The only thing Jean Segura and Mike Moustakas have in common is that they’re both professional baseball players and they happen to be featured in the title of this post. Other than that, their on-field performances are in different area codes. Different time zones. Galaxies even.
Obviously, Segura has been holy hell awesome and Moustakas has been my God-awful. But we’re getting to a point in the season now where a couple weeks of trending in either direction can be masked pretty well by their current accumulation of at bats. Perhaps for good reason — it keeps the smaller sample monster at bay. Regardless, there are some recent developments with these two that merit attention.
First of all, I love Jean Segura. Big wet kisses for the little guy. He has outperformed every unrealistically enthusiastic projection that I’ve seen and has been an all around beast as a fantasy contributor. His pace currently has him on a trajectory to hit .332 with 23 home runs, 94 runs scored, 67 RBI, and 50 stolen bases. Wow. This from a guy whose ADP sat in the 140’s pre-season.
However, June hasn’t been so kind.
His triple slash by month:
What’s concerning is that June line is probably right about what most reasonable people expected out of Segura. But maybe it’s just the pendulum swinging back a little and he’s getting a little unlucky? Well, sort of.
Here’s Segura’s walk rate over the last three months:
Yeah, I could have just said 7.1% to 1.0, but it’s more dramatic in graphical form, don’t you think? Indeed, in the month of June, over 100 plate appearances, Segura has drawn one singular base on balls. He doesn’t have the reputation as being a particularly patient hitter, but this trend seems rather troubling to me.
His BABIP has seen a precipitous fall over the past three months as well, going from .400 in April to .367 in May to .294 in June. And while that might look like good old fashioned regression, it’s worth noting that his hit trajectory hasn’t changed much from May to June with roughly 21% line drives and almost 60% ground balls. For Segura, that’s smart — take advantage of your speed. And with that hit trajectory, his xBABIP in June comes in at a robust .380, so I’m not necessarily projecting doom and gloom here. It may very well bounce back up.
But with only 20% fly balls, he would have to maintain a pretty ridiculous HR/FB rate to continue to pile on the home runs — so it’s probably more realistic to think that he finishes with something like 16-18 home runs than sniffing 25. But as long as he continues to hit for a decent average and burn on the bases, he’s obviously very valuable. But keep an eye on that walk rate and his trend through mid-July because he might be an excellent sell high candidate if you have a good backup at shortstop (I recently saw Segura get flippped for Clayton Kershaw, FWIW).
Then there’s Mike Moustakas who has been on life support since the bell rang. Pre-season Steamer projections thought he could hit .261/.314/.440 with 20 home runs and 75 RBI. What he’s done is hit .195/.276/.299 in April, .171/.229/.316 in May and woah, what’s this? .268/.307/.310 in June! HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL! This turnaround in June has been mostly fueled by his last seven games where he has 11 hits (3 doubles) over 27 at bats — but he hasn’t hit a home run since May 10th.
But there is something substantive that makes me wonder if a turnaround is in store for Moustakas. Check his line drive rate over the last three months:
Hey, it’s something. So after squaring up fewer than 10% of balls for line drives last month, he’s actually (according to the little BIS gnomes) driving the ball well this month. His IFFB rate is still a ridiculously high 22% in June though, so it seems he’s still lofting the ball — but progress is progress.
Looking at his BABIP by month is fairly interesting as well. In April, he was earning his crappy average, in May he was a tad unlucky, but perhaps most importantly, his current .317 BABIP isn’t entirely the product of seeing eye singles:
Considering the dearth of quality fantasy contributors at third base, this bears monitoring. If Moustakas can keep up his line drive ways and somehow see his HR/FB look at all league average-ish versus the woeful 4.5% that it is now, he could be someone useful at the hot corner should you have the need. If he does right the ship, this could lead to the legend of George Brett…
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