Marcus Semien, who began his UC Berkeley career as a third baseman and designated hitter, moved into the upper ranks of baseball’s best defensive players Thursday when the Oakland A’s star was named a finalist for the American League Gold Glove Award at shortstop.
Semien, who father, Darien, played football for the Golden Bears as a wide receiver from 1990-93, was drafted originally by the Chicago White Sox in 2911 shortly after Semien helped Cal make it to the College World Series.
The White Sox mostly used him at third base and second base in his first two big league seasons. The A’s acquired him in a 2014 trade and installed him at shortstop, and the results were grim as he set a club record with 35 errors.
But after spending time with infield coach Ron Washington, Semien’s defensive game continued to improve. In the 2018 season Semien led all Major League shortstops in total chances (676) and most assists (458). He led all AL shortstop in games started (158) while finishing second in putouts (198) and third in double plays (79).
He’s a longshot to win the Gold Glove, however. His competition for the award, which will be announced early next month, includes the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons and the Indians’ Francisco Lindor.