Segura proving he's for real with Trout-like numbers
In his second season, Brewers shortstop making like 2012 AL Rookie of the Year
How good has Jean Segura been during the first six weeks of his first full Major League season?
He has been Mike Trout-good.
This is not meant as a comparison between Trout and Segura. We are still winding down from last season's comparison between Trout and Miguel Cabrera.
But what we can say for certain is that Trout's rookie 2012 season for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defined the concept of impact from a first-year player. Rookie of the Year? Trout was the rookie of the new millennium.
Segura had a head start, playing 45 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012. But in this, his first full season in the Majors, he has been something else. He has been Trout-like, and then some.
Here are the numbers, through 36 games, Trout in 2012, Segura in 2013:
Trout: .338/.388/.559, five home runs, nine stolen bases.
Segura: .359/.403/.592, seven home runs, 13 stolen bases.
The sample size is small. But the comparisons don't end with offensive production. As much as Trout proved himself to be a superior defensive outfielder, Segura is in the process of demonstrating that he is a fine Major League shortstop.
It is no wonder the Brewers have approached Segura and his agent about the possibility of a long-term contract. Segura is 23. As his agent, Joe Klein, said, the problem from his side, given the player's youth and immense potential, is figuring out what the right numbers are for Segura. Whatever the right numbers are, they keep getting bigger with each successful day in Segura's career.
"What you see from him this year, he's doing everything right," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We didn't see that player last year. This is a great player, this is a guy that I don't want to ever take him out of the lineup. I keep talking about I want to get him a day off and he plays so well I can't take him out, and he doesn't want out. He's one of the best players in the league."
Segura was the National League Player of the Week last week, but, no, the major awards are not given out at the 36-game mark. But if you've had a chance to watch Segura play, you'll understand that so far this season, Roenicke's description -- "He's one of the best players in the league" -- has not been an overstatement, an exaggeration or a hometown call.
Segura was picked up by Milwaukee as part of a shortstop situation that revolved around the arrival and departure of pitcher Zack Greinke. The Brewers parted with a lot of young talent in the December 2010 trade with the Kansas City Royals that landed Greinke. One major piece of that talent was Alcides Escobar, a young, Gold Glove-caliber shortstop.
The Brewers had no suitable replacement at shortstop. So when they traded Greinke to the Angels in July of last season, they insisted on getting a promising young shortstop as part of the package. That was Segura. The fact that he was in the Angels' organization now seems ironic. But mostly, to the Milwaukee organization, Segura seems like a blessing.
There were questions initially about whether Segura was a genuine Major League shortstop. You look at his play in the field now; the range, the arm strength, the balance, the instantaneous reflexes, and you wonder why there was a question in the first place.
Then you look at Segura again and you get it. He doesn't look like the traditional version of a shortstop. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, he is thick-bodied, built more along the lines of a National Football League running back. OK, he will never have the classic shortstop body type, whether you think that belongs to Derek Jeter or Jimmy Rollins or anybody else. But Segura can play shortstop.
Still, the work he has been doing with his bat has been even more notable. It compares favorably with the earliest Major League work of Trout. The biggest difference is not in the quality of the work, but in the lack of fanfare accorded to Segura.
This is not to suggest that Segura will be Trout. There is only one of those. But it appears that being Jean Segura is also a legitimately big deal.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.