MLB: The most valued shortstops of 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Boston Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) turns a double play in the eighth inning during the game between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies on September 15, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Boston Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) turns a double play in the eighth inning during the game between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies on September 15, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Marcus Semien of the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Marcus Semien of the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

1.       Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics, $8.758 million value; $5.9 million salary.

Had you done this rating one year ago, Semien’s name would not have come up. His emergence in 2019 is a testament to the accumulated knowledge of a seven-season progression up the game’s ladder, and to the player’s ability to draw the right lessons through that progression.

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To say that 2019 was a breakout is to state the obvious. Semien batted .285 with 33 home runs, 92 RBIs, and an .892 OPS. All of those figures are career highs by wide margins. It was chiefly for those reasons that he finished third in the most Valuable Player voting.

All that offense translated to an 8.1 WAR, best at the position and trailing only Cody Bellinger, Alex Bregman and Mike Trout among all of baseball. As a shortstop, it translated to $5.491 million in on-field value.

His defense, while not great, was good enough. Semien’s .981 fielding percentage ranked sixth and his 3.9 chances per nine innings, precisely the positional average, placed him only 16th. They translated to $993,000 and $983,000 in value respectively . He did that across 1,435 innings, making him the position’s most-used player, and worth $1.292 million.

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Like Story, Semien is a third year arbitration-eligible in 2020, and he projects to command up to $13 million. That’s serious money in Oakland – only Khris Davis among the current Athletics makes more. But Semien has blossomed into a serious player.