Phillies 2019 season preview: Shortstop Jean Segura
Jean Segura has been a steady force since 2016, and played the best defense of his career in 2019. Can he maintain this for the Phillies?
The Phillies acquired Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, and James Pazos from the Mariners in exchange for J.P. Crawford and Carlos Santana this past December.
In my opinion, this acquisition was the best/most important one that the Phillies made this offseason.
This trade set the wheels in motion for the rest of the offseason, making a statement that the Phillies were finished waiting for potential players to develop into stars. They wanted stars now, and saw an open window for sustainable success, with Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins to lead the way. Finding a player that added consistency to the lineup and the infield was crucial.
Last season, Segura led the Mariners in hits, runs, and batting average, hitting above .300 for the third straight year (.304), and stealing 20 bases or more for the sixth straight year.
In his second All-Star season, Segura improved his defense, increasing his worth in runs by 15 from 2017, which was good for third-best among shortstops in the league. While errors were still a problem for him in 2018, he finished with the 10th highest defensive-WAR among his position (1.5).
After the Phillies’ defense last season came up as one of the worst in baseball history, I think Segura’s efforts will be extremely appreciated.
I, however, am more focused on his bat. The Phillies ranked dead last in Wins Above Average at shortstop (and won 80 games), while the Mariners ranked sixth and won 89 games.
In 2018, Segura would have led the Phillies in runs (tie), hits, BA, and stolen bases, and have the second-least strikeouts (69) among hitters with 175+ plate appearances (Maikel Franco, 62). His hitting is a stabilizer to the ebb and flow of the streaky Phillies hitters.