Sources around the Rangers say that Seager spends hours chatting hitting with Wooten on Facetime. The shortstop will put his guru up on an iPad and the two will talk through various parts of Seager’s swing. In an hour-long session, Seager might take only 20 to 25 full-effort swings, preferring to hyper-analyze specific physical positions in his motion.
“If he’s not in here, and [the tripod’s] not in here, you know where he is,” a Rangers teammate said. “He’s working.”
It’s extremely common for MLB hitters to have their own personal hitting coaches, but Seager’s fealty to Wooten seems to go above and beyond. Rangers’ manager Bruce Bochy confirmed that his linchpin slugger spends quite a bit of time working with a coach outside the organization, but advocated a hands-off approach toward Seager’s process.
“I don’t know his whole routine, to be honest,” the future Hall of Fame skipper admitted. “But they all have their own way of preparing and this is the way it works for him. And as you can see, he’s had tremendous success.”
Despite missing a month with a hamstring strain earlier this season, Seager still ranks as the third-best AL shortstop by fWAR. His 1.020 OPS is No. 2 in the entire sport behind only Shohei Ohtani. He has the single best average exit velocity in the league and ranks at or near the top in a variety of other batted-ball metrics.
“He’s unique,” said Yankees outfielder Willie Calhoun, who came up with Seager in the Dodgers’ minor-league system and played with him last season in Texas. “That dude is f—ing different. Easily one of the best hitters I’ve ever played with.
“I asked him once, do you sit on pitches? And he said no, he just expects fastball and adjusts. He’s out here hitting 440-foot homers on first-pitch curveballs, and I’m like, OK, bro.”
His Rangers teammates confirm that Seager still genuinely doesn’t care who is on the mound, or what pitches they throw — all he asks for is the general fastball velocity.
“He’s good and he knows it,” Rangers catcher Mitch Garver said. “But he doesn’t feel like he has to prove anything, ever, to anyone.”
If you scroll through the YouTube channel for Bally Sports Southwest, the Rangers’ official broadcast partner, you’ll see postgame interviews and off-field content with a whole host of players. There are strikingly few involving Seager, the eighth-highest paid player in the sport.
In one recent video, a Rangers fan asks the face of the franchise what he would be doing professionally if not for baseball. Seager, a former first-round pick who signed out of high school, is effectually without an answer. He briefly mentions how much he likes golf, only to point out it couldn’t be a career because he isn’t that good at it. Then the video ends. Fifteen seconds of his fame is all we get.
When asked to set up an interview with the elusive slugger, a Rangers official explained that their big-money shortstop had hardly done a postgame TV interview this season. One beat reporter who covers the team admitted they hadn’t spoken to Seager in nearly a month. During media availability, Seager is usually in the dungeons of the ballyard on Facetime with Wooten, picking apart the nitty-gritties of his swing.
And for now, that dynamic suits the Rangers just fine. The team clearly understands that the best version of Seager, the version that it broke the bank for, is most comfortable when he’s left alone, free to obsess over things like his hand position or the timing of his toe tap. That’s the guy most likely to carry this star-crossed franchise to its first World Series championship.
And Seager, who won a ring with the Dodgers during the bizarre shortened 2020 season, wholeheartedly shares that vision.
“He wants to win a ‘real’ World Series,” a current teammate said. “And he wants to do it over and over and over again.”
Jake Mintz, the louder half of @CespedesBBQ is a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He played college baseball, poorly at first, then very well, very briefly. Jake lives in New York City where he coaches Little League and rides his bike, sometimes at the same time. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Mintz.