2016 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Players — Jean Segura
Everyone is looking for breakout players at every position. When you find one on the waiver wire it almost feels as good as winning the whole fantasy crown. It gives you bragging rights until the next season when you can say you found Jackie Bradley Jr. or Drew Pomeranz. Unfortunately, some positions are not that cut and dry and we will see that here at second base.
Some players are on the cusp on being considered breakouts. If you are a fringe fantasy starter, it’s hard to call yourself a breakout player even if you are performing on an all-star level. Conversely, there are guys that look like breakout players, but really are just guys off to an unsustainable start. We will see one of those guys today, but before we do that we should look at how the preseason top five are performing.
The Top Five
The top five second basemen are actually doing better than the top five players at other positions. Jose Altuve might be one of the top five players in the entire game offensively in the early going and Robinson Cano appears to be back as well. Of course, Dee Gordon owners are bummed out after his 80 game suspension for PED use. Brian Dozier also has been in the tank for most of the year as well. So, there’s obviously still a great desire to find breakout players.
There have been a number of notable performances amongst second basemen. In particular, both Daniel Murphy and Neil Walker have had notable starts for their respective clubs. However, both players could nominally be called fantasy starters in a number of leagues, so they really don’t fit out particular definition of a breakout player. Conversely, Jean Segura was on no one’s radar before the season, but in the season’s first two months he has been a top five performer.
We’ve seen this act before. During his first full season, Segura was the talk of baseball before the all-star break. He single-handedly made the Zack Greinke deal look like a huge win for the Brewers. Then, he turned back into a pumpkin. 2014 and 2015 were very ordinary seasons, so you’ll have to excuse all of us if we look at the current results with a bit of skepticism. Of course, the Dbacks would be thrilled if they could get 2013 performance out of him this season and might even take 2015 performance from this point forward. As a fantasy player you probably wouldn’t.
Players don’t change their stripes very often, so when we see a drastic change in numbers we want to make sure there is some sort of explanation. Plate discipline is half of the battle. There are some good points here. He is swinging at fewer balls outside of the zone and his contact rate on balls in the zone is slightly better than in the past. Those two put together could signal some improvement in his overall performance. Still, he is striking out close to his career norms and his walk rate is near an all-time low. Overall, we have some mild optimism here, but it can’t completely explain the improvement.
There are some good points and some bad points. Generally speaking, we are seeing the game Jean Segura that we saw in 2013. He is hitting the ball harder and he is hitting more home runs per fly ball than he did the previous two seasons when he was a marginal offensive player overall. Of course, on the flip side we see his BABIP higher than normal. This is where the evidence cuts both ways. His hard hit ball percentage is similar to the one from 2013 where he also had a higher BABIP. Harder hit balls become hits more often. Yet, when you hit more fly balls like he has, it’s tougher to take advantage of your speed.
If you are a Jean Segura owner it is high time you trade him for someone that will be a little more steady. It is highly likely he will end performing like he did in the second half of 2013. All that being said, if he winds up hitting around .280, ten home runs, and stealing 20 bases then he will be a lot better than the Dbacks envisioned before the season.