If you’re familiar with baseball-reference.com, you’re probably familiar with their player comparisons. If you’re not, the site has “similarity scores” (scale of 0-1,000) which measure how close a players numbers are to another player. These comparisons do not mean a player will become this player, but it does offer a possibility. In this player comps series, I’m going to take some of the Brewers young player,s and look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios (eliminating players who played the majority of their careers before 1960). Today, I will begin with shortstop Jean Segura.
Jean Segura has been a pleasant surprise for Brewers fans. Posting a slash line of .294/.329/.423 and a 3.4 WAR, there is plenty of reason for optimism going forward with the young shortstop. He has shown some power potential as well, and it appears legitimate when you take into account his strong frame. However, there are some glaring issues in his game. He doesn’t have very good plate discipline. He walked in only 4% of his plate appearances, something he’ll have to improve on going forward.
The Optimistic Comparison
Rafael Furcal, similarity score of 965. Most fans know him well. He’s been a solidly above average player for most of his career, and a valuable piece when healthy. While most fans think of him as a slap hitter, he posted double digit home run totals in four straight years during his peak (2003-06). Segura has more power potential than Furcal had, so there’s even more upside there. Furcal was also a prolific base stealer, posting a career high 46 steals in 2005. Overall, if Segura was Furcal with better health, Brewers fans should be satisfied. Personally, I think Segura has more offensive potential than Furcal, particularly in the power department.
The Pessimistic Comparison
Angel Berroa, similarity score of 968. Some fans might remember Angel Berroa as the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year. That year he posted a slash line of .287/.338/.451 and a 2.7 WAR. Pretty good for a rookie, overall. That would be Berroa’s one and only productive season. His measly 4.6% walk rate would be taken advantage of. After swinging at 29.4% of pitches outside the strikezone in 2003, that total would increase to 45.5% by 2007. His walk rate would fall even further to 2.8% in both 2005 and 2006. He has not appeared in the Major Leagues since 2009.
I think Segura is more Furcal than Berroa. Segura’s bat control is unlike many in Major League Baseball. Even though he does need to improve his plate discipline, he is able to hit pitches will solid authority that aren’t strikes. His power potential also makes me optimistic going forward. He probably will never be anything more than slightly above average defensively at shortstop, but his bat should carry him at the position. Overall, Brewers fan should feel good about the future of Jean Segura, even if he doesn’t become a superstar, he should be an above average players for years to come.