Jean Segura is one of eight or nine Phillies who needs to have a bounce-back season for the team to make serious noise in 2020.
Offensively, the Phillies need more this year from Segura, Rhys Hoskins and Roman Quinn. On the pitching staff, they need more from Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Seranthony Dominguez and David Robertson (if/when he returns from Tommy John surgery).
Really, the Phillies need more from Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto as well, because as good as they were in 2020, each player had a relatively quiet first half.
But in terms of actual bounce-back candidates, those are your nine.
Segura would like to forget his first season in Philly. It was his worst offensive season in four years, he was below-average defensively, he suffered several lower-body injuries and his non-hustle on an infield fly in San Diego the first week of June helped lead to Andrew McCutchen's ACL tear.
Earlier in camp, Segura talked about how trying the 2019 season was for him.
In better shape and at a different position, Segura is hoping to start a new chapter at age 30. And it's not as if his 2019 was a complete dud. He hit .320 in his first 175 at-bats and was such a consistent source of singles that it looked like he could spend the entire year above .300. But he slumped badly in the middle of the summer and ended up hitting just .262 in his final 400 ABs. He's never been a player who walks much, so when Segura isn't hitting singles, his value is low.
In the three seasons before he arrived in Philadelphia, Segura hit .308 with an .803 OPS. He reached double-digit homers and 20 steals in all three seasons. His on-base percentage was .340 or higher in all three seasons.
In 2019, Segura hit .280/.323/.420. His OPS fell by 60 points. He stole only 10 bases. What began as a promising 1-2 punch with McCutchen and Segura ended up anything but as the Phils were unable to find a replacement for McCutchen and didn't get the version of Segura they expected.
Leaner and now off of shortstop, Segura is a solid candidate to rebound and hit .300 again in 2020, when he will play third base or second base. As disappointing as his 2019 season was, had Segura just hit one more single every week-and-a-half, he'd have reached that .308 mark from the prior three years. It's not asking a ton for him to get back to his previous level.
Segura entered last season as the obvious No. 2 hitter for the Phillies but this season the lineup could be more fluid. McCutchen won't begin the season on time, which means you could see Roman Quinn, Segura or even Realmuto in the leadoff spot in late March and early April. Realmuto led off Thursday just as he did in his previous two spring starts. That is partially so he can get his plate appearances as quickly as possible and be out of the game by the middle innings. But Realmuto's offensive skill set and baserunning ability could also work in the leadoff spot, as odd as it would be for a catcher to bat first.
The likeliest batting order spots for Segura look like second and sixth. If someone else can step up and produce in the leadoff spot while McCutchen is out, it could allow first-year Phillies manager Joe Girardi to slot McCutchen into more of a run-producing spot, elongating the Phillies' lineup.
Segura will be even more important for the Phils as they await McCutchen's return.
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