After the 2013 season, I couldn’t wait to watch Jean Segura mature into a professional baseball player. After finishing the season with 42 extra base hits, 44 stolen bases, and a .294 batting average, not to mention a WAR of 3.9, one can see my adulation.
Then, came the 2014 season. Instead of taking the next step as a Major League shortstop, Segura took a step in the wrong direction. Instead of being the spark plug at the top of the order, he was reduced to being a liability in the bottom of the lineup. Last season saw his numbers dip to 25 extra base hits, 20 stolen bases, a batting average of .246, and a WAR of 0.6, in the same amount of games played.
Last season was not without adversity for Segura, however. He failed to agree with an extension in spring training, he dealt with a freak injury when he was hit in the head with a bat on the dugout steps, and he dealt with personal tragedy. After the death of his 9 month old son in early July, no one knew what to expect when he returned to the team.
With the trade of Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers earlier this week, the Brewers received a highly touted shortstop in return, in Luis Sardinas. Sardinas played 43 games for the Rangers last season, stealing 5 out of 6 bases, and having a batting average of .261. Teddy Cahill, from mlb.com, listed Sardinas as the number 9 shortstop in the minor leagues, before last season. He is Major League ready and could push for Segura’s spot, should Segura slump again this season. Plus, it is always nice to have a switch hitter on the team for late game situations.
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So, which Jean Segura will we see this season? The one that led him to be a National League All-Star shortstop, only the fourth Brewers shortstop to make the All-Star game in franchise history (J.J. Hardy, 2007; Jose Hernandez, 2002; Robin Yount, 1980, 1982-1983) according to mlb.com, or the one that sees him batting eighth in the lineup?
After Rickie Weeks became an All-Star in 2011, he has struggled to bat his weight since and now has the possibility of being out of baseball entirely. I fear that Jean Segura could be heading down the same path, but I haven’t given up hope quite yet. Jean managed to post a .319/.364/.389 batting line in September, while it seemed everyone else around him fell into the tank. Hopefully this is a reflection of the Jean Segura we see in 2015.