Happy birthday to Marcus Semien, who turns 32 years old today.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me tweet last night and today about Semien’s surprising bWAR on the season. Marcus Semien got off to an abysmal start to the 2022 campaign, as we all recall, and he bottomed out on May 14, when he went 0 for 4 for the sixth straight game, dropping his OPS on the season to 418.
Semien has quietly been really good since then though, slashing .274/.329/.492 in 112 games from May 15, giving him a slash line for the season of .249/.305/.432. That’s good for a 108 OPS+ which, combined with his solid baserunning and defense, would be expected to result in him grading out as a solid regular this year.
I didn’t realize until last night that that may be underselling him, though. I went to the Rangers’ B-R page for 2022 to check out the headshots of the top 12 Rangers in bWAR this year, expecting to see Corey Seager or Martin Perez at the front of the list, and did a double-take when I saw Marcus Semien there. Semien is currently sporting a 5.1 bWAR for 2022 — best on the team, and ninth among position players in the American League.
If we look at Fangraphs, fWAR isn’t quite as high on Semien’s year — he has a 3.9 fWAR, tying him with Corey Seager for first on the Rangers and 17th in the A.L. Still, him coming out as a top 20 position player in the league so far this year isn’t what I think most of us would have guessed.
Semien grades out well defensively in DRS, UZR and OAA. The part of his game that we may be overlooking, though, is his baserunning — Fangraphs has him second in the A.L. in baserunning this year, at +6.6 runs. That trails only Adolis Garcia (+7.3), and he’s over a full run ahead of the next closest American League player. In fact, only Myles Straw, Nicky Lopez and Bobby Witt, Jr., are above a +5 in baserunning runs in the A.L. this year, per Fangraphs.
Despite the slow start, Semien has ended up having a very good season for the Rangers in the first year of a seven year deal he signed this offseason. Hopefully we will see quite a few more from Semien going forward.