During the course of a 162 game baseball season, injuries are inevitable. Teams know that they must stockpile depth at all positions in order to be ready for an abrupt injury. More playing time for the person taking over could be beneficial in their development. While nobody is happy when a player is on the shelf for sometime, a team must look for the positives that may come from an opportunity that comes for the next man down the line.
Reports circulated yesterday that Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham will start the season on the disabled list. There has been a few setbacks on his road to recovery from a strained oblique. In the meantime, Marcus Semien is projected to be the Opening Day second baseman for the White Sox. Semien, a 23 year old, is seen as a key piece in the rebuilding movement on the Southside of Chicago.
A sixth round draft pick three years ago, Semien provides much more offense than Leury Garcia, who will be his backup to start the year. Considered by many as a top five prospect in the White Sox organization, Semien has all the tools to be an everyday second baseman.
During a brief 21 game stretch with the Sox last season, Semien hit .261/.268/.406 with two homers and seven runs batted in. His strike zone discipline is rated as the best in the Sox organization, but was not shown much during his cup of coffee with the big league club last season. Unlike most of the prospects that are the focal points of the White Sox’s future, Semien has shown that he can get on base consistently, as seen by his .372 OBP in the minors last year.
While he was a shortstop by trade, his arm stretch forced coaches to move him to second base. While at the University of California, Semien impressed scouts with his range. This should be beneficial in his continued development at a new position, because his ability to cover ground in a hurry will make up for his lack of arm stretch. The way Semien closes in on the ball also gives the Sox hope that he can be an adequate defender in the future.
It is an interesting time in White Sox baseball. When Kenny Williams was the general manager, a year when the team would experiment with so many prospects was unheard of. Now under Rick Hahn, this will become the norm. While the White Sox will miss Beckham’s defense, it is time to give Semien a chance. If he can prove that he has what it takes to stick in the majors, that makes Beckham expendable.
A 27-year-old second baseman who might just need a change of scenery to live up to his potential, Beckham would bring back a quality return. If Semien progresses as an everyday player, the Sox might be able to make the best out of a bad situation. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.