By David Heck, Special to CBS Local Sports
CBS Local Sports will be profiling one young player from each Major League Baseball team every day for the next 30 days as part of our “30 Players 30 Days” spring training feature.
Jean Segura, Shortstop, Milwaukee Brewers
2012 season: 44 G, 148 AB, .264 BA, 0 HR, 19 R, 7 SB, .652 OPS
When an organization decides to rent out a star player, it can often receive just cents on the dollar – no team is going to trade a lot for three months’ worth of one player, especially when that teams simply has to provide more value than draft pick compensation would. But when the Brewers decided to deal impeding free agent Zack Greinke last year, they actually got a decent return: namely, Jean Segura.
A longtime Angels prospect, Segura suffered an injury-riddle 2011 season that partially derailed his prospect status. But he came back strong in 2012, playing in 146 total games as he rose from Double-A to the Major Leagues. That quick rise up the ladder is part of the reason for his lackluster stats in the Majors. Segura has only had 19 career at-bats at Triple-A, and those came all the way back in 2009.
But even though Segura left something to be desired in the big leagues, his 2012 was undoubtedly a success. In 102 games at Double-A, he hit .304 with seven homers, 37 steals in 50 attempts and a .771 OPS. The number that stands out there is obviously the steals; Segura has great speed and baserunning instincts, which should translate well to the Majors. The 23-year-old’s seven steals in eight attempts for the Brewers last year show that he’s already prepared to be one of the league’s better thieves.
Segura has other offensive strengths as well. He’s doesn’t have a ton of power, but it’s enough to be average for a shortstop. He can also rack up base hits; in 399 career minor league games, he put together an impressive .313 batting average. Segura’s patience has fluctuated in the minors, but his 7.8% walk rate in the Majors last year was around league average – something that takes on extra importance for a base-stealer.
In the long-term, Segura could be a Brewers fixture at shortstop for the next few years. A middle infielder who can hit for average, get on base and steal bases provides plenty of value, especially for a Milwaukee franchise that won’t be producing a shortstop from its minor league system anytime soon. The last time the Brewers had a big-time shortstop prospect – Alcides Escobar – they dealt him for Zack Greinke. In trading Greinke away, they filled the hole that they created to get him in the first place.
Next up on March 2: Boston Red Sox