Marcus Semien has the potential to be a fantastic addition to this Blue Jays team. After all, he finished third in AL MVP voting just two seasons ago and was a Gold Glove finalist that same year. Semien is going to be given the opportunity to play every day but the question is ‘at what position?’ In my opinion, the answer is obvious – Semien should be manning third base next season for the Jays.
Second and third are the two most likely options for where Semien will play this season. I think that third base is the more natural fit for this roster as it keeps everyone else at their normal position.
I know that there’s the Cavan Biggio wild card, as he can pretty much play every position on the diamond, but second base is his best spot. Biggio posted a .977 fielding percentage at second last season while saving two runs, which makes him a slightly above average second baseman defensively. At third, Biggio is slightly below average as his fielding percentage drops to .964 and he cost the Jays a run last season posting a -1 defensive runs saved.
Even though Biggio can play third, he’s better suited to play second base and I don’t think continuity is a bad thing in this situation. Keeping him at second and letting him grow there might be a smart move.
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Playing Semien at third will also allow Vladimir Guerrero Jr to stay put at first. I know Vladdy has been throwing around the idea of a potential return to the hot corner all offseason, but I think keeping him at first would be in the team’s best interest, and Vladdy’s as well. The young slugger didn’t get to the big leagues because of his glove; he got here because of his gifted bat, and the Jays should be doing everything they can to allow him to be the best hitter he can be.
I don’t know if asking him to try to take his offensive game to the next level while becoming an adequate third baseman is the best way to do that. I know that Vladdy won’t like this decision, but having a good option to play third like Semien should make it easier to explain to him.
Having Semein at third will allow everyone else on the infield to stay at their natural position, and it will allow the Jays to keep a similar every day lineup instead of having multiple guys playing at third. In addition, playing Semien at third will allow for a smoother transition into next year as well.
Bringing Semien in on a one-year deal increases the chance of 2018 first round pick Jordan Groshans being on the team in 2022. Groshans, who ranks 70th on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects is listed as a shortstop, but projects as a third baseman with his bigger build at 6”3’ 205 lbs and his 60 grade arm. Playing Semien at third would lead to an easy transition for Groshans next season as it wouldn’t require anyone else to move off their position, so top prospect could just slide in at the hot corner.
Playing a combination of Biggio and Vladdy at third while having Semien at second is definitely an option, but with Groshans knocking on the door and primed to play third, I say leave Biggio and Vlad at their normal positions, letting them grow there and let Semien be a bridge gap to Groshans.
Semein gives the Jays versatility, which is something that they love. There are a number of different lineups they can run out on the field. However, I think it is better for this team short term and long term to have him at third.