Originally posted on Grab Some Bench  |  Last updated 8/1/13
We’ve heard a lot of late about the upside that recent acquisitions Brandon Jacobs and Avisail Garcia – and deservingly so. They both have bright futures as Rick Hahn’s first youngster acquisitions as White Sox general manager. But we can’t forget to keep focusing on those under-the-radar guys throughout the organization, and one name to focus on is Marcus Semien, who may just be the next short stop in line. While first-round pick Tim Anderson continues to develop in the minors for the next couple years, assuming Alexei Ramirez is dealt at some point, we’re going to need someone to take over the short stop duties. With 20 year-old Carlos Sanchez stalling big time in AAA after his breakout 2012 campaign, the Birmingham Barons’ Semien has impressed in AA. In fact, he's impressed so much, that he's earned a promotion to AAA Charlotte, further making his clain that he could be a guy to help the White Sox sooner rather than later. Semien is 22 years old (turning 23 in September) and is finding his first prolonged success as a professional this year. After posting a .253 average and a .696 OPS for the Kannapolis Intimidators in 2011, he improved drastically for the Winston Salem Dash in 2012, putting up a .273 BA and a .833 OPS. And this year, he’s somehow managed to improve upon his numbers yet again. He was actually hitting quite similarly to last year through the season’s first three months, but he’s been en fuego in July. Through 26 games (as of July 31), he's hitting .372 in 94 at-bats. And in those at-bats, he has smacked eight doubles, nine home runs, and one triple while driving in 20 runs, drawing 29 walks, and stealing six bases. Have a month, why don’t ‘ya. His season statistics are now very worthy of garnering some attention: he’s got a .290 BA, .903 OPS, has drawn 84 (!) walks, hit 31 XBH’s (including 15 HR’s), swiped 20 bases all while only fanning 66 times (16.7%). So his name has certainly sky-rocketed at or near the top of names of those who will be the next leadoff hitter for the White Sox. Many have said that the team isn’t too eager to move Alejandro De Aza because he’s under control for a couple more years at a very reasonable price, but if they do shop him, Semien will definitely have a case for being the next man in line. The California Golden Bear has a bit of an advantage right now over Indiana Hoosier Micah Johnson, I’d say, because he’s obviously ahead of him (AA to A+), but also because his defensive game in the middle of the infield is much more refined. As Johnson continues to excel this season, his defense could easily hold him back a bit, whereas Semien doesn’t worry those within the White Sox organization too much. So, when will we see Semien? Due to the fact that short stops are always fairly scarce throughout the league, I think Rick Hahn will be able to deal Alexei by the time spring training starts next year. If he can do that, Semien will compete with the likes of Carlos Sanchez, Tyler Saladino, Micah Johnson, and any others that Hahn acquires between now and then for the SS or second base job, depending on where Gordon Beckham is. Again – a lot has to happen before we see Semien in the black pin stripes. But again, he’s done a great job in getting himself to the top of the waiting list, so he’s definitely one of the names you should monitor very closely in the coming months.
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