On Wednesday evening against the Miami Marlins, Jean Segura connected with his tenth home run of the season off right-hander Kevin Slowey. It was a 400ft homer to straight-away left field — a rare slider on the outer half that Segura pulled, rather than shooting to the opposite field.
It’s been a bit of a struggle to accurately illustrate how good Segura has been this season. The overall team disappointment has overshadowed his play. He’s already been a three-win player, compiling the tenth-highest WAR (+3.1) in all of baseball to this point. His .393 wOBA also ranks just above Joe Mauer and Mike Trout — both of whom are All-Star caliber players.
Segura hasn’t just been tremendous in the context of this season. At his young age, his combination of power and speed is becoming historically significant. On Wednesday evening, Jean Segura became only the 11th shortstop in baseball history to hit at least 10 home runs and steal at least 19 stolen bases in his age-23 season. To elaborate a bit further, he’s the 11th shortstop to accomplish that feat since the 1871 season, which is when FanGraphs begins their statistical database.
Here are the other 10 shortstops who have hit 10+ home runs and stolen 19+ bases in their age-23 season:
- Jose Reyes, NYM
- Hanley Ramirez, FLA
- Jimmy Rollins, PHI
- Cristian Guzman, MIN
- Derek Jeter, NYY
- Dick Schofield, CAL
- Nomar Garciaparra, BOS
- Alex Rodriguez, SEA
- Edgar Renteria, STL
- Barry Larkin, CIN
The first thing that becomes apparent is this power/speed combination from the shortstop position is a relatively new phenomenon. Dick Schofield is the oldest player on this list, and he only accomplished it in 1986 with the California Angels. The vast majority of the names included on the above list played their age-23 seasons in the 1990s and 2000s.
But, in some ways, the above list seems woefully inaccurate. Each of those players certainly enjoyed statistically noteworthy seasons, but they had an entire season. Jean Segura became only the 11th shortstop to reach the 10+ HR / 19+ SB plateau — and he did so in only the 65th game of the season.
How did the other players on the list fare through the first 65 games of their respective age-23 season?
(sorted by OPS)
Jean Segura sits unbelievably well on that list. Of the 11 shortstops who displayed such power and speed in their age-23 season, only Alex Rodriguez had performed better through the first 65 games. Otherwise, Segura takes the cake.
**Aside** Alex Rodriguez hit 42 home runs in 1999, despite missing 30 games with an injury. What an unbelievable season.
Brewers fans have been spoiled with Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun in recent years. We’ve all grown accustomed to watching premium talent at the plate, so when Segura begins compiling one of the best age-23 seasons in baseball history at the shortstop position, many of us barely bat an eye. It’s what elite hitters do.
Elite hitters don’t come around very often, though.
No one knows of Segura will be able to sustain this pace throughout the year, much less throughout his career. It seems incredibly unlikely. For now, though, Brewers fans are watching history, and it’s not being talked about nearly enough.