Segura starting to feel better at the plate
MAY 22, 2014 12:00p ET
Jean Segura burst onto the scene so quickly, the shortstop made it easy to forget he's only 24 years old. By becoming an All-Star in his first full season in the big leagues, Segura set the bar high with an outstanding first half in 2013.
But a slow finish to last season continued into this year, as Segura seemed to be hitting a weak groundball to the left side of the infield in the majority of his at-bats when things weren't going well.
The league adjusted to Segura, now he needs to answer back.
While he's still hitting just .252 on the season, Segura is beginning to feel better at the plate, carrying a .286 batting average over Milwaukee's last 10 games with four multi-hit games in May.
"I've been swinging the bat really well, so I've been feeling pretty good," Segura said last weekend in Chicago. "I've been working out, checking some video, doing some drills in the cage with my hitting coach. I want to get up there and do the best I can to help the team to win some ballgames.
"I want to do good because you can't waste any time even in the big leagues. If you waste your time in the big leagues, somebody is going to kick you out and take your spot, so I'm just trying to the best I can."
Segura drove the baseball all over the diamond in the first half last season, hitting .325 with 11 doubles, eight triples and 11 home runs prior to the All-Star break. The extra-base hits disappeared late in the year, though, as Segura had just 12 over his last 54 games in 2013.
The extra-base hits have been few and far between this season as well. Segura has just five doubles, two triples and two home runs.
"Last year was amazing and that's going to come," Segura said. "They're (the pitchers) not stupid. They know where to find the spot that I cannot hit it, so they're not pitching me the same as they did (late) last year. I need to make that adjustment back because if not, they're going to screw me up all season long.
"I need to drive the ball down the left-field line or to other parts of the field. If you're always thinking right field and people continue to throw inside and you try to hit it to the other side, you're not going to hit it."
While Roenicke agreed Segura needs to adjust to the way pitchers have been attacking him, the skipper also feels the young shortstop has to develop better discipline at the plate in order to be the impactful hitter he was early last season.
According to FanGraphs.com, the percentage of pitches Segura has swung at outside of the strike zone this season is at 37.3 percent, placing him as one of the most undisciplined hitters in baseball. Segura is joined by Carlos Gomez, Scooter Gennett and Khris Davis to give the Brewers four of the 35 qualified hitters in the major leagues that swing at least 50 percent of the pitches they see.
Segura has walked just five times in 170 plate appearances this season.
"For him to do what he did last year, he was really good," Roenicke said. "He was laying off pitches that were out of the zone. He was able to hit more of everything -- both offspeed and fastballs. I think it's more just, for some reason last year, he was more confident and more consistent. If you look at guys that come up to the big leagues now, they find out right away what their weakness is."
Despite Segura battling through a period of struggles at the plate, Roenicke has seen enough to feel confident the young shortstop is going to be a good hitter in the big leagues. Some of those indicators have come back to Segura over the past few weeks, but he's still not where the Brewers need him to be.
Segura opened the season batting second in Milwaukee's lineup but hit just .240 in 24 starts in the No. 2 spot. He's found more success since being dropped down in the order, hitting .364 in the No. 6 spot and .292 when batting seventh.
"If he's more disciplined, the times he gets himself out, they're balls off the plate," Roenicke said. "He has to be more disciplined inside. If you look at the best players in baseball right now, usually the only place you can get them out is inside.
"If you're a bad hitter, you won't hit away and you won't hit offspeed stuff. That's exactly what I didn't hit. You see it. You know right away that this guy is a good hitter and you know he can handle away. That's the difference. When Seggy is going all over the field, that's when he's good.
Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter