Diamondbacks News

Sabermetrics show Jean Segura is changing win expectancy

By Joseph Jacquez
Apr 8, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Jean Segura (2) scores a run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Jean Segura (2) scores a run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jean Segura, the National League’s Most Valuable Player? Despite a rough series in San Diego, through the first 10 games of the young 2016 season, that argument can be made.


The Arizona Diamondbacks might be x-x so far this season, but several impressive individual performances have taken place nonetheless.

One of those is the impressive play to this point by primary second baseman Jean Segura.

Remember when Dave Stewart made the trade with the Brewers this offseason to acquire the 26-year-old from the Brewers? Fans were up in arms and calling for Stewart’s head.

But like most situations involving everyday fans, overreaction was substituted for logic. And at this point in the season– albeit a small sample size– Stewart looks pretty good.

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In 14 games played, Segura is slashing .339/.389/.576 (20-for-59) with a 150 OPS+. Segura’s average leads the team, and he is at or near in the top in several other key offensive categories. (update)

It appears that the Diamondbacks have found their everyday leadoff man, and based on what the front office had to give up to get him, this deal looks pretty good.

The concerns, at the time, were valid on Segura: After breaking out in 2013 with a .294 average and 12 home runs, he hit a combined .251 in 288 games in 2014 and 2015, regressing severely.

Tacking on the value that Segura has provided to the D-backs already this year, and the trade looks even better for Stewart and company.

Win Probability Added (WPA), is a sabermetric stat that “captures the change in Win Expectancy from one plate appearance to the next and credits or debits the player based on how much their action increased their team’s odds of winning.”

Most stats don’t take into account how a particular event can influence the team’s chances to win based on the situation. Not all home runs or stolen bases are equal depending on the inning, what the score is, and if there are runners on base.

WPA does take all of this into account, and as a result, it quantifies a players overall value to a team better than WAR would.

According to FanGraphs leaderboards, Segura has the fourth-highest WPA in the majors this season (1.00), and before struggling against the Padres over the weekend, Segura was the N.L. leader in that category ahead of Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper.

He is hitting for power, hitting the ball to all fields, running the bases well, and playing excellent defense in critical situations. Coming into play yesterday, Segura had the second highest percentage of balls hit to the opposite field (51.0%) behind Cesar Hernandez of the Philadelphia Phillies and just ahead of Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox. Skipper Chip Hale couldn’t have asked for anything more thus far.

Segura has also changed his swing and it’s paying off: his ground ball percentage has gone down and his fly ball percentage has gone up making more hard contact. Ten of his eleven hits coming into Tuesday’s game were to center field, showing he has a whole field approach.

Segura had another multi-hit game in last night’s win, and there is no doubt that he is the MVP of this team at this point in the season.

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