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Jean Segura is off to a strong start, as usual

He’s not the the MV3, the BCIB, or one of the flashy new toys from free agency, but Jean Segura continues to be one of the most important players on the Phillies.

Milwaukee Brewers v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Last night, against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday Night Baseball, Jean Segura went 1-for-3 with a single and walk.

Segura has played in twelve games this year, and he’s recorded at least one hit in ten of them. He’s reached base safely in every game but one.

While Segura’s .267 batting average and .771 OPS might not look too impressive, it’s important to remember that offense has been down this year around the league. National League batters are hitting just .234 with a .683 OPS this season.

As such, Jean Segura’s batting average is 14% better than league average, while his on-base percentage is 4% better and his slugging percentage is 20% better.

His 124 wRC+ shows that, overall, Segura has been 24% more productive with the bat than the average hitter. That’s better than four of the five so-called beefy boys.

Phillies Hitters (min. 40 PA)

Player wRC+ OPS
Player wRC+ OPS
Nick Castellanos 164 0.923
Alec Bohm 151 0.916
Johan Camargo 126 0.780
Jean Segura 124 0.771
Rhys Hoskins 115 0.722
J.T. Realmuto 114 0.735
Bryce Harper 107 0.719
Kyle Schwarber 88 0.653

Even more impressive, the underlying data suggests Segura has been hitting the ball even better than his stats reflect.

Segura’s expected batting average is .344, which ranks in the top 5% of the league. It is nearly 80 ticks higher than his actual batting average. That’s particularly noteworthy, because Jean Segura is usually someone who posts a higher BA than xBA.

Segura’s expected slugging percentage is .531, which would be a career high. Up until this season, his career high SLG was.499, while his career high xSLG was .458. Accordingly, Segura’s xwOBA this year is .398, which dwarfs his career high .339 xwOBA from 2016.

This is all in a very small sample of 49 plate appearances. Segura does not even qualify for the batting title yet this year, because he missed a few games with a sore shoulder.

Thus, I’m certainly not suggesting Segura is primed for a a career-best offensive year. It’s way too early to say that. But he is off to a really great start so far.

In addition to being such a good hitter, Jean Segura continues to be one of the best all-around players on the team. He’s not quite the five-tool player J.T. Realmuto is, but Segura is an above-average runner and a strong defensive second baseman.

When Johan Camargo isn’t playing, Segura is the only strong defender the Phillies have beyond home plate, and the value of that can’t be understated. The term “stopper” is typically used for starting pitchers, but I like to think of Jean Segura as the Phillies’ defensive stopper. Alec Bohm, Didi Gregorius, and Rhys Hoskins will all miss many, many plays this year, but at least we can relax whenever the ball is hit in Segura’s direction.

Now entering his fourth season with the Phillies (by the end of the year, he’ll have been with the Phillies longer than he’s been with any other team) Segura remains somewhat underrated. He isn’t the kind of player to get pumped up about — he isn’t the MV3 or the BCIB, and he wasn’t included in the photoshoot with Harper, Schwarber, Hoskins, Castellanos, and Realmuto — but fans have high enough expectations for him that no one is getting overly excited when he hits well. He’s too good for the Johan Camargo/Ronald Torreyes/Brad Miller treatment, but apparently not good enough for the “beefy boys” treatment either.

He’s not one of the “beefy boys”, but he’s still a very valuable bat in the Phillies lineup, and his strong defense is like a breath of fresh air.

What’s so great about Segura is that many of the problems that plague Phillies players don’t affect him. He’s a strong contact hitter, and there’s no one better to come to the plate when all the Phillies need is a base hit. Furthermore, he isn’t prone to slumps like so many of the Phillies hitters are. And, of course, his defense is actually quite good, but he is cursed to play in the same infield as Bohm, Gregorius, and Hoskins.

Jean Segura is off to a strong start, as usual. If only we could say the same for the Phillies on the whole.