If teams brought in a fifth infielder from the outfield whenever Jean Segura came to the plate in 2014, he would have scuffled even more than he did.
A fifth infielder? I’m crazy, right? Well, did you know that Segura hit the ball on the ground 58.9% of the time? Only three National League players — Ben Revere, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon — had a higher percentage. And all of those guys had much higher BABIPs than the Milwaukee Brewers‘ shortstop. Overall, Segura had a BABIP of .275, but only a .224 BABIP on ground balls. Both of those are well below league average.
Here’s Segura’s ground ball rate month-by-month.
He started and ended the season very poorly in terms of ground ball rate, and hit the ball on the ground consistently during the middle four months. But just to be clear, none of those percentages are good. They are way too high for someone with such a low BABIP. If he was able to hit grounders for base hits, it’d be a different story.
In 2013, his first full season in the majors, his GB% was virtually the same (58.7%). However, he hit .279 on grounders — 55 points better than this season. There are two big factors that affect batting average on balls in play; defense and luck. It also takes a while to stabilize, so we really can’t tell what Segura’s BABIP will look like in 2015. His BABIP his first two seasons are just too different to know what to expect.
But, I will say this. Segura cannot rely on ground balls if he wants to be a successful hitter in the major leagues. He will obviously never be a power hitter, but he must start hitting line drives. He hit .628 when he hit a line drive last year. Granted, he only hit 79 of them, but still, that’s an extremely high average, and line drives mean more hits than ground balls.