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In 2013 Jean Segura, the Milwaukee Brewers’ shortstop, had an average draft position of 234th overall according to data from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. That’s pretty dang low for a player who busted out with a season of nearly .300 with 44 steals and made him one of the better infield values of the year. Obviously he was a huge bargain an a true difference maker in the ole fantasy game. At the same time his production caved like the career of Britney Spears in the second half (did you see how Britney has been accused of spraying on a six-pack for her performances in Vegas?). What should we expect from Segura, a player who had strong overall numbers but very spotty consistency in 2013?
Let’s start with the obvious positives. Segura hit .294 and stole 44 bases in his first full season in the big leagues an uber-impressive feat. Those are good numbers for any position, let alone a guy who calls shortstop home. Only one other man in baseball could match both those numbers – Jacoby Ellsbury.
Now the negatives.
Though Segura hit .294, the in-season splits aren’t as heartwarming as the final number. Let’s look at his batting average month by month.
April – .367
May – .345
June – .277
July – .281
August – .252
September – .214
After batting .354 over his first 52 games the bottom literally fell out on Jean (when I hear that name I always think Jean Grey from the X-Men. I know, I’ve got problems). Over his final 96 games Segura hit .261. For two thirds of the season he was league average. Just pointing it out. He still hit .294 overall which is terrific an on the year he hit .317 against lefties and .287 against righties showing that he can handle all types of arms. However, that 2/3 season tank job makes me nervous that he’s going to repeat that .294 mark. After all, he only had an 18 percent line drive rate with a 59 percent ground ball mark. Those numbers don’t always suggest .294. Sometimes they suggest .264.
Another issue to toss out there. In 789 career plate appearances Segura owns a .326 OBP, a league average mark. The guy just doesn’t walk. Segura drew 25 free passes last season. Mike Trout walked 29 times last September. Due to the fact that he doesn’t know how to take a walk, Segura scored only 74 times. Given that he hit .294 and stole 44 bases while playing 146 games… that’s a poor number. His runs scored mark isn’t likely to rise much unless he does a better job at seeing pitches and taking a walk because as we’re about ready to see growth in the homer category isn’t coming.
Just cause. No reason.
What about the power? Segura hit zero homers in 2012 (151 at-bats). He hit 12 homers in 588 at-bats in 2013. That’s 12 homers in 739 at-bats, not exactly an impressive number, as a big leaguer. If we remove the 52 games from 2013 in which he was killing it – he had eight homers those two months – we’re looking at a player who has hit four homers in 136 big league games. During his minor league career Segura hit a total of 26 homers in 399 games. His pace per 136 games in the minors was nine homers. Facts are facts with Segura. He simply cannot lift the ball (his 22.5 percent fly ball rate as a big leaguers is laughably low given the big league average is 35 percent). Segura knows his talents and hitting the ball in the air isn’t one of the things he does well so he simply doesn’t. Good for him. Bad for his homer total.
So this is what we have in Segura.
We have a player who is talented.
We have a player who could finish in the top-10 in steals in 2014.
We have a player who knows his strengths and plays to them.
We have a player who was amazingly good for the first two months of 2013 before regressing to merely a solid option at the dish.
Segura isn’t going to help anyone in the homer and RBIs columns, and it’s doubtful if he will be anything other than really solid in the runs scored mark. That leaves his fantasy value pretty dependent on that batting average, and as I touched on above I’d put my money on him batting closer to .264 than .294 this season. He’s worth a starting spot in mixed leagues for his speed factor, there is zero doubt about that, but realize if you roster him that it’s more likely than not that his 2014 output will fall short of what he did in 2013.
By Ray Flowers