August 14, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura (9) fields a ball during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
As of this writing we're eight games into the Jean Segura Era, and so far I have to say it's gone reasonably well. Segura has eight hits over eight games (including the Brewers' longest active hitting streak at six games), has driven in four runs and has already been a part of what might be the best double play the Brewers will turn all year. He's still looking for his first MLB extra base hit, walk and stolen base, but so far he doesn't look outmatched at this level.
Over the next couple of months it'll be interesting to see if that continues. The Brewers are taking something of a risk by bringing Segura up and playing him every day at this point: If he struggles down the stretch because he's not prepared for the big leagues it may color fans' opinion of him going forward.
Like many/most/all of you, I'm hoping Segura keeps hitting and playing good defense and locks down the shortstop position for 2013 and the years to come. If he doesn't, though, here are a few reasons not to get too down on him.
He's still really young. Segura is the only member of the 2012 Brewers playing in his age 22 season. He was 22 years and 142 days old when he made his Brewer debut on August 6, making him the youngest position player to appear in a game for the Brewers since Alcides Escobar and Angel Salome debuted on the same day in 2008.
Even that doesn't tell the whole story, though, as both Salome and Escobar were September callups destined to be returned to the minors the following season, in Salome's case never to return. Segura is the youngest position player to make a non-September Brewer debut since Prince Fielder, who was 21 years and 35 days old in his first game in 2005.
Segura is younger than J.J. Hardy (22 years, 228 days), Rickie Weeks (22 years, 271 days), Ryan Braun (23 years, 189 days) and Jonathan Lucroy (23 years, 342 days) were when they made their Brewer debuts. The only current Brewer position players who were in the majors younger than Segura are Aramis Ramirez (19 years, 335 days) and Carlos Gomez (21 years, 160 days).
He's still learning to play shortstop. Over half (222) of Segura's 379 professional games have been played at second base, a position he played in the Angels organization from 2007 until 2011. He moved to shortstop last season but only appeared in 52 games.
Counting nine appearances in the majors this season, Segura has played roughly one full season (145 games) at shortstop. He appears to be more than physically capable of handling the position (enough so to make me wonder why the Angels ever played him at second at all), but there are likely to be times where he leaves something to be desired defensively as he learns.
He's going to play in September for the first time. Here are Segura's career games played by season:
Assuming Segura continues to play eight out of nine days (his current pace) he's going to appear in roughly 41 more games to bring his total up to 151, easily the highest of his career. He's going to be facing the toughest competition he's ever faced while wrapping up the longest season of his life.
Segura has a boatload of talent and I'm hoping he shows it all over the next six weeks as he catapults himself into a long career as a big league shortstop. But if he doesn't, go easy on him. It's possible it'll take him a little while to grow into his potential.