August 14, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura (9) fields a ball during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Breakout Brewers of 2013: Jean Segura

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Jean Segura, the 22-year-old shortstop and feature piece of the Zack Greinke deal that worked out so well for the Angels, appeared in 44 games over the final two months of 2012, totaling 148 at bats–18 too many to maintain his rookie status for 2013.

Though holes in Segura’s game were clearly evident in his rookie campaign, it was a primarily positive stint; he followed up a .264/.321/.331 season by winning the battle title in the Dominican Winter League (or Liga de Béisbol Dominicano, for our Spanish-indulging audience). Segura hit .324 in 148 at-bats, coincidentally the same number of AB’s he posted as a Brewer this summer.

Segura flashed no signs of power at the plate with the Brewers and by no means expect him to ever be a 15-homer guy, but he slugged over .426 for los Gigantes del Cibao in the winter league. In 35 games, he hit two homers, which is something he has yet to do as a big leaguer.

Sound hitting, speed, and defense make up Segura’s game and he showed signs of them all as a rookie.

As he gained consistent playing time, Segura’s bat woke up. The Dominican Republican native hit .309 and had an OPS of .785 over September and October as the Brewers made a late postseason push. Segura’s consistently above-average play, something the Brewers had lacked since Alex Gonzalez’s injury the first week of May, was one of the reasons for the #BREWlieve run that put Milwaukee within two games of St. Louis for the final Wild Card spot at one point. Major League pitching didn’t overwhelm Segura, as he struck out in 12.9% of plate appearances He won’t dazzle anyone at the plate, but has more than enough capability to be a middle-to-upper tier hitting shortstop in the National League.

Time and time again, the speed of little Jose Segura (sorry, Tom H, I had to) was arguably the most impressive part of his game. He stole seven bases in eight attempts and legged out three triples. His BsR (base running runs above average) was 1.6, good for fourth on the entire team, more than Norichika Aoki and his thirty steals. On August 29 against Chicago, Segura stole second, advanced to third on a Wellington Castillo throwing error, then, after sliding head-first into third, instinctively scampered home in time after a Luis Valbuena error. The reverent Bill James projects 35 stolen bases for 2013.

Segura, a longtime second baseman, has adjusted to becoming a shortstop fairly well, especially considering he was thrust into a major league infield at a relatively new position. He has the arm and range to become an elite defensive shortstop for the Brewers. Segura made one of the plays of the year for the Brewers, fully extending his left to snag a sharp liner. Thank you based Jean Segura. (Also thank you based Jaymes Langrehr of Disciples of Uecker and BrewGIFs for the multimedia awesomeness. You may have to click on the image to view the gif.)

The Brewers reassured their faith in Segura by laying off the free agent shortstops, including Stephen Drew, Yuni B, Ronny Cedeno, and the kinda-sorta-was-a-Brewer Alex Gonzalez. We’ve seen what has happened when Segura is given playing time: an outstanding September/October and a winter league batting title.

The speed will continue to be a threat, the defense will improve, and (hopefully) the bat will, too. Jean Segura, your 2013 Breakout Brewer number two.

 

 

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