Jean Segura’s first World Series has been a long time coming
This is the Dominican’s first-ever postseason appearance in 11 years in the majors. It’s only right that it goes all the way to the Fall Classic.
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It took 11 years, but Phillies second baseman Jean Segura finally made it to the MLB playoffs this year, as the team squeaked in as the sixth and final seed in the National League.
What’s happened since has been nothing short of magical for Segura, but also the team and the city of Philadelphia, as the Phillies advanced to the World Series following a Game 5 triumph over the San Diego Padres in the National League.
Segura has been a large part of that journey to the Fall Classic, which begins this Friday, Oct. 28 in Houston.
He’s been a hitting spark for the Phillies since first joining the team in 2018, but has settled into that same role for the bottom third of the team’s lineup this postseason.
Segura has picked up nine hits in 11 games (tied for third on the team), and only Bryce Harper has a better average — and he’s playing like the National League MVP of last season.
The Dominican’s contributions this postseason came into full focus in Game 3 of the National League Championship series.
That game, which the Phillies ended up winning 4-2 after a night full of ups and downs at the plate and in the field, Segura committed a costly error in the top of the fourth inning on the same play the Padres tied the game 1-1.
Instead of catching a routine toss from shortstop Bryson Stott at second base, Segura dropped it, allowing the Padres’ Brandon Drury to slide in safe and into scoring position with only one out in the inning.
"At the end of the day, we're going to make a mistake," Segura told ESPN. "That's the play that I've probably made 3,000 times in my life, but for some reason I missed it.”
The Phillies would get out of the inning without anymore damage and Segura would make up for it in the bottom half of the inning, as he poked a Joe Musgrove pitch just over Padres’ second baseman Jake Cronenworth to allow Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm to score and make the game 3-1.
Beyond the error, Segura also made two diving stops on hard-hit balls before throwing the runners out at first base. The first came in the top of the third to rob a lead off hit from Trent Grisham, and the second came in the top of the seventh as Segura dove to his right and stole a hit from Ha-Seong Kim with a runner on first to end the half inning.
When talking about his strong response to the error after the game, Segura credited his upbringing in baseball in the Dominican Republic. It could also be why the 11-year vet is handling the pressure of his first postseason experience with such poise to this point.
“It’s just the way we handle the pressure in Dominican Republic. Even when we play winter ball, we’ve got guys in the stands, ‘hey, when you get out, we’re going to kill you,’” he told ESPN. “‘We’re going to do something bad to you.’ It’s just the way we play the game out there.”
Born in San Juan, Dominican Republic, Segura’s first interest came from the MLB in 2007, when he was 17 years old. That year, he signed with the Los Angeles Angels as an international free agent.
Over the next five years, Segura would play in the Dominican Summer League before moving up to the various rookie and minor leagues as part of the Angels’ farm system. He made his MLB debut with the Angels on July 24, 2012 as a shortstop. It was the only game he’d play for the organization, as they traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers shortly after.
In Milwaukee, Segura would play winter ball in the Dominican Republic before becoming the regular second baseman on the team. In the position, he would excel during his first season in 2013, and was named an All-Star reserve. His three seasons in Milwaukee established Segura as a potent hitter in the lineup, a steady glove in the field, and a budding star at his position.
His next stop built on that star power in 2016, as Segura was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his one season there, Segura led the National League in hits and assists in the field and finished 13th in National League MVP voting.
Segura was traded again at the conclusion of the 2016 season to the Seattle Mariners, where he would spend the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In his last season in the Pacific Northwest, Segura earned his nickname ‘El Mambo,’ and booked his second trip to an All-Star game as a reserve, where he hit a go-ahead three-run homerun in the eighth to give the American League the victory.
He joined the Phillies before the 2018 season and has been a rock at second base and arguably the team’s most consistent hitter since.
Success on the field for the team was hard to come by before this year, but Segura isn’t worried about that now, as he competes for the biggest prize in all of baseball. Should the Phillies win, fans can bet Segura will have made a crucial impact like he already has.