More Jean Segura: The Matchup vs. Bronson Arroyo


There’s not much else to hype up about the 2012 Brewers season, so recent team moves provide us a little excitement that might put us out of the perturbation that classified the month of July.

Okay, maybe more than a little. Monday night’s starter for the Cincinnati Reds–and the first National League pitcher the Brewers new shortstop will ever face–Bronson Arroyo presents  somewhat of an ambiguous, perplexing matchup for the Brewers new shortstop.

Batting eighth tonight, Segura projects himself towards the pitch with a heap of momentum, much like what you’ll see from Dustin Pedroia (without the whole…”Pedroia mechanics”, so to speak). He’s primarily a ground ball hitter with doubles power, hitting grounders 54.3 percent of the time even in rookie ball in 2009. He projects good power for his 160-pound frame, homering 17 times over the last two seasons in single and double A ball (by comparison, I hit one ball out in batting practice as a 155-pound high school junior this summer). He uses is speed to his advantage, keeping his BABIP on grounders above .300 each season in the minors (since 2009).  His line drive percentage has increased from his original 12 percent in rookie ball, but he will have to maintain a higher figure to stay successful for the course of an entire big league season.

But, right now, we’re not focused on his entire season projection.

Bronson Arroyo stays away from the fastball more than almost any National League pitcher. His 35.0 FB percentage is third-lowest in the league, behind only Mark Buehrle of Miami and the Mets’ knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Meanwhile, his curveball percentage is sixth-highest and the veteran right-hander also uses a mixture of a changeup and slider/cutter.

Segura strikes out rarely and Arroyo rarely strikes batters out. The 22-year-old shortstop had a 13.8 K-rate in 94 games in the Texas League while the Reds starters strikes out 5.94 batters per 9 innings. Advantage to Segura, right?

In terms of putting the ball in play, yes. But Arroyo has one of the lowest ground ball rates in the NL at 40.3 percent. His line drive percentage is in the middle of the pack and his HR/FB ratio is 10.6 percent, relatively low for pitchers with higher fly ball rates. Segura relies on putting the ball in play, which matches Arroyo’s style of pitching. But Arroyo will probably try to get Segura out by making him chase and using his aggressiveness against him as he throws a good percentage of his pitches out of the zone. Segura’s best bet is to get a pitch up in the zone and drive it, preferably where it’s pitched, because, generally, when Arroyo puts the ball down he is effective with it.

Arroyo’s first-pitch strike percentage is fifth-highest in the NL, which he finds success with by throwing each pitch in his repertoire, including the kitchen sink, for a strike. Segura won’t be able to go up there and look dead-red, but there isn’t much of a book on him so Arroyo may very well start an at-bat or two with a fastball strike just to get ahead.

If Segura can wait back and drive (easier said than done) the off-speed stuff he’s assured to see from Arroyo, the kid will get his first big league hit in front of the crowd at Miller Park on Monday night.