Thursday, April 18, 2024

A Moment About Rangers Second Basemen


There's been something I've been thinking about a great deal since January, and I've realized that it applies to Marcus Semien as well.

Ian Kinsler's gonna be up for Baseball Hall of Fame induction next year, and I don't think anybody is prepared for his case as one of the best all-around second basemen of his generation. From 2007 to 2016 there was only one case where Kinsler finished a season with a WAR lower than 4. A grade-A defender with contact perks that could hit 30 homers when he needed to, and played for three different World Series squads, the first two of which he was a postseason standout for. A lot like Scott Rolen, the teams Kinsler was on would not be the same without him, and he's a very big reason why the 2010s Rangers teams contended for the gold. I do not think he's a first ballot Hall of Famer, hell he might even fall off after 10 or so years, but people are gonna have more to say about him than they might be thinking. 

Which brings me to another Rangers second-baseman. Marcus Semien. Right now, at 33, Semien has a career WAR total of 42.7, 18th highest active total in the game, and behind Giancarlo Stanton, who's progressing at a slower rate than he is right now. Like Kinsler, Semien only has one season in a period where his WAR is lower than 4; since 2018 he only has the 2020 season as a subpar frame; everything else has highs even higher than Kinsler's. Hell, the combined total for this period is 34.3, which is a pretty damn good stretch. That includes his colossal breakout year in 2019, his landmark 45-homer year with Toronto, and his 2023 season that ended in a ring. 

And Semien just has higher spikes in individual figures as well. Colossal batting figures, colossal fielding numbers, higher base running marks in the last few years. Semien has become a very consistent, very versatile weapon for any competitive team, and the fact that he's been able to prove that his 2019 year wasn't a fluke has proven his staying power. If pretty much every one of his last several seasons have been the quality of his 2019 season, that just tells you Semien was a late bloomer that needed that one moment to shift into high gear. And he's here, and he's not stopping anytime soon.

Marcus Semien's at the point where if he has a few more years like this he could be an Adrian Beltre-style 'just look at his second act' HOF case. Obviously it's not guaranteed yet, we have to figure out how long his peak years last and what else happens in him, but he's been insanely good the past 5 years in a way few players have been. And right now he's off to a start that would indicate another strong year, with 16 RBIs and 21 hits in 19 games. Semien can just dominate wherever you look now, and he intends to keep doing so.

The Rangers are still in decent shape. I think that losing Cody Bradford isn't ideal, and hopefully Jack Leiter mellows out after his dismal debut earlier today, but this team has the kind of depth that keeps assuring me. Like, their pitching is awesome even without Scherzer or DeGrom. That says a lot. It also says a lot that the team's using Jared Walsh and Josh Smith at the corners and still doing well. Smith might be a hot commodity for buyers once Jung comes back, he'd make a sweet trade piece. 

The Rangers are still one of the best teams in the league, and it's because of people like Seager, Garcia and Semien, most of whom will probably go down in the game's history. Seager for sure, but possibly Semien as well.

Coming Tomorrow- I don't think anybody foresaw his return from the KBO experiment going as well as it has.

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