Most people in baseball feel that Athletics GM Billy Beane is one of the better GMs in the game. He's built a lot of winning teams on a very limited budget and in a stadium that is very old and not player friendly.
But this offseason, he appears to be off his rocker, yet somehow I still think the A's could battle for a wild card this upcoming season, as they have a good starting rotation and appear to be relying on bounce back seasons from some of their every day players, including Brett Lawrie, Josh Reddick, and Ike Davis among others. Lawrie and Davis are two players Beane acquired this offseason, an offseason where he has turned over practically all of his position players.
Another one of the players Beane acquired this offseason is young infielder Marcus Semien. I wrote about Semien earlier this offseason, after he was traded to the A's in the deal that sent starter Jefff Samardzija to the White Sox. Here are a few excerpts from that article:
Well, Semien is the big winner, as he goes from being a utility bat on the White Sox roster to a starting shortstop in the A's lineup. He may not have the range to play shortstop every day, but he can also play second and third base, so I imagine he will be moved around the infield by Beane and manager Bob Melvin.
Semien has hit well at all levels of the minors, possessing a solid eye at the plate. This issue for Semien is to bring that plate discipline that was on full display in AA and AAA the last two seasons to the big leagues.
That was before the A's traded for second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar. After this deal, the A's lineup should look a little something like this:
C - Josh Phegley
1B - Ike Davis
2B - Ben Zobrist
SS - Yunel Escobar
3B - Brett Lawrie
LF - Billy Burns/Sam Fuld
CF - Coco Crisp
RF - Josh Reddick
That lineup does not include Semien, but I am thinking the A's best lineup will include him at second base, where he is better fit than at shortstop, and with Zobrist in left field. I am not sold on the fact that Billy Burns and Sam Fuld are starting outfielders, so Semien should still see plenty of at bats in 2015. I can see him getting at bats all over the infield, at second base, shortstop and at third base, as Lawrie has never been a picture of good health.
Here is another excerpt from my previous article on Semien, discussing his potential at the plate:
Semien has the power and speed to put up double digit home runs and stolen bases in regular duty, even playing half of his games in Oakland. Playing at three levels in 2013, Semien hit 21 home runs and stolen 26 bases. In AAA and the big leagues last season, Semien his 21 home runs again, but stole just 10 bases. He hasn't shown good plate discipline in the majors yet, but showed an excellent batting eye in AA and AAA over the last two seasons, and it could just be that he needs regular playing time for that skill to show up in the big leagues as well.
Is Semien more of a sleeper than some of the other sleepers I have written about previously? He sure is, and it is possible he isn't even drafted in deeper leagues, but he should be on your radar, as he should still get plenty of at bats in Oakland.