Marcus Semien has been promoted to the major leagues as a September call up, and he is one of the more interesting prospects I have been following this season. I own Semien in a dynasty league and although I am out of contention, I am eager to see what he can do against major league pitching in the next months’ worth of play.
If Semien is going to play every day, I like him as a late season middle infield option for teams struggling in that area. This season between double and triple-A, Semien has hit 19 home runs and stolen 24 bases in 29 opportunities. Semien also produces a very solid approach at the plate, which is one of the big reasons that I like his chances to sustain solid production at the major league level. In 483 double-A plate appearances he had a 17.4% walk rate and a 13.7% strikeout rate, showing that he was clearly far ahead of the pitchers at this level.
Semien has good size and athleticism on top of the solid approach, which has me even more confident that he can be a regular in the majors. His ISO numbers are not incredible in the minors, but for a middle infielder he packs an interesting combination of power and speed.
The 2011 second rounder has been called up and will likely start Wednesday against the Yankees although it has not been announced. Scouting reports peg Johnson with a mid-90’s fastball, a solid slider, and a changeup which essentially works as a show pitch. It should also be noted that Johnson is a big boy, standing 6”3 at 235 lbs.
His results since returning from an early 2012 injury have been incredible across every level. He has stacked impressive strikeout numbers on top of solid walk numbers and exceedingly low ERA’s. In 10 starts at triple-A, Johnson had a 1.57 ERA and 2.59 FIP. He has never posted an ERA higher than 2.74 at any level he has thrown at, aside from his two inning stint in rookie ball the year he was drafted.
Johnson has the stuff to be a solid middle of the rotation starter with the potential to maybe be a number two at some point. I really like him in long term leagues and I am intrigued by him in leagues this season as well. I would be worried to start him in Yankee Stadium this week but I am certainly looking at picking him up in leagues in which it would be advantageous for me to do so.
Both Johnson and Semien do the things you want to see young prospects do at the minors. They do not rely on any one specific attribute to contribute to their success and both have performed very well at a number of different levels. If you are in need of production at shortstop or starting pitcher, these are two guys to keep an eye on.
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