compared to .792 through 11 this year. The difference is mainly coming from lack of slugging. His slugging percentage was at .538 through the first 11 games of 2023 while it was just .400 through the first 11 of this year.

What else? Quality of contact. Regularly making good contact but just getting unlucky and hitting it straight to the defenders usually signals a turnaround is on the horizon. Sometimes hitters go through unlucky stretches, but a good batted ball profile will signal to just stick with the current process and things will correct naturally. That does not seem to be the case here.

Seager's barrel percentage so far in 2024 is the worst of his career. He's at 6% as opposed to 15.2% last year. His solid contact is also down below 10% at 7.5% compared to 11.4% last year. His average exit velocity is also the lowest of his career at 88.2 mph. He had an average exit velocity of 93.3 last year, the highest of his career. So the slugging difference is evident past the 11-game OPS comparison as well ... especially when you also factor in Seager had more extra base hits through the first 11 games last year than he's had all of 2024 so far (five to three).

There's no denying that Seager is struggling, mightily -- both seeing the ball well and driving the ball with power. The reason for his struggles has been speculated upon among Rangers fans. Most think it's some combination of lack of spring training and not being fully recovered from his hernia surgery.

Whatever the issue may be, the Rangers need Corey Seager to start playing at a high level again soon. They would not be the defending World Series champions without him, and they went 27-10 in games he hit a home run last year. Seager is the Rangers best player and when he is on, spearheading one of the most intimidating lineups in baseball.

But Rangers fans can be assured Seager is on the case. It's become well known how obsessed Seager is with his swing (and his strive for perfection), talking to a personal swing coach and evaluating his stance for hours each day. He's also getting quality help from a staff that has crafted one of the most potent lineups and offensive approaches in the league.

But Rangers fans need to see it happen soon, because we're almost a month into the season with the worst results from the World Series MVP yet.