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Hittin’ Season #558: The Jean Segura appreciation post

Segura has been one of the Phillies’ most consistent players.

Philadelphia Phillies v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

When you think about the Phillies, Segura’s name is likely not the first one you think of.

Bryce Harper, the reigning MVP, face of the franchise, obviously comes first. Free agents Kyle Schwarber or Nick Castellanos are more top of mind, as is a homegrown player like Rhys Hoskins or the best catcher in baseball, J.T. Realmuto. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have almost won Cy Youngs, too, if you want to throw pitchers into the mix here.

No, you don’t often think about Jean Segura and yet, every team needs their own “James Cigarettes.” Segura has been with the Phillies for four seasons now, and has been one of the most consistent performers during an otherwise disappointing era of Philadelphia baseball.

He has a career .283 batting average as a Phillie, with a .339 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage, good for an OPS of .769 and fWAR of 7.0 that ranks 14th among 32 qualified second basemen since 2019. He’s also gotten better every season he’s been in Philly.

Jean Segura 2019-2022

Season Games fWAR wRC+
Season Games fWAR wRC+
2019 144 1.6 91
2020 54 1.1 106
2021 131 3.3 109
2022 26 0.9 140

In 32 games this season, Segura’s 140 wRC+ ranks 5th among all MLB second baseman and is hitting .299/.364/.474 with five home runs, three in the past week. According to Statcast data, he’s seen the biggest year-over-year jump in hard-hit percentage of any player in baseball.

Segura was particularly hot in Seattle, 4-for-12 with 2 HRs, 5 runs scored and 4 RBIs.

He enters this weekend’s series against the Dodgers with a nine-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .452/.528/.742 with 3 HRs, 8 runs and 6 RBIs. About the only thing he hasn’t done well this year, offensively, is bat leadoff (11 games, .462 OPS), although to be fair, it is a cursed position in the Phils lineup and has been since Jimmy Rollins left.

But on a team in which top-notch defense is sorely lacking, Segura is one of the few players on the team with an above average glove. Since 2019, Segura is 9th in Defensive Runs Saved (8) and 4th in Outs Above Average (13), mostly because he does stuff like this.

Segura and two other players came to Philadelphia in a trade that sent former first baseman Carlos Santana and top prospect J.P. Crawford to Seattle. Crawford has grown into the player Phillies fans hoped he’d be for the Phils, one of the best all-around shortstops in the game and battling Mike Trout atop the WAR leaderboards.

Still, it’s hard to say the Mariners “won” the trade, given Segura’s accomplishments. He took a lot of heat early in his Phillies tenure when he failed to run out a popup in San Diego and, as a result of failing to do so, Andrew McCutchen suffered a torn ACL, an injury for which Phils fans blamed Segura’s perceived lack of hustle.

That, of course, is long forgotten by most Phillies fans, enjoying a Jean Segura who is one of the most consistent performers on a roster full of streaky hitters and scary gloves. On the latest edition of Hittin’ Season, I talked more about Segura, Rhys Hoskins’ hot streak, and the issues Matt Vierling and Bryson Stott have dealt with early in their Phils’ careers. Also, Fangraphs’ Dan Szymborski and I went around the Majors to talk some Mets, Red Sox, disappointing teams and suppressed offense around baseball.

Give a listen!