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Jean Segura will take the next step in 2013.
Biggest Surprise: Jean Segura
Acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the Zack Greinke trade, 22-year-old shortstop Jean Segura will flourish in his first full season of major league action.
After a slow start to his Brewers career where he struggled to hit .200 for the first month or so, Segura finished the 2012 season hitting .264 in 44 games for the Brewers with no homers, 14 RBI and a .321 on-base percentage.
He flashed his potential at the plate in the Dominican Winter League, winning the batting title after hitting .324 (48 for 148) with two home runs, 21 RBI, a .379 on-base percentage and 11 stolen bases, second in the league.
As a complimentary bat at the bottom of Milwaukee's lineup, Segura's ability to get on base, coupled with his speed, will find him in scoring position more often than not when Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee's leadoff batter, comes to the plate.
Biggest Disappointment: Mat Gamel
A torn ACL bought Mat Gamel's 2012 season to an abrupt halt after only 21 games, but Milwaukee didn't miss a beat, sliding Corey Hart into the vacancy at first base.
With Hart sidelined with his own knee injury, Gamel is assured of starting the 2013 season as Milwaukee's first baseman once again.
His shortened season was unimpressive, posting a .246/.293/.348 slash line with one home run, six RBI, and nearly four times as many strikeouts (15) as walks (four).
There will be significant rust for him to work out in spring training, something assistant GM Gord Ash noted when he spoke to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The only thing Gamel hasn't done yet is get on a field and play," said Ash. "In terms of his health, he's ready to go. He won't run as much in the spring, just to be careful. He was going to try to play a little outfield which he still will do. Maybe dabble at third base from time to time. He's going to focus mainly on first base.
Trying him out at different positions makes sense, as Hart will reclaim the first base job upon his return.
But between the rust and his unimpressive career numbers in nearly 270 major league plate appearances—a .229/.305/.367 slash line with 19 extra-base hits and 26 RBI—there's no reason to expect that something is suddenly going to click for the 27-year-old Gamel.