A couple moons ago, Jean Segura was a nice power/speed combo guy with solid numbers in the stolen base department. His numbers are declining, and his stolen bases have decreased four straight seasons, and he’s running less, obviously. However, prior to 2020, he had four straight seasons with double-digit home runs and stolen bases, and in three of those four years, he had at least 20 stolen bases. Some of his rather impressive metrics in 2020 are due for regression and fall in line with his career norms, but it was encouraging nonetheless.
His seven home runs last year may not seem overly impressive, but when you dig in, it was a career year for Segura. He homered once every 27.4 at-bats, which was easily a career best and put him on pace for a whopping 21.9 home runs over 600 at-bats. Prior to 2020, his next highest mark was 31.9 back in 2016, and other than that, it was 47.6 in 2017. For his career as a whole, he’s homered once every 52.1 at-bats. So, what happened to cause this power spike? Well, it was a culmination of a few things, all of which relate to his batted ball profile.
His launch angle was up in 2020, and that obviously helped, because you can’t hit home runs when the balls you hit are creating divots in the Earth. For all of the wrongs and negatives that made up the 2020 season, Segura’s career best 1.43 GB/FB ratio wasn’t one, nor was the fact that it was the first time in his career that his ground ball rate was below 50 percent for the season.
Furthermore, his increased barrel rate and high hard-contact rate in conjunction with the elevated launch angle lend itself to more four-baggers. His 6.1 percent barrel rate in 2020 is a career high, and highest since 2016. Segura’s 3.2 percent barrel rate in both 2018 and 2019 is significantly lower than his 2020 mark, so his overall stat line in 2021 hinges on his batted ball profile remaining closer to 2020 than prior years. Is there some regression to be had? Absolutely, but the less the better for Segura in 2021.
Now, what is likely to regress a bit as well, are his career highs in both strikeout and walk rates in 2020. His 20.7 percent strikeout rate in 2020 was a massive jump compared to years prior (12.4% for 2017-2019), and his walk rate doubled his 5.3 percent walk rate from 2017-2019.
His overall contact rate dropped for the second straight year, and his 2020 mark was a career low for Segura. Furthermore, his swinging strike rate took a big jump up, and what is alarming is that the whiffs weren’t always out of the zone. In fact, fastballs and breaking stuff in the zone gave him fits.
When you look at how opposing pitchers are attacking Segura, you’ll see that he’s seeking more breaking stuff. Why? Well, he struggles to hit it. His xBA against breaking pitches was actually up in 2020, but it’s been a consistent downward spiral in the past three years.
Segura used to be a solid speed guy, but he cannot be trusted as such anymore. He’s 12-for-16 in stolen base attempts since coming to the city of Brotherly Love, and he’s averaging a stolen base attempt once every 12.3 games. Over 162 games, that comes to about 13 attempts for the year. He should run a smidge more than that but projecting a stolen base total in the 10-13 range seems fitting for Segura in 2021.
Segura has eligibility at second and third base in most formats, and depending on your league requirements, his four appearances (two starts) at shortstop last year might add a third position to his ledger. Regardless of whether or not he has shortstop eligibility in your league, he’s a cheap power/speed option who should register another year of double-digit home runs and stolen bases. He’s in a great lineup, so counting stats should be there, and he’s better than his .266 average from last year (career .272 xBA).
For the sake of projections, let’s give him 15 HR, ten stolen bases, and .270 batting average for the 2021 season. There are 19 players projected to do this via THE BAT projections.
At the time of writing:
Six of the 19 are being selected within the first ten picks.
11 of the 19 are being selected within the first 20 picks.
18 of the 19 are being selected within the first 100 picks.
Segura’s current ADP is pick no. 192
His price point is moving up in fantasy baseball drafts, but the fact remains that he’s a multi-category contributor with multiple positions to his credit.
THE BAT Projections by Derek Carty