February 10, 2017
Segura was signed out of the Dominican Republic as an international free agent by the Los Angeles Angels in 2007. We know much of the rest—after being traded at the deadline in 2012 as a headliner in a package for Zack Greinke, Segura made good on his prospect hype in 2013, roto-slashing .294/12/74/49/44. The next two seasons, however, would comparatively be disappointments as Segura failed to post an AVG above .257, a home run total above six, or a stolen base total above 25 in either season (it should be mentioned, sadly, that his nine-month-old son died in July of the 2014 season). Heading into a full-out rebuild in 2016, the Brewers shipped Segura to the Diamondbacks for what they could. This would turn out to be selling low as Segura went on to have his best baseball and fantasy baseball season, accumulating 6.2 WARP over 153 (roto-slash: .319/20/102/64/33).
What Went Right in 2016
As mentioned in the previous sentence, Segura compiled a .319/20/102/64/33 roto-slash, leading the National League in hits with 203, while playing in a career high 153 games and collecting a career high 694 plate appearances. The homers, which were eight higher than his previous career high, were driven by both a career-high fly-ball rate and HR:FB; a trend we saw across the league in 2016. The career best AVG was largely BABIP driven; however, there appeared to be some skill that went into Segura’s 2016 increased BABIP. Segura posted a career low swing rate of 46.6%, which was about what he posted in 2013 (46.9%), but was a significant improvement over 2015 (53.1%). Even better was that Segura swung at a career low 31.4% of pitches outside of the strike zone (previous low: 32.9%). This led to a few more walks (specifically, a 5.6% walk rate), but more led to a lot more hard contact and an increase in pulling the ball, which likely helps explain some of his increased FB%, FB:HR, and BABIP.
Additionally, Segura played 142 games at second base and 21 games at shortstop, giving him multi-positional eligibility last season and in 2017.
What Went Wrong in 2016
From a production standpoint, barely anything went wrong in 2016. His 33 steals did come wit being caught stealing h 10 tomes, but his caught stealing rate has always been in the 18%-24% range, so it does not necessary indicate anything went wrong or portend anything for the future. The biggest thing that went wrong from a fantasy production standpoint fort Segura was that he was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Mariners.
What to Expect in 2017
2017 PROJECTIONS (REST OF SEASON PROJECTIONS - SEASONAL AGE 27)
It appears that PECOTA is looking at Segura’s 2016, his career year to date, and expects it to remain his career year. PECOTA also appears to think that Segura is better than his 2014 and 2015 numbers indicated. If Segura was staying in Arizona, given the his improved swing rate, chase rate, pull rate, and contact, I would have put his projected AVG more in the .280-.285 range and his projected home run total more in the 15-17 range. As they say, “He ain’t playing 82 games in the desert next year;” thus, with the Seattle, this projection seems very solid to me. If I was going to bet the “over” on any of his roto-slash, it would be in runs as the Mariners had a slightly better lineup last year than did the Diamondbacks.
Segura’s current NFBC ADP of 53 appears to be tier related as the Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Jonathan Villar, Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, and Trevor Story are all going (on average) in the top 33 picks, and the next shortstop being taken after Segura is Eduardo Nunez at 116. This is to say that he is currently being slightly overdrafted as I do prefer some of the second basemen currently going after him (or at least the value in taking them later) such as Ian Kinsler (74), D.J. LeMahieu (86), Jason Kipnis (94), and Dustin Pedroia (142!). If he fell more into the 75-100 range, I would happily take Segura, especially if these second basemen are not being underrated.
The Great Beyond
Beyond going through off-the-field tribulations that no one should have to go through, Segura seems to have gone through more ups and downs, and certainly more team changes, than a typical player entering his age-27 season, which is to say that he is younger than we might think. While I, too, believe that 2016 will be his best year (both in real baseball and for fantasy baseball), I think Segura has a lot of solid production left in him and will likely be one of the more consistent, prolific base stealers for at least the next few seasons. There is some risk in his walk rate, but he makes enough contact that there should be playing time for him somewhere for the next handful of years. Lastly, I would expect Segura to only be in Seattle for the next two years as his defense has already shown signs of declining, particularly at shortstop; thus, he will theoretically be more valuable to a team in need of a second baseman, which the Mariners will not (outside of sliding Cano down to first base or DH). Given his previous ups and downs, and his frequently changing contextual factors, there is a good chance that Segura will continue to oscillate between being overrated to underrated for years to come.