Marcus Semien

26 years old

Bats/Throws: R/R

Height/Weight: 6’0”, 195 lbs

Position: Shortstop






































Per 162






Semien was ranked as the 91st best prospect in baseball heading into the 2014 season according to Baseball America.  


I get it.

You look at Semien and you don’t see any batting average help and moderate stolen base marks. That said, I’m here to tell you that, as Howard Bender and I have been saying, there’s more to like with Semien than most folks seem to realize.

Let’s talk negative.

Semien has a .246 career batting average. He’s hit .246 one of three seasons. The major league average last season was .255. Are there reasons to expect that Semien will improve on those numbers this season?

Semien has a .296 career BABIP. The mark has been .310 in 3-of-4 years, so posting a mark above the .268 he posted last season is extremely likely in 2017. That said, his BABIP rate doesn’t stand out.

Semien has a 23.4 percent strikeout rate. That’s a pace of 147 strikeouts per 162 games. It’s not awful at all, but at the same time it’s not good at all.

Semien doesn’t walk much with a 7.4 percent walk rate. Per 162 games that’s a pace for 47 walks. Yuck.

The result is a 0.32 BB/K ratio for his career. He’s never once reached the 0.40 league average from last season.

Semien has a 28.2 hard hit rate for his career. The league average last season was 31.4 percent

Semien has hit .229 against righties in his career. The mark was .230 the last two season.

Semien is what he is in the batting average category. He’s hoping to be a league average contributor in the batting average category, nothing more.

Semien hasn’t stolen more than 11 bases in a big-league season. At the same time he’s stolen 11 and 10 bases the last two seasons. He’s certainly athletic enough for that trend to go into a third season in 2017. Question for you. Do you know how many shortstops stole 10 bases each of the last two seasons? The answer is just seven men: Elvis Andrus, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Alcides Escobar, Freddy Galvis, Francisco Lindor and Semien.

So why the fandom for Semien? Let’s get to it.

Semien has seen his homer total improve each season from 2-to-6-to-15-to-27. The only shortstops that hit 27 homers last season were Manny Machado, Brad Miller, Trevor Story and Semien. It’s a pretty small list. The question is – is Semien going to be able to maintain that pace?

Semien went from 15 to 27 homers despite gaining only 20 plate appearances, so it wasn’t about a workload increase.

Semien posted a SLG percentage of .435 in 2016, just slightly ahead of his .405 mark in 2015. That’s not a crazy jump and seems more likely general growth from a 25-26 year old player.

Semien saw his Isolated Power mark jump from .147 to .197. That’s a pretty substantial jump and needs more investigation.

Semien posted a GB/FB rate of 0.98 in 2015. The mark was 0.92 in 2016. Identical work.

Semien had his fly ball rate go from 39 percent to 43 percent. That’s not out of line with expectations, just some growth. Should be noted he also had a mark of 39 percent in 2014.

I’m not seeing anything crazy there at all.

So why the homer growth?

If we look at the HR/FB category we see a significant jump last season. Here are the ratios for his four seasons: 8.7, 9.7, 9.1 and 14.7 percent.

In 2016 Semien had only three No Doubt homers.
In 2016 Semien had eight Just Enough homers.
In 2016 Semien had one Lucky homer.

*For more on those categories see All About the Home Run.

Semien averaged 395.6 mph on his home runs last season. Amongst players who had at least 18 homers he was ranked 98th out of 117 qualifiers.

None of that speaks to Semien being a guy that showed enough growth to be expected to hit 25+ homers again in 2017. Twenty is a nice goal for Semien to hope to attain in 2017.

Semien had 72 RBI last season. There were only 11 other shortstops that reached that mark. Semien was excellent last season with a .886 with runners in scoring position. A pullback this season seems likely, but his .782 career OPS with men in scoring position is solid.

Semien scored 72 times last season. That’s not a result of his spot in the batting order, more about that below, or his ability to get on base (.300 OBP last season and .302 for his career). Semien scored 72 times last season cause he knocked himself in 27 times and because he played in 159 games. He’s scored at least 65 runs each of the last two seasons thanks to all his time in the lineup. They aren’t huge numbers but there are only five shortstops who have scored 65 each of the last two years: Elvis Andrus, Xander Bogaerts, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brandon Crawford and Semien.

Let’s add it all up.

How many shortstops had 20 homers with 75 RBI, 70 runs scored and 10 steals last season? There were only three men in that group: Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Marcus Semien.


He will start, and play daily, for the Athletics at the shortstop position. Semien hit all over the order last season with at least 16 outings in the leadoff, second, 7th, 8th and 9th spots. It seems likely that he will once again take up a spot in the bottom third of the order where he made 105 appearances last season out of his 159 outings.  


As of this writing, here is Semien ADP data.



Position Rank







Fantasy Alarm Player Rankings


Semien isn’t a standout player. He’s also overlooked by many folks in a great deal of drafts. It’s reasonable to expect him to be a top-half fantasy performer at shortstop, perhaps even higher. He has power and runs a bit. He plays daily which helps the counting categories. He’s not a batting average guy, and will likely seem some power pullback in 2017, but this is a great “fall back” option that certainly won’t hurt you as much as some folks seem to think in mixed leagues.

10-Team Mixed: He’s not a starter at shortstop here, but he wouldn’t be the worst middle infielder ever. More of a keep it stationary kind of play though.

12-Team Mixed: The counting category production is intriguing, if you’re able to roster guys like Miggy, Votto or Lindor early on. Semien’s cost puts in him into the 20’s in rounds in many drafts. At that cost, you should feel confident drafting Semien.

15-Team Mixed: A potential starter at shortstop, and a cheap one at that. The deeper the league, the less concerning a lower batting average is if that player can contribute in the other four categories.   

AL-Only League: There just aren’t many folks who have the talent to go 20/10 while playing shortstop. Semien is in this select group.


Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 8 PM EDT, Wednesday 7 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 9 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).