Ranking Jean Segura Among MLB's Best Shortstops

Zak SchmollAnalyst IMay 21, 2013

Ranking Jean Segura Among MLB's Best Shortstops

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    Jean Segura is one of the best stories in Major League Baseball this year. He only appeared in 45 games last season and was admittedly very mediocre.

    He hit .258 with no home runs, 14 RBI and seven stolen bases. Obviously, that is not terrible for a 22-year-old rookie, but it is not exactly mind blowing either.

    This season, he has broken out in a major way.

    Through 40 games, he is hitting .361 with seven home runs, 20 RBI and 14 stolen bases. He is on pace for a pretty ridiculous season if he can keep it up.

    That is really the question. Is Jean Segura for real? How well does he matchup with his peers?

    Here is how I’m going to try to evaluate that.

    In baseball as you all know, there are five main tools that matter for position players. You need to be able to hit for average, hit for power, field, throw and run. I am going to try to rank the top 10 shortstops in each of these areas although I am going to put fielding and throwing together. I realize that they are entirely different skills, but they often complement each other.

    Ideally, that would be able to help all of us get some idea of where Jean Segura stacks up against other MLB shortstops.

Hitting for Average

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    1. 2013 batting average – Obviously it matters.

    2. Career batting average – Was this year simply an aberration in either direction?

    By looking at the combination of these two criteria, these players emerged as the top 10 shortstops who have hit for average this season and throughout their careers.

    The Ranking (2013 Average, Career Batting Average):

    1. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (.333, .294)

    2. Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs (.273, .295)

    3. Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox (.280, .276)

    4. Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers (.355, .309)

    5. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers (.276, .275)

    6. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians (.237, .276)

    7. Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals (.263, .270)

    8. Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres (.264, .244)

    9. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies (.257, .270)

    10. Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers (.320, .266)

    How I Placed Jean Segura:

    Obviously, his numbers are far above anybody else’s on this list. However, he had a difficult time adjusting to Major League baseball last season, and right now, his almost unsustainable .355 average right now is driving that career number way up.

    Shortstop is not full of contact hitters right now, and I think that Segura will remain in this upper echelon.

Hitting for Power

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    1. 2013 slugging percentage -- It helps account for extra base hit power.

    2. Career average slugging percentage – Again, it helps limit the power of one outlying performance.

    The two criteria are trying to balance home run power and gap power. I thought about including home runs as a separate category, but because they are indeed included in the calculation of slugging percentage, I decided to keep it simple. However, even though it is not a formal criteria, in the case of an approximate tie, home run power does take precedence because it takes more power than extra-base hits.

    The Ranking (2013 slugging percentage, career average slugging percentage):

    1. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (.580, .508)

    2. JJ Hardy, Baltimore Orioles (.427, .427)

    3. Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals (.473, .429)

    4. Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers (.467, .424)

    5. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies (.398, .431)

    6. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians (.417, .416)

    7. Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers (.566, .451)

    8. Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics (.439, .420)

    9. Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs (.388, .422)

    10. Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves (.381, .399)

    How I Placed Jean Segura:

    Again, you might wonder why I’ve put him in a lower position. Essentially, when you look at his statistics, he does not hit very many home runs. Most of his hits that inflate slugging percentage are doubles and triples.

    He’s doing a very good job, but I think that he is not a ridiculous power hitter in the purest sense of the word although he is showing potential this season.

Fielding and Throwing

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    1. 2013 fielding percentage – I know it is imperfect, but it is at least a starting point.

    2. 2012 Fielding Bible rankings – An excellent third-party source with a compilation of solid opinions.

    This is a difficult area to quantify, so while these two criteria are very helpful, I warn you ahead of time that there will be some subjectivity in this ranking.

    The Ranking (2013 fielding percentage, 2012 Fielding Bible rankings)

    1. Brendan Ryan, Seattle Mariners (.978, 99)

    2. Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves (1.000, N/A)

    3. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (.994, N/A)

    4. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers (.994, 50)

    5. JJ Hardy, Baltimore Orioles (.985, 78)

    6. Zach Cozart, Cincinnati Reds (.987, 48)

    7. Stephen Drew, Boston Red Sox (.992, N/A)

    8. Adeiny Hechavarria, Miami Marlins (.991, N/A)

    9. Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers (.975, N/A)

    10. Pete Kozma, St. Louis Cardinals (.995, N/A)

    How I Placed Jean Segura:

    While he has had a few difficult seasons that forced down his fielding percentage in the minors, he has shown that he is a pretty solid fielder so far this season. He is not quite as flashy as some of the other players on this list, but he is doing a good job.

    Again, this is a somewhat subjective measure because fielding is a largely unquantified area of the game, but he should continue to improve. 


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    1. 2013 stolen bases – One solid indicator of speed.

    2. 2013 range runs - I am taking this statistic from FanGraphs, it helps provide some idea of how well the player moves around the field.

    These two criteria will hopefully provide a basis for explaining how well a player runs the bases and runs in the field. It would be really nice if this was like the NFL Combine and we had sprint times, but we do not have that luxury.

    The Ranking (2013 stolen bases, 2013 range runs)

    1. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers (12, 4.3)

    2. Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres (18, 0.8)

    3. Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers (14, -0.8)

    4. Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers (5, -1.1)

    5. Pedro Florimon, Minnesota Twins (5, 3.9)

    6. Alexi Ramirez, Chicago White Sox (7, 2.4)

    7. Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals (8, 1.8)

    8. Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays (5, -1.6)

    9. Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals (4, 1.9)

    10. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies (4, 1.9)

    How I Placed Jean Segura:

    Obviously, he is doing a great job stealing bases, and he has done this throughout his minor league career. It is hard to teach speed, and even though stolen base technique is an imperfect measure, his consistently high performance seems a solid indicator.

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