Name: Jean Segura
Notable 2011 Stats: .281/.337/.422 with 9 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 26/15 K/BB, and 18-for-24 SB in 44 games with Inland Empire (High-A)
Why He’s This High: Segura is a dynamic middle-infield talent who has a broad base of offensive skills. The first thing that jumps out is his speed, as he stole a base nearly every other game this year after swiping 50 in 2010.
Segura has always hit for solid averages, and his strikeout rates reflect that, as he’s been between 11% and 14% in that stat his whole career. He doesn’t work a ton of walks, but he does enough there to keep his K/BB rates on the good side of 2/1. Between his low strikeout rates, decent walk rates, and good speed, he should be able to get on base at a large enough clip to project as a top-of-the-order hitter.
While he’s not a huge power threat, Segura has a career .133 Isolated Power, so he’s got enough to keep pitchers honest with him. Obviously, there aren’t that many middle infielders with 20-HR power, so it’s far from a prerequisite for having a good career.
Why He’s This Low: Segura missed much of 2011 with a hamstring injury, which cost him valuable development time. In particular, it’s still up in the air how he’s going to do defensively. A good defender at second base, Segura was moved to shortstop in the 2010-11 offseason, and it remains unclear if he’s going to become a solid defender at that position. Of course, second base is the worst-case scenario for him, so Segura likely won’t be forced to a position where he’ll need to profile for more power, but still, it would be a significant plus if he could stay at shortstop.
When he did play in 2011, Segura wasn’t all that impressive. Sure, a 281/.337/.422 line in High-A is fine for a 21-year-old middle infielder, but it is the Cal League, where just about anybody can but up big numbers, so it’s hard to get particularly excited about how he followed up after a big year in Low-A (.313/.365/.464).
It’s also a bad sign to see a speed-oriented player dealing with major hamstring issues at this stage.
Conclusions: Segura is a prospect without that much downside. After all, he can definitely play a good second base, and he has a decent chance at becoming a good shortstop. At either position, he doesn’t need to exhibit huge power or plate discipline or hit .300 to hold his own offensively.
He projects as a player who can hit nearly .300 with some walks and doubles while contributing in the speed-and-defense areas. His skillset should translate well to the upper levels, since he has shown the ability to make good contact, he has some control of the strike zone, and he has enough power that he won’t be exposed by upper-level pitching. Therefore, there aren’t any red flags concerning his future projection.
That said, Segura isn’t a big guy, and he’s not suddenly going to morph into a bigtime power threat. Therefore, he’s likely to be more in the Alexei Ramirez/Yunel Escobar class of sub-elite shortstops, and his upside is somewhat limited.
He should be an above-average player at one of the middle infield positions, but probably is just short of an All-Star. First, though, he’ll need to turn in a full 2012 season to really cement his prospect status–right now, most of his value is simply residual from his big 2010.
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