10) Jean Segura, 3/17/90 - 2B, Advanced Rookie Ball, AAA
Ranking in a Nutshell: Segura has flashed four potentially plus tools in his young pro career: tremendous contact ability, plenty of speed, some power, and a promising arm. He's still working on the glove, but the rest of the package is impressive enough for Tom Kotchman to claim last summer, "he may be the best position player prospect in the [Pioneer] League." That said, Segura has succumbed to season ending injuries for two consecutive years now, and remains a long, long way away from the major leagues.
Track Record: Segura's pro career began on the talented 2007 DSL Angels team that also featured Fabio Mesa Martin, Luis Jimenez, Alexia Amarista, Manuarys Correa, and Ariel Pena. He shared keystone duties with Amarista, and put up a .324/.392/.393 line with 22 stolen bases. The 139 OPS+ in that league and park was outstanding for a 17 year old, and encouraged the Halos to send him stateside the following year. He broke his leg shortly after the 2008 season began, had surgery to insert a pin into his foot, so took the prospect scene by surprise in 2009. The Halos sent him to AAA just one month after he turned 19 and he hit .421 in 19 at bats; he then put up a .346/.392/.512 line with 3 HR's and 11 SB's in the Pioneer League while fanning in just 6% off his plate appearances. I hear he and Mike Trout have scheduled a spring training cage fight to decide who leads off for the Kernels next year.
Win-the-Lottery-Ceiling: Howie Kendrick with more speed and arm. Of course, if he arrives at Kendrick's present level he will have won the lottery, but he has the tools to project to a bit higher ceiling right now. Did I mention that he's a long, long ways away from the majors?
Scouting Report: (beneath the jump)
At 5'11 and a whopping 160 pounds, Segura is downright massive for an Angels' middle infielder, though scouts still consider him undersized compared to the rest of the baseball population. His wiry frame provides for plenty of projection.
I've only seen his swing from a high, distant camera angle, but I like the way he generates a lot of momentum with his hips and achieves good extension out front in his follow through, similar to - gag - Dustin Pedroia. Segura used his speed to his advantage in '09, knocking 54% of his balls in play on the ground while managing a well above average .346 BA on those grounders. That worked in rookie ball, but he's going to have to hit line drives more frequently than his current 12% rate to maintain his off-the-charts batting average in full season league. He's currently using the opposite field far more often than pulling the ball, knocking a full 37% of his balls in play in that direction while hitting only 26% to the left side. The opposite field tendencies are even more pronounced in the balls he drives in the air - two HR's were to dead center, and he pushed his third over the right field fence. His groundball distribution leans more to the left side. Learning to turn on the ball with more authority will be crucial to developing his power game.
He has work to do cleaning up his defense, but his arm strength is very good. Eddie Bane made an interesting comment about his make-up in a chat on another Angels message board, saying Segura "needs to get a touch of the mustard off and he will." Baseball America reports simply that "he would benefit from toning down his approach." With his emotional play and high ceiling, Segura is going to be a very fun guy to watch develop.