Los Angeles caught lightning in a bottle with the addition of rookie Mike Trout earlier this season. Now the team will look to do the same with the addition of Jean Segura. Back in November, I ranked the rookie as the club’s fourth-best prospect entering the this season.
The middle infield prospect was promoted to the majors for the first time in his pro career after starting shortstop Erick Aybar fouled a pitch off his foot on Saturday. X-rays were inconclusive, but the swelling has yet to subside. It remains to be seen how long he’ll be out of action. Segura, 22, has battled injury woes of his own and missed a good chunk of the 2011 season when he hurt a hamstring. I wrote less than a month ago that the infielder was about a year away from helping the big league club, so I’m not expecting a huge impact from the Dominican Republic native in 2012.
Aybar’s loss is huge for this team. Los Angeles is currently five games behind the Texas Rangers for first place in the American League West and also has a tenuous hold on the first AL wild card slot. His replacement got off to a bit of a slow start to begin this year in Double-A, but he’s hit above .300 in both June and July. His walk rate also has gone up while his strikeout rate has fallen significantly. At the plate, Segura profiles as a No. 2 hitter because he makes good contact but doesn’t get on base consistently enough for me to envision him as a true leadoff hitter. He has good speed and stole 33 bases this season. But he’s also been caught 13 times.
Segura exclusively played second base until 2011 when the organization moved him to shortstop. He’s currently fringe-average at the position but he has the potential to develop into an average defensive shortstop. His fielding is above-average at second base, though. The Angels currently have the inconsistent Howie Kendrick tied to the keystone but Segura could eventually be a cheap upgrade.
With Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols leading the offensive charge for the Angels, all Segura really needs to do is play league-average ball for his position and his team won’t see a drop from the offensive side. Remember that Aybar is having a down year with the bat and has a dismal 82 wRC+. Defensive metrics also suggest Aybar’s defense has less-than-stellar.
Segura could become an above-average contributor at the major-league level, but it’s not likely to begin this year.