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Milwaukee Brewers Better Served to Shut Down Jean Segura?

September 22nd, 2013 at 3:04 PM
By Phil Watson

All-Star shortstop Jean Segura hasn’t played since leaving in the first inning of Wednesday’s victory over the Chicago Cubs with a strained right hamstring.

The question with eight days remaining on the schedule: Should the Milwaukee Brewers simply shut Segura down? There were concerns earlier in September about Segura’s fatigue level (as discussed here) after the 23-year-old had played a full winter ball schedule last year, followed by the most games and plate appearances of his young professional career in 2013.

Manager Ron Roenicke told MLB.com on Friday that the team wouldn’t play Segura if there were worries about the hamstring, but said he didn’t expect there to be a problem moving into the final week of play.

“If the hamstring doesn’t come around, [not playing the rest of the season] is obviously a possibility,” Roenicke said. “But I’m expecting it to come around a little faster than that. If it does, we’ll get him back out there.”

Roenicke said, however, they were not going to put Segura at risk in order to get him more playing time.

The youngster is leading the National League with 44 stolen bases and is tied for the league lead with 10 triples, along with Denard Span of the Washington Nationals and Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Segura would be the first Brewer to lead the National League in stolen bases since Scott Podsednik stole 70 bases for the Crew in 2004. Eric Young of the New York Mets currently trails Segura by four swipes.

The young shortstop’s name dots the leaderboard in other areas, however. He is second in the NL with 131 singles, sixth with 173 hits, eighth with 584 at-bats and ninth with an 18.9 power-speed ratio (Carlos Gomez lead the league at 26.5).

Segura is also third on the club and 10th in the National League with 7.0 at-bats per strikeouts. Norichika Aoki is second at 14.1 and Jonathan Lucroy is eighth at 7.7.

It seems to make sense that, if there were concerns a week or so ago about Segura’s fatigue level, not playing him over the final week would be a reasonable and prudent way to go. Jeff Bianchi has played shortstop in the three games that Segura has missed so far.

Bianchi was initially drafted as a shortstop by the Kansas City Royals in 2005 and spent 380 of his 535 minor-league games at the position, although he has played more third base (48 games) than shortstop (26 games) in his two seasons with the Crew.

Interestingly, Bianchi is 10th in the National League in defensive wins above replacement at 1.8 despite being a part-time player.

But Bianchi is also nowhere near the dynamic force offensively that Segura is. In 223 plate appearances, Bianchi is hitting .240/.276/.288 with eight doubles, a triple, no homers and 23 RBI to go with three stolen bases in six attempts.

Segura, on the other hand, is at .296/.331/.426 in 619 plate appearances and has scored 74 runs while reaching double figures in each extra-base hit category (20 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs) and has driving in 49 runs while successfully stealing 44 bases in 57 attempts.

But he has slumped badly since the All-Star break, hitting just .245/.273/.321 in 222 plate appearances with nine doubles, two triples, one homer and 13 RBI. After posting an .849 OPS in the first half, Segura’s second-half OPS is just .593.

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Tags: hamstring, Jean Segura, Jeff Bianchi, Milwaukee, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB

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