Outsiders noticing determination, focus of A’s Semien on improving defense

Marcus Semien is a defensive work in progress, and he's working very hard at it. 

Ed Szczepanski/Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Semien is definitely a work in progress. The Oakland Athletics shortstop hit the All-Star break having committed a ghastly 28 errors as he adjusts to the rigors of being a full-time player at the position.

Semien’s rough first half was one of the most obvious negatives surrounding the A’s start to 2015, though he has put in a tremendous amount of work over the past month and a half with Ron Washington, brought in by Oakland to focus on improving the young infielder’s defense. 

As John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group pointed out in a new piece detailing Semien’s defensive struggles, some outsiders have taken note of his progress – and his relentless determination. 

One AL Central scout was quoted by Hickey as saying the following regarding Semien: "He has a lot more confidence playing the position than you would expect from someone who has those error numbers. When he does make an error they aren’t panic errors. He’s not playing afraid. He’s made mistakes, sure, but he’s not playing expecting things to go wrong. So the more he’s out there, the better he’s starting to look."

Part of Semien’s confidence level, he told Hickey, has to do with the fact that he’s an everyday player: "It’s big for me knowing I’m going to be playing every day. There’s a lot that I’m learning, and I continue to learn, a lot of mistakes that I’m working my way through. I want to build on what I’m doing well and see where I need to get better, and I’m having the chance to do that every day."

As for Washington, who gets a more extensive look at Semien’s progress each day than everybody else, he sees big things in his future: "This guy is going to be good. He’s a great athlete, and he has a great work ethic. When you put those two things together, good things happen."

Semien may have 28 errors, and he may have had one of the worst defensive first halves in A’s history, but it hasn’t affected his confidence – or the A’s faith that he’s well on his way to turning things around.

(h/t Inside Bay Area