This week, the Seattle Mariners played six games and won four of them, increasing their record to a superb 41-24. They currently hold one of the best records in baseball, third only to the powerhouse Yankees and Red Sox, both teams that the Mariners will face for 10 of the remaining 19 games in the month of June.
Many factors have contributed to the Mariners’ successful season; Paxton’ dependable domination on the mound, the resurgence of Wade LeBlanc, Dee Gordon’s abilities on the basepaths as well his charm in the clubhouse, the meteoric rise of Mitch Haniger, the excelling bullpen, and the quiet consistency of guys like Mike Leake, Kyle Seager, and Ben Gamel.
But then there is Jean Segura, the shortstop, who in Seattle is called, “The Hit Machine.” Sometimes he’s referred to as El Mambo and sometimes as Seggy. No matter what you call him, he’s been the silent savior of the Mariners this past season.
Last year, Jean Segura played 125 games for the injury-riddled Seattle ballclub, taking a couple of trips to the disabled list himself for a hamstring injury and an ankle sprain. In those 125 games, he hit an even .300, with a .776 OPS and was worth 2.9 wins above replacement (fWAR) for the Mariners. Despite the injuries, last year was one of Segura’s top seasons since his debut in 2012.
He’s already surpassed last year’s margin, and its only June.
The Mariners started the year with only a 9.4% chance of entering the postseason, according to Fangraphs. As of now, the Mariners have a 56.1% chance. How has Segura contributed to this rise in playoff probability? For starters, El Mambo was projected to score 48 runs, impulse 36 runs batted in, and steal 14 bases by the first 88 games of the season. He’s surpassed all of these margins while only having played 62 games this season.
In only 62 games played this year, Jean Segura has almost tied his wins above replacement for the previous year, needing only 0.3 wins to reach the 2.9 fWAR he attained in 2017. He’s currently batting .341/.363/.483 with 134 wRC+.
Segura’s contributions to the team have been immense. He’s current 2.6 fWAR leads the Mariners and is almost a full win higher than Mitch Haniger’s 1.7 fWAR. He has the highest wOBA of any Mariner with at least 50 plate appearances, and this is despite his low 3.9 BB%. His strikeout percentage of 13.5% is the lowest of all Mariners, proving that his ability to discern pitches and turn them into hits is one of the most effective on staff.
The season isn’t even halfway through and Jean Segura is already on track to have his best season yet, surpassing even his All-Star 2013 season. His approach at the plate is not only one of the greatest contributions to the Mariners’ offensive capabilities but a magnificent sight to witness. Segura covers all parts of the plate, teeing off on pitches low and inside with the grace of a golfer and taking hacks at pitches far and outside with the strength and prowess of a man hungry to lead his team to victory. This isn’t a player who swings and anything thrown at him. Segura is calculating and wise. The average player swings at pitches outside of the zone 30% of the time and makes contact with those pitches 62% of time. Segura swings at outside pitches 35% of the time and has made contact nearly 77% on those pitches.
For pitches in the zone, Segura is even better, making contact on pitches over the plate almost 95% of the time. Currently, there are 11 players with more wins above replacement than Jean Segura, and none of them match his ability to cover the plate.
Therein lies the beauty that is Jean Segura. He is currently ranked 12th on Fangraphs’ MLB leaderboards, and he’s ranked as the 10th best position player when only counting position players in the American League. Segura has proven that he’s not only been the Mariners most valuable position player, but one of the better position players in all of Major League Baseball this season.