Much like Carlos Sanchez a year ago, Marcus Semien is on the fast track within the White Sox organization.
Thus far, the results have been mixed.
While at Double-A, Semien had a 17.4 walk percentage and a .420 OBP, but for the Knights, those rnumbers have dropped to 8.4 and .310, respectively, in 20 games, according to Fangraphs.com.
Since getting on base has been one of his main strengths—and one of the things the White Sox are in the most dire need of—he needs to get back to taking pitches.
Thankfully, it appears that Semien senses the same thing. In an interview with Mark Liptak and Jim Margalus from SouthSideSox.com, the Cal-Berkley product said that, “any pitch is fair game in any count, so you have to be patient and learn to hit the right pitches.”
Simply put, the White Sox’s sixth-round selection in 2011 is swinging at pitches that are outside of the zone because he has yet to learn the league. Once he does, his exceptional eye will take over and Semien will again put up the type of numbers that are sure to turn heads.
It will be on him to practice the patience that helped him find the successes he has to this point in his career.
Now, while the dip in his OBP is a bit concerning, Semien has continued to hit the ball with authority.
In his short time at Triple-A, he has a fairly impressive .507 slugging percentage and has already hit four home runs and collected six doubles in only 75 at-bats. Let’s not forget that his ability to hit for power was one of the unknowns entering this season.
How closely do you follow the progress of prospects like Semien?
After hitting 14 home runs at High-A Winston-Salem last year, ScoutingBook.com wrote this past winter that Semien will “be rocketing up prospect lists if that power increase turns out to be for real.”
Well, with 19 combined home runs this season and an overall .483 slugging percentage, the 22-year-old has proven that 2012 was no fluke.
It must be noted that although Semien is only hitting .253 at Charlotte with his .310 OBP, he has hit safely in eight out of his last 10 games and has a .228 IsoP (Isolated Power) entering play on Wednesday.
Semien’s future with the White Sox is bright, but he must seize this opportunity. Look no further than fellow White Sox prospect Carlos Sanchez for an example of how easy it is to lose momentum within an organization.
Sanchez rode an impressive showing at Triple-A Charlotte in 2012 all the way into this year, but only hit .120 in 25 spring at-bats and has yet to fully recover his value, slipping from No. 4 to No. 10 in Mayo’s rankings.
If Alexei Ramirez is dealt this offseason and Semien has a moderately successful showing during spring training next year, he should be on the White Sox's 25-man roster in 2014.
In the meantime, Semien still has a couple of things to work out if his first three weeks at Triple-A are any indication.