Headed for another 3rd place finish?
Back in 2019, Marcus Semien was considered to be one of the best players in the American League. He was so good that year that he ended up finishing 3rd in AL MVP voting behind only the winner in Mike Trout, who just slightly edged out Alex Bregman. Trout finished with 355 voter points, Bregman with 335, and Semien not far behind with 228, making it a legitimately close race.
If I were laying some money down on how I think the results are going to play out for 2021, I’m willing to bet that Semien will end up with another 3rd place finish.
As I’ve already talked about in this article, I’ll reluctantly concede that Shohei Ohtani is the favourite for the award. I believe that Ohtani’s closest challenger in the voting will be Guerrero Jr., but I’ll also recognize that it’s a debate whether that should be the case.
Semien has been fantastic in his first season in Dunedin/Buffalo/Toronto, and could make a legitimate claim to the title as the most valuable Blue Jay in 2021. Headed into the season’s last six games he’s been about as steady as you could ask for while playing in all 156 games thus far. He’s slashing .268/.339/.543 with 43 home runs, 39 doubles, 99 RBI, and 15 stolen bases. The 31 year old has been a quality contributor on both sides of the ball, and he’s earned 7.2 bWAR and 6.5 fWAR, easily putting him among the best in the AL. His 43 home runs also tie him for the most in MLB history from a second baseman, and he has six more games to take the honour all to himself.
Like Robbie Ray, Semien is working on a one year deal as well, and is all but guaranteed to sign a huge long-term deal this winter. He’s been exactly what the Blue Jays hoped for and more after signing on a one-year “show me” contract, and there’s a solid case that he’s been their best player throughout the year.
If I had a vote for the MVP of the Blue Jays this year, I’d probably vote for Semien after beating myself up over the debate for several hours. I still think he’ll finish third behind Ohtani and Vlad Jr. when all is said and done, but he’s been every bit as important to the Blue Jays success in 2021, and one of the best free agent signings in franchise history.