There has never been a question regarding the talent Jean Segura brings to the table, his issue has always been with injuries. Since being signed by the Angels in 2008 he has missed time due to a broken ankle (2008), broken finger (2009) and torn hamstring (2011).
It’s the last injury that was really frustrating, because it kept him out of all but 52 games and came at a time when everyone wanted to see what he could do. He had broken out in 2010, hitting .313 with 10 HR and 50 SB in 515 AB at Single-A. Instead of being able to prove it was not an aberration, he barely reached the field.
That, however, didn’t stop the hype machine in the least. Baseball America, who still listed him as the teams second best prospect heading into 2012 (behind only Mike Trout), described him by saying:
“Segura matured as a hitter in 2011, demonstrating a willingness to use the entire field and a more patient approach that put him in hitter’s counts more frequently. His strength and explosive, quick-twitch actions excite evaluators almost as much as his short, direct swing. His bat is lightning-quick, and he could consistently bat .290 with as many as 20 homers at his peak because he hits all types of pitches. Scouts regard Segura as an above-average runner, though they qualify that grade by describing his body type as ‘heavy-legged’ or ‘thick.'”
Finally healthy and given the opportunity against upper-level competition, Segura proved that 2010 was very much for real. In 374 AB with the Angels at Double-A he hit .294 (courtesy of a believable .329 BABIP) with 7 HR and 30 SB. While he did make his Major League debut with LA, he was eventually traded to Milwaukee (as part of the Zack Greinke trade) where he is penciled in as the team’s starting shortstop for 2013.
The real question is, can he really reach Baseball America’s ceiling for him?
I do have a little bit of skepticism regarding the power. According to Minor League Central he posted an outfield fly ball rate of just 23.7% in the minor leagues in 2012 (and 18.5% in the Majors). Instead, he simply pounded the ball into the ground and used his speed, posting groundball rates of 50.6% in the minors and 56.9% in the Majors.
It is possible that he needs to adjust his approach against more advanced pitching, considering his OFB was 32.6% in limited action in 2011. While I wouldn’t completely write off the power, it just seems like expecting a number closer to 10 would be a lot more realistic.
As for the speed, it clearly is there. The real question is if he will get an opportunity to show it. He hit primarily eighth last season, where he likely will at least open the 2013 campaign. As long as he is there, seeing him get ample opportunities to run is hard to imagine (as is seeing him score a lot of runs).
However, he has proven capable of putting the bat on the ball (13.5% strikeout rate in 2012 at Double-A). When you couple that with his speed, it gives him the potential to routinely hit .280 plus and may make him an ideal #2 hitter behind Norichika Aoki. If hat happens, his overall outlook does change significantly.
For now, go into the season expecting 6-10 HR with 20+ SB potential and a solid average. Not bad numbers, especially for deeper formats. If he does get moved up, however, seeing him steal 30+ bases and score 80+ runs is very much for real. That makes him an ideal player to stash.
What are your thoughts of Segura? Do you think he’ll hold value in 2013? Why or why not?
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