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May 16, 2013

On the Beat

The Most Improved Players

by John Perrotto


It’s too bad for Jean Segara that there isn’t an award for the Most Improved Player in the major leagues. The Brewers shortstop would be the early favorite. However, Segura is at least going to be able to settle for a spot on the National League team in the All-Star Game with the way he has played his first 37 games.

Segura is hitting .349/.392/.575 in 158 plate appearances with seven home runs and 13 stolen bases. That has been good for 2.1 WARP. Last season, after being acquired from the Angels along with two other prospects in the Zack Greinke trade, Segura held his own in making the jump from Double-A to the major leagues but gave no portend of quickly blossoming into a star player. He played at replacement-player level—0.0 WARP—while hitting .264/.321/.331 in 163 plate appearances with no homers and seven steals.

"What you see from him this year, he's doing everything right; we didn't see that player last year,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “This is a great player. This is a guy that I don't want to ever take him out of the lineup. I keep talking about how I want to get him a day off, and he plays so well I can't take him out, and he doesn't want out. He's one of the best players in the league."

Like any young player traded for the first time, Segura did not know what to expect when he got the news last July that he had been traded. However, he knew that the Angels had shortstop Erick Aybar under contract for 2016, blocking his path to a starting job. Then, after playing just eight games for Double-A Huntsville, Segura got the call to the major leagues. Now, the Brewers are so happy with Segura that they have had very preliminary discussions with his agent about a long-term contract extension. At 23, Segura doesn’t know much about contract negotiations, but he is flattered the Brewers would like him to be part of their future.

“Sometimes trades can be good for a young player like me, and it has worked out really well with the Brewers,” Segura said. “They have given me a chance to play in the major leagues. That’s been my dream all of my life. I have very good teammates. The management has been nice to me. I like playing for the Brewers, and it makes me feel good that they think they might want me to be here for a long time.”

The most surprisingly aspect of Segura’s start this season has been his power. In addition to not hitting any home runs last season at the major-league level, he went deep just 26 times in 1,755 minor-league plate appearances, though he slugged .439.

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<< Previous Article
The Stats Go Marching ... (05/16)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article On the Beat: No-Hittin... (05/09)
Next Column >>
Premium Article On the Beat: The Optim... (05/23)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: The M... (05/16)

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