Thursday, March 28, 2013

Position By Position - Shortstop

What do you get when you cross a piano with a hippopotamus?

...I don't know, but it's probably easier to think about the Brewers shortstop situation.

Jean Segura

Okay, so maybe that was a bit of an over-dramatic opening. Shortstop isn't THAT complicated for this team. But, it certainly gets a little murky on the depth chart after this guy.

My first exposure to Segura was through the twitter account of one Adam Foster (@AdamWFoster), a currently inactive writer for Project Prospect. For a period of time, it seemed like Foster would get one question a day from Angels fans on the transition of Segura to shortstop, to which he would respond that many early reports were positive.

"Built a little like Rickie Weeks, Segura is a high-energy talent with swagger, an aggressive approach at the plate and surprisingly smooth defensive actions given his build. He has quick feet and a quick exchange."

Foster wrote that in November of 2011, before Segura made the full transition to shortstop. But even then, he believed Segura could be average defensively at the position.

And really, that's all he needs to be with the Brewers. The offensive promise he brings is good enough to make up for any setbacks defensively, especially if he can make a few plays like this from time to time.


The Brewers will certainly be hoping to see a bit of that offense come to fruition this season after a rather ho-hum debut last year. As it was, he already appeared to be getting more comfortable down the stretch by posting a .785 OPS in September/October, which was worlds better than the putrid .489 he recorded in August. He's still a rookie, too. Let's not forget that even demi-god Mike Trout had a .296 wOBA after his first 40 games in 2011.

Given time, Segura could provide a nice burst to the top of the lineup with his above-average speed, good contact ability and surprising power. He probably won't ever be a 20-home run hitter the way J.J. Hardy was, but I don't think it's out of line to expect a few double-digit homer seasons from him during his time with Milwaukee. That might be asking a lot this year, but maybe one day soon.

I thought about doing a profile of Yuniesky Betancourt, but the mere idea of it made me want to go  cry alone in a corner while shoveling down a box of chocolate chip cookies.

So I did it anyway.

Yuniesky Betancourt
There isn't too much to say about ol' Yuni that we don't already know. He's an awful shortstop, and a pretty bad hitter to boot (he posted a 73 wRC+ in over 200 games from 2011-12). But alas, as things stand right now with Alex Gonzalez manning first base, he's likely to see a little time spelling the Brewers young starting shortstop.

I don't know if there's anyone who rightfully draws the fury of fans with their poor play more than Betancourt. I'm still in awe he started as many games at shortstop as he did 2011 (152!!!). He had his moments, sure, but I'm not about to .gif that behind-the-back flip you'll be seeing 80 times next month on FS-Wisconsin. No, instead I've decided I'm going to show you this one to inspire everyone out there to pray like hell nothing happens to any of the current infielders on this team.

But hey, it's not all doom and gloom with Yuni. After all, he did hit .299 one month...right?


The Other Guys:

Alex Gonzalez
Jeff Bianchi
Josh Prince

Eventually, Gonzalez will be expected to reclaim his main utility infielder role once Hart returns from the DL, and it's reasonable to expect him to see most of the reps at shortstop then whenever Segura needs an off day. Gonzalez was a great shortstop for a long time, and is probably still just above average today. Heck, even after knee surgery, he may still be better than Segura there. He's an ideal backup candidate, bringing good pop and solid glove off the bench whenever he's needed. Bianchi and Prince may see time eventually, with Bianchi likely a better candidate than Prince at this point. Bianchi has hit well in the minors, but hasn't shown much yet at the major league level.

It's hard to say who will play where all year, especially once Hart returns from the DL. The hope has to be that Segura plays well enough to not need much time off early on, and that when he finally does, Gonzalez is back in the role the team signed him to play.


  1. 3b is like SS, except the foul line plays your entire right side for you. Play Gonzalez at 3rd and move Aramis to 1st for the first month. Make Yuni run wind sprints indefinitely.

    1. Making Yuni run back to Kansas City may be a better option.