Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Safe or Short Leash: Jean Segura

Starting Utility Player 1:

Jean Segura:

Pros:

Segura is still very young (24 by opening day) and in theory should continue to get better as he gains more experience. His blistering hot start to the 2013 season was one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a forgettable Brewers seasons. Within those couple of months, it was made very clear that the Brewers were resounding winners in the Zack Greinke trade.

In a position with scarce offensive resource, Segura provided good returns in average and is also a strong asset in the stolen base category. This should continue in 2014 as he has a manager in Ron Roenicke that will give runners the green light to steal bases (which frustrates me at times as a fan but should be helpful to people with Segura on their fantasy team).


Cons:

While Segura was really, really good in the first half, he was really, really bad in the second half, like .583 OPS bad. While they say speed never goes in a slump, the entire second half like this does raise some red flags on whether part of last year's performance is sustainable going forward and if the league figured out Segura and his aversion to taking walks (25 in 623 plate appearances last year). His minor league track record indicates that he may have overachieved in the power department but this could be a case of power developing as he gets older.

I'm confident that the stolen bases should still be there but the home run production is likely to be in the 6-8 range and I think the batting average drops off somewhat.

Comparative Analysis:

His most similar player through age 23 was Lonny Frey. I'm not sure what precedent reviewing players from the 1930s relates to today's world but he did have a solid age 24 season .262/.352/.437 112 OPS+ 11 HRs so maybe there is hope that his bad second half was just a slump and not a preview of things to come.

Frey may have not put up superstar numbers after the age of 23 but he did have a decade worth of production in him. If Segura puts up an average around .280 and has similar power, OPS+ numbers I would be relatively happy both as a fantasy owner and fan. Still, as the season starts Segura is definitely going to be on the short leash.