Aiki Mechanics: Jean Segura's Swing
Sadaharu Oh sez, Let the pitch arrive at its own pace, and be there to greet it


Jean Segura's swing reminds you of Adrian Beltre's.  Minus a bit of "oomph" and followthrough.  It's quiet, sudden, compact and its "keeps weight underside."

In fact it's "sudden" enough that you have a hard time pausing the tape for the right screenshots.  But here is the video we got the captures from.  In the first pic, his hands are in the most relaxed launch position possible (sometimes his hands are a little lower than this).  You see a loose and neutral body position and you can see the "keep weight underside" effect in the way his armpits are anchored to the dirt:



In the 2nd pic below you can see a golfer-type steady head with the lead hip and spine rotating as he sinks very subtly, the way a golfer does.  Check the bill of his cap against the white fence stripe.  In fact the launch is so surgically-quiet, so oriented towards consistent contact, that the question really becomes how this player generates power.



In the 3rd pic, below, you can sense the "late uncoiling" as he tucks his bottom elbow to keep the arms extended.  The head remains eerily quiet and he hits against a firm front leg with the back toe barely touching the ground, as with Beltre:



In the 4th pic you see a followthrough that does NOT leave him struggling to stay on his feet, the way Beltre often does.  The entire swing leaves the impression of "swinging inside a phone booth" with power coming up through his big toes.  

By the way, "Keep Weight Underside" is an aiki concept that implies stability, and peace, and absence of panic.  It's used in Buddhism to convey the idea of generating "ki" from your waist and center of gravity -- and below -- as opposed to getting shrill and bringing your energy up into your arms as if to swat away bees.



Here's a 5th pic, a random shot of his 2nd homer in the game.  In this one he turns on the ball with more 'elan as you can see in the belt buckle.



Other hitting clips selected for your convenience :- )

A Beltre-style RBI single lashed to left ... hands a little busier on this one

Five hits here:  a Justin Upton-style homer to center ... another "keep weight underside" Beltre-style single up the middle ... an up-in pitch smoked over the LF wall the way Adrian Beltre does to Felix ... an infield hit in which he shows solid to better-than-average speed up the line ... an Ichiro-style decelerated swing that covers a pitch at his ankles.

In this one he lets the pitch travel deeeep before unleashing the "quick-swat" swing.

One other observation:  Segura definitely prefers to extend his arms; his exit velocities are lower on inside pitches, and he's better with HI-AWAY and LO-IN balls outside the zone than he is with HI-AWAY and UP-IN pitches.  But he is no slouch at driving the inside ball when he guesses correctly.  Check out the homer at the 0:25 mark on this video.



Segura had a low 16% rate on "soft" hit balls last year and a very low 7% swing-and-miss rate.  Think Kyle Seager.  It's rare to see him embarrassed on a swing, and technically it's a contact-first swing, but somehow a medium-sized player gets "plus" acceleration through the strike zone.  Segura is a little earlier in his development than Seager and a little more oriented towards spraying crisp batted balls around the diamond than towards stalking pitches.  But it's only one notch.

Adrian Beltre has hit a good consistent .300-.320 since leaving the Mariners, with only about 40-50 walks and (lately) a .450-.520 SLG.  It's not a bad comparison, Beltre and Segura, in terms of:

  • Infield players
  • .300 hitters with nice pop
  • Style of swing, approach to the pitcher
  • Hand-eye coordination at the plate

Beltre of course is closing in on 3,000 hits and Jean Segura has a thousand miles to go to earn Beltre's place in the game.  For 2016, though, the two were close comps in the Bill James system, meaning, you could have traded one player for the other and not affected either team much.



Defensively, Segura is an explosive athlete, great with step-and-dives and layouts, almost in a 3B fashion.  The slow-mo on the first play in this video gets the point across.  The second play shows the easy range and the feather hands.  The third play, a layout up the middle, is extra fun to watch.

This short-hop shows off the explosive hands.  Finally you can enjoy the blurry-fast shortstop hands in this video.  How's the arm?  Well, the Fans' Scouting Report by Tom Tango gives him credit for a plus-plus arm.  Couldn't tell you m'self.

Here is a triple in which you can see (coming around 2B) Segura's "fast-scamper" running style.

Here is an interview video in which you get an inkling that Segura is a socially-awkward, rather shy person when he's in unfamiliar settings.  (Keep in mind that he's being interviewed after a 4-hit night.)  Which would be the more important that he came to Robinson Cano's team.  Such people can do better-than-expected when comfortable and worse-than-expected when unappreciated.

Yo' turn now,

Dr D


tjm's picture

I seldom watch National League games and so was utterly unfamiliar with Segura. All I knew were his stats. Can I say I'm shocked to actually see him. Could Kirby Puckett have played shortstop? Standing still, he sure doesn't look like a middle infielder. It's obvious to me where his easy power comes from - possibly the biggest SS butt in MLB history.  


And I still blink when I see Cano get out there.  Good call.

Must be some element of freak athleticism in both players that they can waterbug-around a modern infield the way those two can, carrying the size they do.  's a great question.


I remember James looking at the young Ken Griffey Jr. and saying "this guy won't run well at 30."  Maybe it's a good thing we've got Segura for two years rather than seven ... or not ...


Old school....

Dick Allen, Harmon Killebrew, The Mick.

All were low hands guys, too.  

The late hip explosion is Killer-esque:  Square, Square, Square....explode and open.

He makes my old-school heart warm!!


It's wild to think about the lineup vs LHP now. Segura, Valencia, Cano, Cruz, Seager and you haven't even gotten out of the infield yet. Vicious. 

Nathan H's picture

...Segura is a socially-awkward, rather shy person when he's in unfamiliar settings. ... Such people can do better-than-expected when comfortable and worse-than-expected when unappreciated.

Doc, this comment struck me because it describes myself to a T and I had never made the better-than-expected vs. worse-than-expected connection in my own life. From where did you glean the insight to be able to generalize this info? Experience? Suuuuper curious.

Let the pitch arrive at its own pace, and be there to greet it

I recently listened to a podcast interviewing Steven Kotler from the Flow Genome Project. It strikes me that this quote lends itself to a mindset that would allow an individual to more easily fall into "the zone" which just might be one of the more important and understudied(?) skillsets that might be able to be cultivated delibrately. How many other koans do you know that might provoke an individual's mindset toward being 'in the zone?' Is it possible that aikido lends itself to this concept more than, say, Tae-Kwan-Do or Shotokan Karate or any other martial art you can think of?

Pete Carroll has talked about developing his defense's 'long body'* and that this concept is closely linked to his and Michael Gervais' ideas about high performance. Is developing the ability to be 'in the zone', measurable? I guess we'd have to have questionaires. Has anyone asked Bill James about this concept?

*(The Long Body—Carroll wants players to access a sense of their body that extends beyond its immediate boundaries and perceives it as a part of an interconnected whole, which he believes can become the essence of a deeper kind of teamwork (his source: Native American tradition)link


Seattle Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto announced tonight that the club has acquired right-handed pitcher Rob Whalen and right-handed pitcher Max Povse from Atlanta in exchange for outfielder Alex Jackson and a player to be named later. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Mariners have designated for assignment right-handed pitcher Ryan Weber.

He was #1 on my trade list if you could get value for him.  I dislike his pitch recognition severely, but the Braves might be able to make something of him.  In return they got Whalen (BOR starter right now, shoulder fatigue to finish last year, but a nice arm for the #5 spot if healthy and he's just turning 23).  I'm not a huge fan of non-power righties who walk 3.5 guys per game (upper minors), but pitches that were balls in the minors might be strikes with better umps.  We'll see.  He could turn out to be interesting if he can get calls and his arm springs back after a career-high 120 IP (I know) last year.  He's got some tools to work with.

Max Povse wrapped up in AA last year and I had an eye on him in college a couple years back.  He's very tall and very skinny but doesn't throw like his arm is about to come off.  He's already shown he can toss a ton of innings in a year without losing effectiveness, and we'll see if the Mariners are brave enough (pardon the pun) to jump him from AA.  Not a huge K guy but again, has a lot to work with.

Couple of B prospect arms (which is not a diss) who either have seen the bigs or should do so inside of a year is pretty nice for a high pick who may never get out of AA.  A couple of years ago this was not full value - but this is not a couple of years ago.  They were only top-10 arms for the Braves but will be top-5 or 6 for us.

With Diaz locked down in the pen, you make sure you have enough arms to last the season without the rotation becoming a disaster.  This is a move in that direction.  I'm curious about who the PTBNL is but this is more interesting work by DiPoto.


Then replaced Blackburn with two better-rated pitchers in exchange for the disappointing-but-not-washed-out Jackson. If Jackson turns out worthy of that pick we just got hosed.  If he keeps striking out 28% of the time (or more when he gets to the higher levels) then he's not worth anything.  This seems like the mid-point of those two outcomes.  Pick 2 pitchers right on the cusp of contributing, hope one stays healthy and effective.

Here's to hoping.


Agreed.  I had been thinking that Jackson had to go as a project or we were married to him.  I figured he would be the add-in player in a bigger deal.

But this is better.

Povse doesn't walk folks and gives up zero homers (0.4/9 in hs MiLB career).  He's the kind of guy.....Fister-esque is indeed correct (except he walks fewer guys and gives up half the homers Fister did in the minors)....who might jump up and survive on innings and giving up a bunch of singles.  He's even 6'8 like Fister.  

He's a lot like Andrew us two rolls at the Double A Jump dice.

Whalen was more of a power pitcher in the minors.  More K's, more BB's, fewer hits.  At 22, he jumped to the bigs last year....well, with a 3 start AAA stint  in-between.  He only gave up 20 hits in 24.2 Big League innings, but walked 12.  Oh, he K'ed 25.  Heck, he jumps to our #6 just like that!!  Some arm fatigue this year, but he wasn't terrible in his cup of coffee in the bigs.

To tell you the truth, one of these guys for Jackson was decently fair....or close to it.  2 'fer 1 was a minor fleecing.

Without going to the tape, it is hard to dislike a guy who gets to the bigs at 22 and K's 1 per inning, but Povse may be a bit more interesting.  Innings and groundballs seem to be his forte. I like his upside a lot.

But we still have a bigger starter to acquire, I think.  But these guys are very nice.  Might this mean that the starter we get is a bit long in the tooth and DiPoto has stocked the replacemnt cupboard?

Povse:  Long, lean...throws down the hill.  Nickname has to be Stork!

Whelan:  89-90 fastball, lives on the black with lots of natural sink.  12-6 curve and an 82 MPH slider....on the black. he can learn anything from Kuma?  

Both these guys will pitch in Seattle this season.  Bet'cha....


If he were a lefty I might comp him to Washburn, but it's a bit odder to see it from the right side and Whelan has been much harder to hit than Wash was even in the minors. None of his pitches stand still - they've all got a bit of wiggle but he's pretty good at painting with em like you said. I'm very curious to see him this year.  The Mariners added two pretty interesting draws at a plus pitcher, which was just what they needed.


DiPoto likened him to Jason Marquis. 

"For those of you who remember former Brave and longtime big-leaguer Jason Marquis, Rob has a lot of those same kind of sinker-slider traits that Jason has." 


Marquis was never as good as his reputation, but always better than his FIP. :)  Just a real solid innings eating starter.  Very similar arsenal coming up as a kid, and held his floor high by learning hwo to toy with the hitters.


Its good JeDi got some guys you guys like for Alex Jackson.  How Do Y'all feel about DJ Peterson?  He's repeated AA two and a half times and his first full season was underwhelming.  But, he's hit okay every where he's been.  There has been no faceplant season.


Of the picks under JackZ that have stalled, Marlette and Peterson are next to go, I'll bet. I wouldn't be surprised to find Tyler Marlette is the PTBNL for the Braves - they've been looking at almost-ready catchers, but don't want to use a 40-man spot if they can help it. If Marlette gets past the R5 draft, poof! he's a non-40 Brave! If somebody picks him, then Baron or Littlewood goes - at least, that's my take.

For D.J., I wonder if the Padres or Phillies would have any interest. From the Padres, I hope the Ms could get Brad Hand for the power LH BP arm they need, though it might need DJ+somebody like Braden Bishop? Or Sharky Unsworth? Anyway, if the Phillies are interested in Seth Smith for leadership and a LH bat and maybe DJ, too, I'd like to see the Ms get a couple of their almost-ready-but-not-top10 arms. Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta, or Elniery Garcia would be additional depth for starting or swing work.

The Pirates DFA'd Jeff Locke today, and Derek Holland is apparently openly trying to sign up with Pittsburgh, hoping to work with Ray Searage. Chances are Wade LeBlanc will be non-tendered to make room. I hope the Ms can sweet-talk him into a NRI deal for experienced depth. If they can't sign somebody like Fister or Anderson, and are out on Hill, Nova, and Hammel, LeBlanc might be as good as they're going to find if the existing 5 falter. Maybe Cano has an in to talk Nova into coming to Seattle, or maybe Hammel will like the idea of taking a second longtime losing franchise to a Championship, especially his hometown team. Otherwise, I don't see the trade chips to get better than a Doug Fister (#3-4) level starter anyplace.


This site desperately needs a forum. It's my favorite site to read and comment, but the Shoutbox doesn't appear to be effective and the topics that get comments die down because they slide down the page.

If SSI had a forum where we could read/post thread topics, you couldn't drag me outta here.

All these comments going on an Aiki Mechanics thread because it's just the easiest way to find new comments, for example..


They really ruined the shoutbox as a concept when they forced it to change with each post.  It's dead to me.  I never even look at it.

That being the case, I would much rather see a forum feature for general chat than the continuation of this broken, difficult to follow conversation style.


SSI has always been more "editorial" focused vs more forum focused.

That said, the loss of the persistent shoutbox was a serious user experience (UX) blunder on the part of Klat, in my humble opinion. Half the fun of the site is coming here to read commentary from G, Matt and the rest of the posters on the latest moves, rumors and speculation. Problem being, all of that now gets buried in some random, unrelated story. 


The classic Shout Box was exceptionally popular.  Though I personally like the comments threads, we of course recognize the reasons a "persistent" Shout Box was a Klat signature feature.  Have forwarded and will plug for it.

- Jeff


I liken him to Rick Porcello or Doug Fister pre-plateau leap at present.  You could figure him for a 4-4.5 ERA and innings today in the big leagues.  Porcello made that jump straight out of A+ ball and threw a 4.79 for the Tigers in 170 innings and Povse has better command.

Whalen is riskier but potentially more rewarding in the short term.  So...yeah...I am now very comfortable with our pitching DEPTH...I still believe we need a TOR guy though.


Whelan, Povse and Moore give us a lot of AA-ish/AAA-ish guys who are, right now, able to get MLB hitters out and not get completely hammered.  One of those guys proves to be a valuable MLB starter, maybe two.  That might be likely.

Get three and you hit the Trifecta.

But we're deep soon as we trade for that St. Louis arm!  :)


Doesn't he throw a lot harder than Porcello and Fister? 


He throws 92-94 instead of 88-91.  But he also has that "heavy ball from a high arm slot" thing and the natural sink on his pitches.  Maybe a better comp would be the young Scott Erickson or Chien-Ming Wang?


I haven't seen a ton of Povse in the minors, but he seems effectively wild within the zone when I have.  I think that's part of the reason his Ks and FIP aren't really outstanding - he'll leave enough pitches hittable in an at-bat.  He needs to clean that up but he's just 23, and once he gets a pitch with a bit more bite on it I expect him to take off.  Right now he's working of that heavy 90's FB and the ability to toss multiple pitches into the zone at will. If you could get him a more deadfish change or a power curve/slider with late bite he'll be a burden on hitters, he's just not quite there yet with the offspeed stuff.

I think Povse's got MOR upside but he's still got that plateau leap to make.  I like him.


"Max Povse is an interesting talent. He’s 6-8, 250, throws the ball downhill up to 96 miles an hour and has had a lot of success through the mid levels of the minor leagues. As I understand it, Max Povse, who I obviously have not yet met but have spoken with on the telephone, when he was signed, he was 6-8 and 185. When he first got to the Braves’ camp, he was 6-8 and 220. Last year, as I understand it, just by the Braves information, he was 6-8, 250. I have seen much video on him and the ballpark figure is he’s a big fella.”


That's a pretty decent comp to me. Don't expect greatness but you might get an awful lot of survivableness out of him.  I said Piniero yesterday, same basic concept (certainly once Pineiro left SEA and had to find something to create the second half of his career).

His Jackson comments were cutting, though: "He's athletic and has power. We'd probably have sent him back to do A ball all over again." Like I said, his actual baseball skills seem lacking, and I think it's pitch recognition. Sometimes that comes with age, and sometimes guys just can't see the laces soon enough.

DiPoto is ransacking Jack's minor leaguers to shake loose change out of the cushions just like Jack did to Bavasi's.  Let's hope the end result is better.


Since DJ's little brother Dustin has blossomed in the Braves system since the Padres traded him there, I wonder if the Braves might double-dip and trade a prospect reliever (boy, do they have some prospect arms!) for DJ. 

Akeel Morris is a fast-ball / changeup guy originally with the Mets that went to the Braves in the same trade as Whalen. He's averaged 12.1 K/9 and a 1.15 WHIP even while walking 5 per 9. If Lance Painter could help him cut his walks, he'd be quite a weapon. Pair him up with Diaz, add Altavilla and Zych and then a LH power arm, and there'd be a pen to go to WAR.


Thames got 3 years and $15M.  I think I projected 2 and $9M.  Will have to go back and check.  Essentially the Brewers abandoned Chris Carter's homers for Thames. Carter was more expensive this year ($8.1M) and going forward.  


The Brewers know who Chris Carter is.  He is a guy with the .500 slugging percentage.  The Korean league is not the NPB and Thames has always raked in the minors.  Not saying that his bat is'n't worth it.  It might be, and he hasn't had the full Smoak-Ackley four year audition.  But, Chris Carter's bat definitely plays.  You don't skimp on your RBI man to save $5 million bucks.  


Then they'll be looking at a 2 year $10mm contract for a player who's trade value could bring in some talent.  Not that that's any way to build a team outside of Oakland. 


My uncle, a lifelong Braves fan, explained the Braves' rebuillding strategy, and it sounded an awful lot like they were going to lose as many games as possible on purpose so the Atlanta voters would buy a new stadium and they'd get lots of high draft picks.  Its a great mystery how an organization can shed every bit of self respect for 7 years to rebuild, and then ask the best free agents to jump on board with their franchise of institutionalized losing.

Like you said, this sort of thing is standard fare for the Orcs.


Churchill is saying they may plan to move A-Jax back behind the plate.  If that panned out...Anothee Z mistake?  It seemed like a good move at the time (Never said in response to success).


To tell you the truth, I would rater we didn't sign Dougie.  He's going to want a couple of years.  $10M-ish, maybe a bit cheaper.  But Colon and Dickey just  got $8M and $12M for one year.  Fister is decades younger than those two guys.  He won't sign for just one, I think. One of the two young guys we just got is likely his equal...or better.  And that doesn't count Moore.

If we're spending that money then get somebody in trade....Somebody better. 


It sounds like they consider Fister a deep fallback should all other trade and FA avenues not pan out though.


Walker was one of the biggest trade chips we had, and he's gone.  Can't weaken the starting rotation any further just to add another starter, so Paxton stays.  Iwakuma has no value, Diaz has too much to us. Nobody wants our rafts full of 4th OF, and Marte's already been swapped.  We don't have a lot more #1 picks to sell like Jackson.  I've said before that one of the benefits to drafting teens early is that if they don't pan out someone will still think they have time and are just late bloomers.  It's easier to sell someone on 21 year old Alex Jackson than it is 25 year old DJ Peterson.

So Seattle's major chips on the farm are Gohara, Neidert, and O'Neill.  Lewis is injured and as a draftee last year he can't be swapped til the draft this year.  Same with Rizzo. All the young, low-minors arms are gone now (Littell, Orozco, De Paula).

Hard to do better than Fister in trade, IMO.  Not unless you burn the farm to the ground.  I see still has SS Drew Jackson as our #3 prospect, though.  We can cash him in at that value - I'm all for that.


Hey G, Leonys Martin has value in the Wide Wide World of Sports.  The question to be considered by DiPoto Inc. is whether he's now just a 0.2 dWAR guy or again a 2.0 dWAR guy.  It it is the former....then we should capitalize on whatever value he has and explore a swap.

If' he's the 2.0 guy he once was, then he's dang hard to replicate.

For two years running, Fister has been a 1.4  WHIP guy as his BB has jumped from 1.3 to 2.1 to 3.1/9 (caveat:  the 1.3 was a career low) He's also running a HR/9 that is  double for the past three years compared to what it was the three years prior.  If we're buying 180 innings of a #5, then Fister is clearly no worse than that.  But there is no clear indication that he's much better, either.

If you can buy him for one year and figure the odds of one of the kids being pretty good next year (which isn't a real long-shot bet), then Fister is an insurance policy without much down side.  This is why I liked the Dickey or Colon play.  Especially Dickey.

But the Field Bet (Moore-Whelan-Povse) is as good as the Fister bet, if you're laying money down on who runs a 110 OPS+ over 160 innings in '17.

Respectfully, as always.....



If the best free agent pitcher Money can buy is Fister or Dickey or somebody, then it might be a good year to run some prospects through the rotation.  


You might have missed it G, but after the Trea Turner trade, MLB changed the rule - draft picks can't be traded until after the end of the season in which they were drafted, instead of after the next draft. So, Lewis, Rizzo, Filia, Burrows, et al *are* tradeable. But I don't think they are going to be. But as I surmised above, I agree the Ms really don't have the chips to trade for much better than Fister.

Hill, Nova, Hammel, Holland --- unless one of those guys is willing to sign, Fister is about as good as it gets.


Glad they switched that up - it was a really annoying rule.  I agree with you, though, they are still not likely to go ANYwhere this offseason.  Unlike the prospects he's been trading, these are DiPoto's guys.   I think it's FA only when looking for an MOR-capable starter.  We've exhausted our reasonable trade capital unless Martin is going. Ya never know...


Sounds like he's wiling to let the SP market develop. January will be the Fister/Anderson guys that'll get a one year deal. 

From the Dutton article: "I know we tend to move a little faster (than most clubs)," he said, "but I don’t imagine that starting pitching is going to be something that we address before the Winter Meetings and, perhaps, not until January."


MLBTR saying the Pirates are aggressively shopping McCutchen, mentioning the Nationals, Rangers, and Mariners specifically. They also note that McCutchen wants to stay in CF. FanGraphs projects Cutch for 3.4 WAR and Leonys Martin for 1.4. But Jerry DiPoto on Brock and Salk specifically noted Martin's play in the first third and last third of the season as being major in the team's success.

I'm VERY skeptical. Would Heredia, DJ, Drew Jackson, one of the SP #6-11 candidates (Zach Lee?), Gohara, and Liberato be enough for Cutch and Tony Watson? If not, if Kyle Lewis, Tyler O'Neill, and Nick Neidert were off-limits, is there even a chance? It looks to me like the Pirates may be dangling him hoping to pick up his replacement (Lewis, Nomar Mazara, Victor Robles) in the deal. Not worth it at that price.

Taro's picture

I'd be down, as long as McCutchen is willing to move to a corner.

Pirates probably aren't going to land a top 25 prospect for him, and our top prospects are being massively overrated right now just due to how thin our system is.

Our window is 1-2 years and seems like the perfect buy low target to me for the next couple years. Still need SP though.

Jet's picture

That package wouldn't come close..try O'Neil and Diaz plus..


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