Apr 11, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers shortstopJean Segura
(9) jumps over Pittsburgh Pirates second basemanNeil Walker
(18) after completing a double play in the second inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Prior to the Brewers acquisition of Jean Segura in July of 2012, shortstop had been a position of weakness within the system. This was magnified at the major league level where the Brewers entered the 2012 season with veteran Alex Gonzalez slotted to fill the role. Throughout the season fans saw many attempt but few succeed in the role. From Cesar Izturis to Cody Ransom to Jeff Bianchi to Gonzalez, the Brewers were unable to fill the position adequately. Enter Segura, acquired with Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena for Zack Greinke, Segura spent little time at Double A Huntsville before joining the Brewers for the final 43 games of 2012. 2013 was even better where Segura established himself as an National League All-Star and a building block for the Brewers long-term. At 24 years old Segura gives the Brewers stability and a long term answer at one of baseball’s most crucial positions.
Hector Gomez fills the shortstop position at Nashville for the Triple A Sounds. Gomez was once thought of as a top prospect within the Rockies system, ranking in their Top 10 from 2008-11 according to Baseball America. However, following injuries throughout the 2012 season Gomez was released by the Rockies and later claimed by the Brewers. The career .258 hitter struggled in Hunstville in 2013 offensively, batting .196 in 368 at bats. Now in Triple A, 2014 is a crucial season to see if Gomez is really a contender for a roster spot in the future or a pretender.
In Huntsville, 25 year-old Nick Shaw has manned the position thus far in 2014. While his age is advanced for the level, Shaw has some plus stats on his resume, led by his versatility. Throughout his career, Shaw has played in over 200 games at both second base and shortstop. This profile allows Shaw to project at worst as a Jeff Bianchi type bench player moving forward. However, fans should note that Shaw is a disciplined hitter who’s on-base percentage for his career is .371, over 100 points higher than his batting average thanks to great walk totals.
Yadiel Rivera has long been thought of as a “top prospect” at the position since he burst onto the scene in 2010. The Brevard County shortstop was labeled by Baseball America the Brewers best defensive infielder again in 2014, an honor he also received in 2013. With his defensive prowess well known throughout baseball, Brewers officials have hoped that his offense would progress. However, Rivera has continued to show little improvement entering today hitting .186. With a defensive profile that is major league ready, the career .235 hitter needs to show better plate discipline if he wants to ascend within the Brewers system.
In Appleton the Timber Rattlers feature Puerto Rican born Angel Ortega at shortstop. At 20 years-old Ortega’s body of work is small but he has gotten good reviews for his defense so far.
It seems that throughout baseball the shortstop position is going through a makeover. The names are changing from Andrelton Simmons to Xander Bogaerts to Jean Segura, baseball future is bright at the position. With a 24 year-old All Star, the Brewers should feel good about thier future at the position as well.