Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien had a breakout season in 2019. But can he find the same success in the upcoming 2020 season?
The Oakland Athletics enter the 2020 season with a distinct goal of continuing their recent string of postseason appearances. In fact, the franchise is likely setting their sights on their first AL West crown since 2013.
While the powerhouse Houston Astros are still expected to field a good team, their recent sign-stealing scandal and subsequent penalties may leave the door open for the A’s to avoid the one-game Wild Card matchup by winning the division crown.
Oakland has the benefit of several star players to lead them toward success in the 2020s. Matt Chapman will likely be a top contender for another All-Star and Gold Glove selection. Matt Olson also projects to be one of the best power hitters in baseball.
However, there is one player that the A’s will be relying on above all others — shortstop Marcus Semien. After a relatively quiet first few seasons in the major leagues, Semien officially announced his superstar status after a breakout 2019 campaign.
The 29-year-old posted career highs in home runs (33), RBI (92), batting average (.285), hits (187), walks (87), and runs (187). He also led MLB with 162 games played and 747 plate appearances.
All of these factors led to Semien finishing third in the American League MVP voting. While his breakout season was exciting for fans in the Bay Area, one important question remains.
Can Semien repeat his success in 2020 and beyond?
A Potential Repeat
The San Francisco native’s 2019 numbers were incredible. However, they are also an outlier. During the first six seasons of his career, Semien averaged a pedestrian 12 homers and 44 RBI.
He also had one season (2016) in which he recorded another numerical spike with 27 home runs and 75 RBI. He followed up that season with a disappointing 10 homers and 40 RBI in 2017.
Is Semien in danger of repeating this trend with another letdown? Some major prediction sites seem to believe so.
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Baseball Reference projects he will finish next season with 23 home runs and 74 RBI. While this would still make him one of the better shortstops in the game, he would certainly be removed from any MVP talks.
For what it’s worth, fantasy baseball sites have Semien hitting somewhere in the range of 23-28 homers and 64-75 RBI.
There is one major factor for Athletics fans to be encouraged by — Semien’s hard-hit rates. MLB Statcast shows that the budding star had a 6.3 Brls/PA% last season.
This was the fifth-highest number amongst shortstops (ahead of stars like Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Trevor Story). While this is certainly not an argument ender, hard-hit numbers are generally a good indicator of a player’s staying power.
A Prediction for 2020
I predict that Semien will prove that he is a legitimate star in the major leagues. While he will likely see a slight statistical decline this season, he will still post All-Star-worthy numbers.
I say he will finish the 2020 season with 28 homers, 85+ RBI, and 180+ hits. He will also be an integral part of the Athletics who will be pushing for their third consecutive playoff berth.
How do you think Marcus Semien will fair next season?