When shortstop Addison Russell was traded to the Cubs for pitcher Jeff Samardzija, many questioned what the A’s would do to fill a long term need at short.
Well, for now, it’s Marcus Semien. And if he earns it, and the front office decides to spend a little more in order to keep some talent around, he could be the long term answer.
Semien, who grew up in El Cerrito and attended UC Berkeley, has proven to be an above-average hitter at shortstop. In 300 at bats with Chicago, Semien has eight homers and 14 doubles.
He has also shown to not a defensive liability, albeit in a short period of time, which is rare for many slugging middle infielders.
Rarely can a shortstop truly hit for power. Even less common can a shortstop that can hit for power but also keep up a solid on-base percentage.
Semien hasn’t proven that he can do the latter. But he’s young and there’s certainly room for growth.
Semien’s weakness, like many young players, is his lack of plate discipline. In 326 major league plate appearances, he’s struck out 92 times against 22 walks.
His on-base percentage with the White Sox in 2014 was a pedestrian .300, which he should be able to improve upon.
Semien also hits a lot of grounders to his own position, which is fairly common for a middle infielder, but far from desirable.
In his extremely limited time in the majors, Semien has shown rare pop for a man of his stature, and certainly at short. Listed at 6-foot-1, Semien doesn’t look larger than 5-foot-9.
But his swing is that of a large man, and if he can hone in on the errant swings, Semien can be a top player at the highest level.
In all, Semien has shown enough for this writer to draft him in most, if not all, of fantasy baseball leagues. He’s also proven to the rest of his teammates that he can be an everyday contributor.
A’s fans should expect just that.