Why this Ranger is drawing Beltré comps

September 15th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry's Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ARLINGTON -- isn’t breaking Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games played record anytime soon, but there’s no doubt the second baseman values playing every day. 

It’s one thing Semien says he’s prided himself on since his first callup with the White Sox in 2013. 

“I think if you are ready to go, you should be ready to go,” Semien said. “When I came up, I played behind a guy [Alexei Ramirez] who played every day. It’s my time to play, and I want to be ready to play.”

That’s proven to be true. 

Since becoming an everyday player in 2015 with Oakland, Semien has played a full 162 games twice (‘19, ‘21) and over 155 games three other times (‘15, ‘16, ‘18). He also played 53 games of the COVID-shortened 60-game ‘20 season, and he played just 85 games in ‘17 when he missed time with a right wrist contusion. This season, he’s played all but one game, when former manager Chris Woodward gave him a day off after a slow start to his season at the plate. 

In all, following Tuesday’s game against the A’s, Semien had played in 1,076 of a possible 1,174 games since the start of 2015 (92 percent of possible games), which would be 10th most over that period. 

Semien was tested in his endeavor to play as many games as possible this week, when the Rangers endured a stretch of four games in three days with a doubleheader in Miami on Monday. He played every game without missing a beat, going 7-for-18 with a home run, three doubles and three RBIs during that stretch.

“He takes pride in playing every day,” said interim manager Tony Beasley. “To him that’s important. He doesn’t want to take a day off, period. He prepares his body. He's regimented. He has his routine to get himself ready to play every day. And that's his mindset. I respect that. Posting up consistently for a 162-game season is not an easy task. But that's how he's wired. He's a gamer.”

Beasley sees Semien as a model example for the younger players around the Rangers’ clubhouse, pointing to Texas great Adrián Beltré as a leader who influenced teammates like Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus to have that same mindset. 

Semien knows what it feels like to sit behind someone who wants to be on the field every day. When he got the opportunity to be an everyday player, he took full advantage. 

What sets players like Beltré and Semien apart from less durable Major Leaguers is that while they can play every day, they also take care of their bodies in order to not get fatigued by the grind of an MLB season. And they continue to produce on top of it.  

“You learn from different guys that you're around,” Beasley explained. “Everybody's experience shapes them to have a certain mindset. Adrián loved to play every day, and because he would play injured, Elvis and Odor didn't feel like they could take a day off as well because of his mindset. Adrián played every day, no matter what. 

“So Semien was shaped by that experience coming up. He saw the guy in front of him who played every day. That meant a lot to him. That's how he trained himself mentally and physically to do what he's doing. It starts with your mindset. And that's just the norm for him. It's not abnormal that he wants to play 162, no ifs, ands or buts about it. That's valuable. You got a guy that's willing to post up every day, that can be productive doing it. But he makes sure he puts in the work that it takes to allow his body to do that.”