Jean Segura has been everything the Milwaukee Brewers had hoped for and more when they acquired him last summer. The 23-year-old shortstop is batting .303 with 12 home runs and 40 runs batted in – and that includes a dismal second half.
Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, recently wrote about how Segura is starting to feel the effects of a 162-game season and suggested that as a possible reason for his second half slump. It makes sense. This is Segura’s first full season in the big leagues and his body isn’t used to the everyday grind.
Besides consistency (that’ll come), there are two other aspects to his game he needs to improve on to make him a better player.
Segura has an on-base percentage of .334 which obviously means, he gets on base a ton. In fact, he has the third-highest OBP among shortstops. Not bad, right? But what if I were to tell you he has only walked 23 times all season? Having a .334 OBP while only walking 3.9% of the time seems absurd and is what makes Segura such a dynamic player. Yet, think about how high it would be if he started walking more. It’d be in the stratosphere.
It’s hard to walk when you’re down in the count right away, and Segura usually is. Pitchers throw him a first pitch strike 61.6% of the time. However, some of the fault lies with Segura who loves lunching on the first pitch. His strikeout rate is fine (13.4%) but he has swung at 33.5% of balls outside of the strike zone. Not terrible, but there’s room for improvement.
Segura needs to develop the knack of being more selective at the plate and getting into deeper counts. With that, he will walk more and his already great OBP will skyrocket.
Line Drive Percentage
Segura has a difficult time hitting line drives as evidenced by his low line drive percentage (18%). Only 14 players have a lower percentage, mostly because Segura hits more ground balls than any other player in baseball besides Norichika Aoki. He has hit 277 grounders to only 84 line drives – that’s not really the ratio you want to see from a No. 2 hitter.
Don’t get me wrong, if Segura continues to hit for a high average on ground balls (currently batting .289), then raising his line drive percentage becomes moot. However, a lot of his hits never leave the infield (38) and even though he has speed to burn, you can expect that number to drop next season.
Segura can be a career .320 hitter if he starts hitting more liners because he has a .663 average when he does.
Before you blast me and and complain that I’m picking on an All-Star, realize that I know Segura is having a wonderful season. All I’m saying is that he has the ability and opportunity to be a whole lot better. He’s that talented.