In 2022, the Rangers still lost more than 90 games, but the additions of Seager (4.1 bWAR) and Semien (5.7 bWAR) were clear steps in the right direction in the club’s journey back to contention in the American League.
Neither of the middle infielders had the season he would have liked, or the type of season he's used to, but the half-billion-dollar signings definitely don’t look quite as bad as they did around May, when Seager and Semien were slumping heavily at the same time.
Semien was notably among the worst hitters in baseball over the first two months of the season and didn’t even hit a home run until May 28 in Oakland. That homer may have been what helped him turn the corner.
Semien’s first 45 games: .196/.258/.268, one homer
Semien's next 115, entering Game 162: .268/.322/.492, 25 homers
Despite his struggles over the first two months, Semien went on to be the Rangers’ most valuable player in 2022. He scored 101 runs, he put up his first 25-25 season of his career, his defense was nearly gold once again, and his fWAR (4.1) and bWAR (5.7) are both in the top 30 in the American League.
“Yeah, I mean, I started off slow,” Semien said. “I think that I got more comfortable as we got into June. I would say I stick with the same process every day, I do the same work, make adjustments when I need to, and I'd say since June, I’ve just felt a lot better than in the beginning.”
While Semien started slow and finished strong, Seager did almost the exact opposite. The shortstop finished 2022 going 24-for-122 over his last 30 games, good for a .197 average. He logged a career high in homers (33), but a career low in batting average (.245) and on-base percentage (.317).
While it’s not ideal, it’s also safe to assume that Seager’s 2022 season is the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to his season-long production.
Interim manager Tony Beasley gave his thoughts and evaluations on the two “pillars” in their debuts with the Rangers’ organization.
Beasley on Seager: “I think he would tell you that he hasn’t had the season he’s capable of having. Obviously, his numbers are OK, homers- and OPS-wise, but he’s used to hitting for a higher average. He'll tell you that there's more production from Corey Seager than what we've seen this year on a consistent basis. He's had a good year though. If this is what a bad year looks like for Corey Seager, I think a lot of other teams will take it. I still think the best is yet to come.
“The whole year is an adjustment for him as well. It's a new environment, new scenario. It's nothing like what he's accustomed to, as far as winning and things of that nature. It's just a whole different scenario for him as well. It's an adjustment, but I think he's had a good year. I don't think it's been a great year. He wouldn't say it's a great year. But I think moving forward, we'll see the best of Corey Seager.”
Beasley on Semien: “I think he had a really good year. He started slow, but I mean, there's no question about his ability and what he brings to the table. We know that he's a winning player, that he's going to contribute. He's shown that he's going to contribute in different facets -- defensively, on the bases, offensively. He has a skill set that can do a lot of different things with the baseball, just stealing bases and everything, really. He's had a really, really good year. He's kind of historically been a slow starter. But you know, he's had a good year."