Leadoff Candidate: Jean Segura
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Milwaukee Brewers are in need of a leadoff hitter after trading Norichika Aoki to the Kansas City Royals. Manager Ron Roenicke specified Carlos Gomez, Scooter Gennett, and Jean Segura as possible replacements, assuming Rickie Weeks isn’t in the picture. I already wrote about how I believe Gomez is more valuable in the middle of the order than in the leadoff spot. That narrows the candidates down to two – Gennett and Segura.
Let’s talk about Segura.
In 2013, Segura’s first full professional season, he batted .294/.329/.423, hitting mainly behind Aoki. He led off for the Brewers just twice but saying Segura has no experience as a leadoff hitter is, while true, pointless. At 23, he’s inexperienced in everything.
Because of his lack of experience, Segura struggled with consistency and his production fell off a cliff in the second half of the season.
The chart above clearly shows a tale of two halves. Across the board, Segura’s statistics took a dip and fatigue played a role. In late August, he admitted to feeling tired but still refused days off.
Aside from the vastly different splits, what troubles me the most about Segura as a leadoff hitter is his lack of walks. In 623 plate appearances in 2013, he walked only 25 times. That is almost unheard of and until he starts walking more, it could ultimately be his downfall as a leadoff hitter.
Segura has the speed and quickness to hit at the top of the order. He accumulated 38 infield hits, second-most in MLB behind Aoki. Segura also stole 44 bases and according to BaseballProspectus.com, he is a little above average when it comes to running the bases. With time, his BBR (Base Running Runs) which measures a player’s contributions on the basepaths, will improve.
While Segura would be a better leadoff hitter than Gomez, he still has flaws. Another long slump as the leadoff man will cause the Brewers offense to suffer. He must learn patience at the plate and draw more walks.
That being said, Segura may be the only one that make sense in the leadoff role.