It’s no surprise that Jean Segura won’t break camp with the Angels. Segura missed much of last season due to a torn hamstring and the short stop prospect is blocked by impending free agent Erick Aybar. Aybar is enjoying his own hot spring and will likely leadoff for the Angels following his career year. Unlike his double play combo mate Howie Kendrick, Aybar was unable to come to terms on an extension in the offseason and might get to test the free agent market after this year.
And if my jump to conclusions mat is correct, that’s exactly what’s going to happen unless there is a setback with Segura. The 22-year-old went 8-21 with a pair of home runs in his limited action in 11 Cactus League games this spring. Small sample size and worthlessness of spring stats aside, Segura will likely be ready to man short stop after another full season in the minors.
Segura was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 when the Angels still had at least a mild interest in international talent. He was signed as a short stop but the Angels temporarily moved him to second base before switching back to short in 2011. While the majority thought was that he’ll end up at second, Segura has impressed in his return to short…
“His tools are incredible,” the Angels’ skipper said. “Probably the biggest thing has been his growth as a shortstop. I think he’s starting to feel much more comfortable at that position. He’s much more under control, but still can make the big plays when he has to — he can go in the hole, turns a double play. … On the offensive side, he showed some really good plate discipline this spring. And I think as he grows and keeps developing, he has as much upside as anybody who’s in that room.”
With Kendrick extended for four years and playing sound defense at second, Segura’s best shot to play in 2013 is if Aybar leaves via free agency (or trade, I suppose). Segura has all of the prospect pedigree ranking 44 on Keith Law’s top 100 (Insider) and 67 on Kevin Goldstein’s 101. If Segura can learn the health skill, he figures to hit for average with maybe 20 home run power and plus speed. For Angels fans, he’ll be an important player to keep an eye on in 2012.