'Complete player' Semien joins García in 20-20 club

September 1st, 2022

ARLINGTON -- has accomplished a lot in his decade-long career in the big leagues, from an All-Star Game nod to a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award to a pair of top-three AL MVP Award finishes.

But one thing he hadn’t accomplished was a 20/20 season. Until now.

In the Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the Astros on Wednesday, the 31-year-old swiped his 20th bag of the season, giving him his first year with 20-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases.

“It's definitely a cool milestone,” Semien said. “I've always said I just want to score runs. So [that means] running the bases well, running the bases smart. I get a ton of opportunities, especially on the Rangers, to showcase what we can do on the bases. You definitely have an aggressive mindset here. The more the merrier, and I'm going to try and get as many as I can.”

Semien joins outfielder as the second Ranger this year to notch 20 homers and 20 stolen bases. They became just the second duo in Rangers history to have 20-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases in the same season, joining Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler in 2009.

“We just want to be complete players,” Semien said. “I'm sure he has the same mindset of just creating runs and producing runs, and he has all the power in the world as well as speed. I think that's something that's valuable, and he's still got a long way to go in his career. I'm sure he'll do it again and hopefully [accomplish] 30/30.”

Semien topped his previous career high in stolen bases (15 in 2021) earlier this season, due in part to the Rangers’ philosophy of aggressiveness on the bases. Semien has always had the speed, consistently ranking in the 80th percentile in sprint speed according to Statcast, but he’s never used it quite like he has this year with the Rangers.

Being aggressive on the basepaths was one of the most important aspects of former manager Chris Woodward’s offensive approach as a team. At the conclusion of Wednesday's game, the Rangers were leading the American League with 107 stolen bases, six behind the Marlins for the MLB lead.

That philosophy is something that interim manager Tony Beasley has continued in his weeks at the helm.

“To be aggressive enough to get to 20 bags, it's a big deal,” Beasley said. “I'm happy that he feels confident enough to kind of let go and get some bags this year. He probably could have done that at some point in his career, because he has that skill set. It’s just a matter of being aggressive enough to do it. With our mentality running bases here and the freedom that we give guys as far as picking our spots to steal, I think that helps.”

Beasley added that Semien is very “calculated in where he steals and how he does it, never wanting to make an out on the bases.”

Semien only attempted 24 steals this season in order to snag 20. He’s aggressive without being overly risky.

“If we're reckless, that's a different story,” Beasley said. “He doesn't just take off and try to force things. But when he feels like there is an opportunity that presents itself, he takes advantage. He's very smart on the basis; he’s not careless.”

Semien agreed, saying it just wasn’t something he was focused on as much with his previous teams due to the lineup constructions and hitters behind him on the A’s and Blue Jays. Now, he’s able to take the information that’s given to him by the Rangers’ staff and make educated decisions on whether or not to steal.

That has paid dividends for him this season.

“It was just a matter of the opportunities presented to me,” Semien said. “I feel like, in years past, there's been a lot of hitters behind me that can drive me in with a home run, or I just didn't feel as good at stealing bases. I think I'm learning more and feeling good out there. Just learning the league and learning what guys do and what their tendencies are. I'm looking forward to all these years and getting better at it.”