Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics
Projected fWAR: 2.3
Current fWAR: 7.3
When looking at his fWAR over the years, Semien has been a moderately productive big-league player. But this year? He’s gone into overdrive. His 7.3 fWAR is only slightly behind guys like Codey Bellinger (7.5), Christian Yelich (7.8), and Alex Bregman (7.8).
Semien’s .894 OPS and 138 wRC+ are easily on track to be career-best marks, while his 2019 homer (32) and RBI (91) totals through 723 plate appearances look similar to what he’s done over the past two seasons combined (25 homers and 110 RBI in 1,089 plate appearances).
So what’s been the biggest difference? Like many hitters this season, the veteran shortstop experience a significant increase in hard-hit rate (32.5% in ’18 to 41.9% in ’19) but also watched his strikeout rate drop by more than four percentage points to 14.0%. Fewer strikeouts and slightly more contact in the zone (88.3% to 89.9%) plus a dramatic improvement in quality of contact will do the trick.
Semien had a great March/April with a 133 wRC+ but came back down to reality (or so we thought) in May with an 81 wRC+. Since then, he hasn’t taken his foot off the proverbial gas pedal. His monthly wRC+ numbers since June read as follows: 122, 148, 151, and 216.