While the lowest hanging fruit of the pun tree lays before me, let history show that I am the better man. One of virtue, respek, and community. Something like that. Anyways, what’s wrong with your Semien? (The SEO gods were never gonna be on my side.) Well, if you asked me that question at the beginning of the year, I might have thought that was too personal of a question more appropriate for your mother to ask. Also, I would say not much! After all, we’re talking about Marcus Semien (right?) and the fact that he finished third in AL MVP voting last year with a robust .265/.334/.538 triple-slash that fueled 45 homeruns and over 100 Runs and RBIs, all inspired without tomato sauce. But with a .162/.224/.215 with zero homeruns in his first 33 games of 2022, one has to wonder how much longer his struggles will continue if only to schedule how much alcohol to drink. What, you don’t have an alcohol calendar? Oh wait, there’s only like a dozen Padres fans…
Entering the season, there were a lot of reasons to dampen Marcus Semien’s outlook a bit. As I alluded to above, he posted career highs in homeruns, RBIs, stolen bases and netted enough runs to be second best in the same regard. They call em highs for a reason, so any rational expectation would be similar output if not worse. But then moving from the Blue Jays to the Rangers also amplified this perception, essentially moving to a less-friendly ballpark and less-productive lineup.
And not for nothing, but I always try to remind myself that these players are human too. Crazy! I know… but still, sometimes it’s easy to forget that everyone is different, and everyone reacts to life changes differently as well. While it’s easy to analyze and draw conclusions from data, who’s to say that something like moving to a new place, having a new job, or working with new people wouldn’t have an effect in some manner or form? Well, I’m here to say that it might! How much though, no idea, but before we get to the numbers, it’s important to note the unquantifiable.
So, as much as I dislike typing a triple-slash line that pedestrian, I must find the courage, but for our own sake (and eyes), let’s pace ourselves and partition the ugly. First up, the .162 batting average. What can you say about a .162 batting average that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan? But! There are some caveats with Semien here in that he was never really a strong average guy, right? Holding a career .253 average, he’s ranged anywhere from .223 all the way up to .285 in that span while maintaining a similar BABIP of .288. With his Contact% only slightly off from last season, 80.4% to 78.2% so far this season, there isn’t too much cause for concern. In terms of his OBP and SLG, while victims of his current hitting funk, the lack of homeruns is probably the real concern.
And you know what? That’s where I have the least concern, and there’s a few reasons why. The first is that sometimes, this is just who Marcus Semien is; a player who struggles out of the gate. Even last season, where his remarkable finishing STATS hid the fact that his April was pretty atrocious with a .211/.290/.368 line and a wRC+ under 100. Now, the seven doubles so far is an encouraging sign, but clearly, his Barrel% and HardHit% are not coming close to last year’s, but you know what is? His exit velocity and launch angle. In short, he’s struggling, but when Semien makes that contact, the swing is generating the same results as last year.
Combining everything that we know, the change of scenery, the history of early season struggles, and the peripheral stats, I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be the same player he always was, albeit with a bit of regression mixed in that was already expected in the preseason. The real question is how long do we have to wait (we must schedule the alcohol!)? It’s a great question because I really can’t answer it, I don’t think anyone can. But after going a combined 36 straight at-bats without a hit, he has gone 2-for-8 in his last two games with a double, which probably would generally bring a collective “meh” but hey, at least he didn’t go 0-for-44, amirite?
Yes, we’re out of April, and yes, he’s been a black hole of production, but everything says he’ll snap out of it, and it should happen sooner rather than later. Much like how my Semien works… ¯\_(?)_/¯
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him on Twitter @jaywrong.