For the first time since 2002, the Oakland A's have a top-three finisher in the MVP voting.
Marcus Semien was named a finalist for the AL MVP Award on Monday night, joining Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Our Hometown Hero is being recognized on the national stage.— Oakland A's (@Athletics) November 5, 2019
Marcus Semien has been named a finalist for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. pic.twitter.com/euUwD7nGC2
"It's really cool," Semien said on a conference call. "I was just sitting there with my family on the couch and we were just kind of hoping. It's going to be tough to win it, but just to be top three and see your name in between those guys, it's really cool."
Semien, 29, enjoyed a career year, slashing .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, 43 doubles, seven triples, 92 RBI, and 123 runs. He ranked second in the AL with 343 total bases and third with 83 extra-base hits, while starting every game of the season at shortstop.
"The 162 games played was a big one for me," Semien said. "I think just the extra-base hits and total bases, I was very happy about. Those led to a lot of runs scored, so these are things that helped us win, I think. When you're scoring runs in the leadoff spot, getting on base, the walks were higher, so just all of those numbers and seeing how well our team did in the second half this year really made me happy."
Defensively, Semien was a Gold Glove Award finalist for the second straight year. He led AL shortstops with a .981 fielding percentage, 436 assists, and 85 double plays. His 7.8 SABR Defensive Index ranking was second-best.
"I think, first, just being out there on the field every day and learning," Semien said of his breakout season. "Learning about my swing, figuring out a better approach than I've had in years past. Defensively, cut the errors down. But really, the offense -- the OPS and everything just shot up once I started controlling the strike zone. You start to get better pitches to hit and you do more damage with them."
Semien will try to become the eighth A's player ever to win the MVP Award and the first since Miguel Tejada in 2002. It won't be easy, as Trout and Bregman are considered the favorites.
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Trout, already a two-time MVP, slashed .291/.438/.645 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI. Bregman posted a .296/.423/.592 slash line with 41 homers and 112 RBI.
The winner will be announced on Nov. 14.