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April 30, 2013

Painting the Black

Segura and Sound

by R.J. Anderson


Is it news when a general manager calls one of his players underrated? Should it be? Brewers GM Doug Melvin voiced concerns to Jayson Stark last week about the national coverage of Jean Segura. "I see people talk about the [Jurickson] Profars and even the Dee Gordons," Melvin said. "But they never talk about him. He's an exciting player." Putting aside Melvin's obvious vested interest in Segura, let's give the man what he wants by highlighting his shortstop.

Segura is indeed an exciting player. The 23-year-old is the youngest standout on a surprisingly fun Milwaukee roster. His .349/.386/.470 line entering play on Monday translated into the fifth-best True Average amongst shortstops with 50-plus plate appearances, and his stellar play is one of the causes behind the Brewers' recent surge. Why then is Segura overlooked in favor of the world's supply of Profars and even the Gordons? Presumably due to a combination of three reasons: 1) He plays in Milwaukee; 2) He lacks the elite ceiling of Profar; and 3) He lacks an elite tool, unlike Gordon. What Segura has—a wide and deep skill set—is more than enough to make up for those perceived flaws.

Although Segura's game centers around putting the ball in play, his approach is nuanced beyond swinging at everything, and he shows pitch and strike-zone recognition that hint at potential walk-rate growth. Segura's tremendous ability to put the bat on the ball may cancel out the need to take more free passes. He does not need to focus on a small portion of the zone and can often hit the ball where it's pitched. At times this means expanding the zone, which often carries a negative connotation. There are plenty of scenarios, however, where going with a pitch that's off the plate is a reasonable act.

Segura's bat is bullet-train fast and his barrel reaches its destination in a hasty manner, leading to quality contact. Above-average-to-plus speed adds another dimension to his game, and allows him to convert sub-par contact into hits. Unsurprisingly Segura leads the National League in infield hits so far this season. The speed continues to play once he reaches base, and he's tallied

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Related Content:  Andrelton Simmons,  Jean Segura

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (04/30)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Painting the Black: Ex... (04/23)
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Painting the Black: Si... (05/01)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: Explainin... (04/30)

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