Rob Segedin's first Major League plate appearance was fairly uneventful. He came to the plate in the bottom of the second with runners on first and second and two out, and he grounded out weekly to third. There was nothing memorable about it, nor was it indicative of anything. His second plate appearance made headlines, though, as the 27-year-old rookie doubled to deep center, driving in two and giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. His third time up was more of the same, and he singled to right and drove in another pair of runs. Segedin's night came to an end with a double switch in the sixth inning.
As a result of this impressive debut, fans and writers alike are scrambling to find information about Segedin. It's only one game, to be sure - but it was one heck of a game. Reaching the Majors is an accomplishment in and of itself; going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI against David Price in your first taste of the big leagues is quite the feat. And now we know that, just over a year ago, he was ready to walk away from the game.
The Dodgers called-up Segedin for depth purposes, as his flexibility (he can play all four corner positions) provides them with a valuable safety net. And with Yasiel Puig in Triple-A and Trayce Thompson on the disabled list until at least September 9th, the team's bench could use as much help as it can get. The inquiring fantasy mind is wondering whether there is something more than a good story here, and there very well may be.
Segedin was drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 2010 draft, and he spent the first seven years of his professional career in that organization. He was considered a polished, bat-first prospect, with the ability to make consistent, hard contact to all fields. There were questions about his power, but his 6'2", 220-plus pound frame portended future pop. He was drafted as a third baseman, but reports were mixed as to whether or not he could stick there; he had the arm strength, but he lacked the quick-twitch athleticism that the hot corner demands. Segedin has played the majority of his career at third base, though, where he is a mostly passable defender. His defense in the outfield corners is solid, as well.
Unfortunately, his bat never truly developed as expected. While Segedin has never been a bad hitter, he has not been much more than decent either - he's a career .278/.357/.438 hitter as a professional, with 62 HR in 2500 plate appearances. He missed most of 2013 with a hip impingement, for which he underwent surgery, and by the time he returned the Yankees didn't seem to have any plans for him. He shuttled between Double-A and Triple-A, and never got the call. He was ultimately traded to the Dodgers this off-season.
The move reinvigorated Segedin (as did the PCL, I'm sure), as he batted a stout .319/.392/.598 with 21 HR in 424 PA before getting called-up over the weekend. Oklahoma City is one of the few neutral environments in the PCL, and he showed no discernible home/road splits nonetheless (though, those numbers are still a bit inflated nevertheless). Segedin split his time between first and third, but made five starts in left and a start apiece at second and short, as well.
One has to look back a bit further than this year, though, to see where Segedin holds the most value. Over the last three years, he has batted .318/.403/.495 against southpaws, with 9 HR in 305 at-bats. The Dodgers as a team are batting .228/.305/.365 against left-handed pitching this year, which is 19% below-average. Joc Pederson, Chase Utley, and newcomer Josh Reddick in particular have been all but impotent against them. And that's where Segedin's opportunity arises.
So what does it all mean for fantasy owners? In short, there seems to be a real opportunity for Segedin to pick up playing time in the coming weeks - probably at the expense of the struggling Scott Van Slyke. His ability to play the four corner positions may allow him to fill-in for the injury prone Justin Turner, as well, as the Dodgers attempt to keep everyone healthy down the stretch. Segedin should have value in deeper leagues, and could be a valuable starter against LHP. I think he can chip in some value in batting average, runs, and RBI if platooned properly.
And, as a 27-year-old rookie, one can't ask for much else.