Well, it finally happened: Zack Greinke, as the whole planet now knows, was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for three prospects.
Rather than dwell on the loss of the former Cy Young pitcher, we choose instead to look forward to the new players joining our ranks.
Normally, Better Know a Brewer is reserved strictly for call-ups, but we make an exception in this three-part series so that we can ascertain the value of the trade.
Spoiler Alert: the value is actually pretty high.
We start with the highest-ranking of the prospects, new Hunstville Stars shortstop Jean Segura.
If you’re a person who regularly follows prospects and Minor League news, Jean Segura is a man who needs no introduction. That’s because since the 22 year-old native of the Dominican Republic came to the States as an undrafted free-agent in 2007, he has been blowing people away with his talent.
It’s not just one-dimensional, either. Segura can play multiple infield positions, though his comfort level is highest as shortstop. He’s also got blinding speed around base paths, as evidenced by the 134 stolen bases in the Minors since 2007, including 33 this year in the AA Texas League and 50 in 2010 in the Midwest League.
Topping even that talent is his bat. His career line is .310/.364/.438, with 122 walks drawn and 203 runs batted in. His power doesn’t project to much – he hit a career high ten homers in 2010 with Cedar Rapids in A ball – but scouts marvel at his plate discipline and his ability to make contact (his ability to stretch singles to doubles and doubles to triples notwithstanding).
As Segura climbed the prospect ranks – as high as number two on the Angels list and currently 38th on MLB’s top 100 prospects as of this morning – there was talk of moving the young Segura to the outfield where his parent club could use his speed as a defensive asset and possibly boost his power numbers. The emergence of talent and depth in the Anaheim’s outfield, however, would have blocked him from reaching the Majors in that position. Now it’s up to the Milwaukee Brewers to decide Jean Segura’s future.
That will undoubtedly come at shortstop, a position that Milwaukee has sorely needed both depth and
talent for several seasons. The addition of Segura to the farm system gives Milwaukee an opportunity to fast-track him to the Majors – most likely seeing Major League action late next year – or build a solid future middle infield with Scooter Gennett focusing solely on second base rather than prepping him for utility infield work, where Gennett lacks some of the defensive range to play shortstop.
Segura projects well into the Majors despite his short stature, owing to a good eye at the plate, tremendous speed and defensive versatility. There’s little question that he was the gem of this deal for Milwaukee, and for them the question isn’t so much about if he can pan out as a Brewer, but rather how far his ceiling is going to go.