When the Texas Rangers signed Corey Seager to a 10 year deal worth $325 million, the sincere hope was that he would be the perennial 4ish or more WAR per year shortstop that helped the Dodgers build a dynasty over the last several seasons. His first season with the Rangers went mostly according to plan as he put up 4.5 fWAR despite "just" a 117 wRC+ for the 2022 season.
However, fans were understandably concerned when right out the gate in 2023, Seager went down with a hamstring injury that would ultimately keep him out of action for over a month. Those fears have proven to be unfounded as not only did Seager recover nicely from that IL stint, but he is turning in one of the best offensive seasons in all of baseball that not nearly enough people are talking about.
Corey Seager's production has been elite in 2023
Batting leaderboards are a funny thing because a player has to have enough plate appearances to qualify for things like the batting title. When you look at the AL hitting leaderboards among qualified hitters, you see the expected names like Shohei Ohtani, Luis Robert Jr., Yandy Diaz, and the Rangers' own Marcus Semien at or near the top of most categories. However, you don't see Seager's name which could cause a casual baseball fan to think that Seager just hasn't been that good in 2023.
However, that could not be further from the truth. If you account for all American League position players with 350 plate appearances or more this season (Seager has 382), Seager all of a sudden sticks out like a sore thumb as arguably the best hitter in the AL. He is tops in wRC+, second in fWAR, second in slugging, second in ISO, first in on-base percentage. and first in OPS. Despite only playing in 84 games this season, Seager's production has more than kept pace with the best players in baseball.
Without Seager, the Texas Rangers may have been in trouble
Texas has been fortunate that Seager has been as good as he has been. While it would have been nice to have him healthy the whole season, the fact of the matter is that without him, Texas probably wouldn't be in first place in the AL West. The Rangers hold just a one game lead in the division right now and while their entire offense has been a strength in 2023 season, the guy that has made this offense go has been Seager. Had he not had the hamstring injury as well as a thumb sprain in July, it is not a stretch to think that Texas would have a much more comfortable lead right now.
All of the missed time has caused Seager's amazing season to fly under the radar, but that appears to be changing. He is already getting some chatter around his MVP candidacy and he has been steadily climbing various hitter power rankings of late. Assuming he stays healthy, he should start getting the awards consideration he deserves especially with Shohei Ohtani's injury putting the rest of his season in doubt.
For the moment, Seager remains one of MLB's more underappreciated stars in 2023 that deserves more national recognition than he has gotten. If he were playing in a bigger media market like LA or NY, this likely wouldn't have happened. However, Seager's numbers are loud enough that once we get closer to the end of the season, folks will be forced to recognize that this is one of the best players in all of baseball in 2023.