The best way to describe Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Jean Segura’s start is with multiple fire emojis.
Segura is hitting .352/.397/.611 with three home runs, eight runs scored and three stolen bases through the first two weeks of the 2016 season.
The 26-year-old is in his fourth full season and his career highs sit at .294/.329/.423 — he’s torching his best average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Obviously, regression is on the way since his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is.348, also a career high. Segura’s BABIP peaked in 2013 at .326 and has been under .300 the past two seasons.
Despite the inevitability of the drop-off, Segura is showing some positive trends that would result in him taking a step forward from his down years in 2014 and 2015 if he can keep it up.
Segura’s strikeout percentage has dropped all the way to 8.6 percent, down from his career average of 13.8 percent. He still barely walks (BB percent 3.4 percent), but he’s swinging less and making more contact when he does.
He’s swinging outside the strike zone 12 percent less than last year and 8 percent overall — in the strike zone its 8 percent less than 2015 and 3.5 percent total — and overall a 9 percent drop from the previous season and 5 percent for everything.
With the increased selectiveness, the contact rate has improved.
Segura’s outside the strike zone contact is synced at his career norms, but up just over 3 percent from 2015. Where the significant jump has come is in the strike zone. Segura is making contact on 98.4 percent of his swings, up from the career rate of 91.8 percent.
The contact is resulting in fewer line drives and ground balls, but more fly balls. To this point, not one has been in the air into the infield. Segura’s home run-to-fly ball ratio has sky-rocketed to 18.8 percent — it was only a little over 5 percent the past two seasons. That’s most likely going to sink in the near future.
Segura’s current production is compares reasonably to his pre-All-Star break 372 at-bat stretch from 2013. That impact player has disappeared for two and a half years and left a much larger sample size significantly below that level.
It was fair to question if it was possible for him to ever reach anything resembling those heights again.
In 54 at-bats this season, he has.
There’s still a long way to go to make the poor recent history go away, but this is the start the Diamondbacks were looking for.
All statistics used in this story are from fangraphs.com