OAKLAND -- Marcus Semien isn't just having the best season of his career. He's putting together an MVP-type season.
The A's shortstop is slashing .275/.359/.496 with 26 home runs, 36 doubles, seven triples, 77 RBI, and 104 runs scored. Semien has been just as good defensively, ranking second among AL shortstops in the SABR Defensive Index rankings.
Perhaps Semien's best case for MVP votes lies in his WAR. The 28-year-old ranks third among AL position players, behind only Mike Trout and Alex Bregman. He has also been extremely durable, playing in every A's game this season.
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Count Oakland manager Bob Melvin among those who believe Semien warrants serious MVP consideration.
"I know we do," Melvin said. "I don't look at everyone's numbers, but I look at his. He's got (104) runs scored and we're at September (8th). So that's pretty amazing. I know he's got a ton of at-bats. He's probably going to have more at-bats in one year than I had in my entire career. But it means he's durable, he hits at the top of the lineup, he's out there every day, and he's as consistent a performer as anybody in the American League."
Semien leads major league shortstops in runs and walks, and he ranks in the top five in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, and on-base percentage. After a shaky start in Oakland, he has improved immensely each season, both offensively and defensively.
"I feel like I'm getting better," Semien said. "I want to be out there every day to get better. I think experience is what helps players get better. That's why I don't ever ask for days off because I know that any given day you can go out there and something may click that you can roll with for a while. Right now, I feel good at the plate with what I'm doing, what I'm looking for, and my approach. And then defensively, just trying to stay solid out there. So it's been good so far."
Of course, Trout remains the clear frontrunner in the AL MVP race, but Semien will likely receive a significant number of votes. And deservedly so.