Prospect Q&A: White Sox SS Marcus Semien on Going to Birmingham, Playing with Carlos Sanchez, Hitting off Alex Meyer

Twenty-twelve was a tale of two seasons for 17th-ranked White Sox prospect Marcus Semien. Here are his pre- and post-All-Star break splits from a season ago:

Pre: 45 G — .245/.316/.410 — 45 Ks in 173 ABS — 1 SB

Post: 62 G — .290/.392/.514 — 52 Ks in 245 ABS — 10 SB

I caught up with Semien — a 2011 sixth-round draftee and now a 22-year-old shortstop that’s a non-40-man roster invitee rubbing elbows with Chicago’s mainstays in Arizona — this afternoon over the phone. Here is some of our quick conversation.

(Dano Keeney/

(Dano Keeney/

On his first big league camp: “It’s been awesome. It’s great to be around guys I grew up watching play. I have always loved watching baseball since I was a little kid, and it’s pretty awesome to be around them. I’ve been here about 10 days now, and I’m feeling more comfortable. And on the Minor League season, I’m just trying to get my work in, getting ready for the season and also watch these big league guys and learn everything I can. The first couple days, I was taking ground balls at short with Angel Sanchez and literally just watching him has helped me. I haven’t gotten a chance to be on the same field as Alexei [Ramirez] or [Gordon] Beckham yet, but Angel has been really helpful. He’s played a lot of years, so he’s got a lot of knowledge. I’m just trying to be more of a sponge.”

On what he’s using Spring Training to work on: “I want to put the ball in play a little bit more and use my speed, steal more bases. Second half of last year, I started running more, and I’d like to carry that on to this year. In general, the second half [of 2012] was a lot better than the first half for, so I want to keep that going.”

On his goals this season: “First goal is to make the [Double-A] Birmingham team. Secondly, just cut down the errors wherever I can [24 in 107 games in ’12] and make sure that my pitchers feel very confident with me behind them. Offensively, I want to continue what I did in the second half, drive the ball more.”

(Roger Peterson)

(Roger Peterson)

On No. 4 White Sox prospect Carlos Sanchez, whom Semien has shared SS/2B duties the past two seasons: “What I love about him on defense is he’s got great feet. He keeps his feet moving, and also another thing: A ball that is a tougher ball to read [where] you might have to drive, he usually catches it. It’s real tough as an infielder to make those diving plays and actually secure the catch. A lot of times, I’ll dive and just miss it, or it will pop out of my glove or something. I’ve noticed I’ve had some — not issues — but I need to practice more on that, and he’s very good at that.”

On playing with Sanchez at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in 2012: “Shoot, he was awesome at both [shortstop and second base]. I had a little injury, and he was playing short full-time, and I got a chance to sit back on watch him play short, and he was awesome: great range, great arm, great instincts — pretty much everything you want in a middle infielder. When you can have two guys up the middle who are interchangeable, it’s always a plus. We try to push each other to get the best out of each other. Whether I am playing short and he’s at second, or I’m at second and he’s at short, we try to play as best as we can together when the game starts.”

On the best pitcher he’s faced in the Minor Leagues: “Last year, I had a pretty tough game [0-for-3 with three strikeouts] against Alex Meyer from [Class A Advanced] Potomac [on Aug. 12]. He’s probably one of the better ones I have seen. [With Meyer’s height, 6’9”], I was not able to pick up the ball. One of worst games of the year was against him. He throws hard and has a good slider.”


Kid is going to be a stud. Just give him some time.

Pingback: Marching through Spring Training « The Dash Board

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