Texas Rangers' second baseman Marcus Semien is all about being in the lineup and contributing in a big way. Semien isn't the flashiest, biggest, or fastest guy that plays for the Rangers, but for the first two months of the season, he has been the best.
Texas Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien on an 18-game hit streak
Currently, Semien is on an 18-game hit streak, which is also the longest in his illustrious career. He is currently tied with Freddie Freeman for the longest active hit streak in MLB after Freeman picked up a hit in last night's Dodger's game. Unlike Will Ferrell in "Old School", who thought that he was going streaking with his buddies and ended up alone, Semien has Josh Jung currently going along with him. The rookie third baseman is on a 12-game hit streak of his own.
Last season when Semien and Corey Seager came to Texas, they were the main attractions, on a not great ball club. For the most part, things needed to run through them, and there was the pressure of living up to expectations after signing their long term, high dollar contracts. After a painfully slow start, Semien would go on to have a respectable 2022 season, but nothing like he was capable of doing.
Marcus Semien putting up MVP caliber numbers for the Texas Rangers
Fast forward to 2023, and Semien isn't just the MVP of the Rangers so far. Two months into the season, he is putting himself squarely in the conversation for AL MVP as well. When Seager went down with a hamstring injury on April 11th, Semien quietly stepped forward and helped carry the team. He isn't a guy that is going to be yelling and screaming at his teammates to get them going, he is going to go out and produce day in and day out. Semien hates to take days off and has only sat out one game for the Rangers over the last two years.
Because he doesn't try to draw attention to himself, he can sometimes fly under the radar, but his numbers are at the tops of MLB. One key number that MVP voters look at these days is WAR (wins above replacement). While Fangraphs (fWAR) and Baseball-Reference (bWAR) use slightly different formulas in the calculations, Semien is ranked near the top in both. Among position players, his 2.5 fWAR ranks 7th in MLB and 4th in the AL, while his 3.2 bWAR puts him 2nd in both MLB and the AL.
In both 2019 and 2021, Semien finished third in the AL MVP voting, so perhaps he is partial to odd numbered years. His statistics this season are matching up nicely with those two campaigns. In 2023, Semien has played in all 53 games. Out of the leadoff spot is hitting .298/.368/.486, has 13 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 44 runs batted in, an AL leading 47 runs, seven stolen bases, and a 136 wRC+.
Not only is Semien doing it with the bat, but he has been flashing some serious leather as well. It is widely known that Semien gives much of his development and maturity on the defensive side of the ball to Ron Washington. When they were both in Oakland, Washington took Semien under his wing and helped get him to the place that he is now. This is just another case, as Rangers fans, that we should thank the legendary Wash.
Marcus Semien is a player that is easy to cheer for and one that people should encourage their kids to follow. He plays the game the right way and does so at the highest of levels. Currently he has a career best hitting streak going. Perhaps at the end of the season, he will find himself still in the middle of the MVP race.