Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura has had a memorable first full season in the big leagues. He made his first All-Star Game, is leading the National League with 40 stolen bases, is tied for second with nine triples, is third in the NL with 167 hits and leads all shortstops in the league with a .301 batting average.
Since the All-Star break, Segura is hitting just .251/.275/.322 with one homer and 10 RBI. That was after a first half during which he was at .325/.363/.487 with 11 homers, 36 RBI and eight triples.
Part of the problem is just plain old fatigue. Segura has played a ton of baseball over the last couple of years.
In 2012, Segura played in 11 spring training games with the Los Angeles Angels, 94 games with Double-A Arkansas in the Texas League, eight games with Double-A Huntsville in the Southern League, one game with the Los Angeles Angels and 44 with the Brewers.
He went on to play 35 games in the Dominican Winter League, where he won the batting title with a .324 average.
That was followed by 21 spring training games for the Brewers this spring, an All-Star Game appearance and 137 of the team’s 142 games in the regular season, including 134 starts.
That’s a lot of baseball.
For his part, Segura is torn on whether or not to play at home this winter.
“It’s good for young guys to play in that league,” Segura told MLB.com. “At the same time, my future is going to be over here in the major leagues, not in winter ball … it’s a tough decision.”
The Brewers would be wise to ask Segura to take a bit of a break this winter. It’s been obvious that he’s not been the same dynamic player in the second half of this season.
The team hasn’t decided, or at least isn’t saying if it has decided, whether or not to ask Segura to sit out this winter.
“I think it’s safe to say that when the time comes, we’ll make that decision,” said assistant general manager Gord Ash. “We haven’t discussed it internally yet.”
Segura has kept his average above .300 and would be just the second Brewer shortstop to top the .300 mark with enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. The only other one was Hall of Famer Robin Yount, who hit .331 in 1982 on his way to the Most Valuable Player award and followed that up with a .308 mark in 1983. Yount was a .300 hitter four other times in his career, 1986-89, but that was after he was moved to the outfield.
Segura hit .367/.418/.567 in April and .345/.373/.538 in May. Since then, he’s been a bit more down-to-earth: .277/.296/.429 in June, .281/.327/.354 in July and .252/.271/.313 in August. So far in September, Segura is hitting .261 with one extra-base hit in 26 plate appearances.
While understanding the national pride involved for Latin American players with regard to playing in their home countries over the winter, Segura has put a lot of mileage on his body over the last two seasons. Perhaps the best thing for him before reporting to spring training next February would be to take some time to recharge the batteries and come out swinging in 2014.
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