Marcus Semien has stamped himself as the greatest second baseman in Texas Rangers history after completing the mission to bring the franchise their first ever World Series championship along with his half a billion-dollar double play mate, two-time World Series MVP Corey Seager.
“Everything I ever worked for was for that moment,” said Semien when talking about his clutch bomb in the 9th inning put the game away for good.
“I had to simplify, see the whole field first. I am a pull hitter but needed to stay on the baseball longer.”
After the ball flew over the wall, the team’s quiet leader let out a mighty roar. Semien never shows emotion, whether good or bad. His even demeanor is a constant reminder of the teams “next play” mentality.
He’s also an iron man in today’s game. In 2023, he was MLB’s workhorse. When you combine his postseason, regular season and the All-Star Game, he played in 180 games and recorded an MLB-record record 788 plate appearances.
Marcus Semien Is MLB’s Most Durable Player
Over the last three seasons, Semien has missed just one game.
He never wants an off day, but for the time being he will finally get to enjoy some quality off time atop of the baseball mountain.
Texas Rangers Dynasty?
The Rangers will be returning almost all of their core pieces from this World Series team and with the best middle infield in the game together for at least five more years, championships and championship opportunities could become common practice in Arlington, especially after slaying the dragon known as the Houston Astros.
We aren’t going too far back, just back to August 1st when the Mets gave up on the season and started trading away pieces and journeyman Tommy Pham was shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks who were desperate for a professional bat with some pop, who could help bolster the offense, especially in key hitting situations with men in scoring position.
By August 11th the Diamondbacks were a below .500 team at 56-59, scuffling offensively and desperately fighting to navigate a Wild Card race in one of baseball’s top three toughest divisions. Eventually Pham’s bat, energy and veteran presence started making an impact on the Diamondbacks’ lineup. He also added a legit home run threat to a team who didn’t have one player hit 30 homers.
After a dominating Wild Card series over Milwaukee, the Bros didn’t strike often in the NLCS. In fact, Tommy Pham’s hot bat got so cold midway through the NLDS and into the championship series that he was pulled from the lineup in Game 5.
To that point, Pham had posted just one extra-base hit and struck out 11 times in 36 playoff plate appearances. But championships are not won by a stat sheet of each player’s game-to- game success. It’s about who steps up in the moments when their best is most needed. Pham would redeem himself sooner rather than later.
In Game 6, Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit back-to-back homers in the second inning to spark the scoring and set the tone, forcing a Game 7 with a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Another MLBbro has played a role in the Diamondbacks basically shocking the baseball world. Alek Thomas has hit three huge bro bombs in these playoffs at the age of 23.
With his team trailing by two in the bottom of the 8th, Thomas stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter in Game 4 and hit the biggest home run of the season for the D-Backs to date. And the biggest bro bomb of Thomas’ young career.
Thomas delivered the timely power surge into the pool enroute to a 6-5 Diamondbacks win, which evened the series at 2-2 and turned out to be a pivotal game of the series.
Not too long ago, up until mid-June, Alek Thomas was playing with the Reno Aces in the minor leagues. Slowly but surely, he started acquiring more playing time and became one of those X-factors in the lineup that propelled Arizona to a 28-19 record after Aug 11, into the playoffs and now shockingly playing in the franchise’s first World Series since 2001.
Pham and Thomas’ production wasn’t abundant, but their contributions were timely. They didn’t waste any opportunity to do some heroic sh*t. The headlines are filled with praise for Ketel Marte and he deserves the praise. The second baseman that everyone is finally getting to see on the big stage, was named 2023 NLCS MVP after hitting safely in all seven games of the series.
They scratch, claw and gut their way to victory behind the exceptional pitching of young arms, clutch hitting and the veteran savvy of guys like Pham and six-year cornerstone Lourdes Gurriel Jr, mixed with the youthful exuberance of future NL Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll and second-year rising star Alek Thomas.
“This is amazing. The hard work we put in all …,” said Thomas following the historic Game 7 win. Sky’s the limit for us”
The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently in the rebuilding phase, as they look to continue to add quality pieces to their roster, while developing the ones they already have. One of those pieces is shortstop Jordan Lawlar who was taken sixth overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. The rangy-but-compact prospect stands six-foot-two with a short, compact, powerful swing.
His approach at the plate is reminiscent of baseball Hall of Famer and former New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. Lawlar’s athleticism stands out, but it’s his aptitude and approach that had Diamondbacks farm system director Josh Barfield already calling the young Lawlar the best base stealer in the D-Backs organization.
Lawlar is on the fast track and he’s only 20 years old. He’s considered one of the most talented prospects in all of baseball. He ranks as Arizona’s No.2 prospect, and MLB Pipeline’s No.11 ranked prospect.
Arizona Diamondbacks Have Talented Young Nucleus Brewing
‘King’ Jordan Lawlar, Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas and Druw Jones give the D-Backs a very talented nucleus of players for their future.
Jordan Lawlar will be starting the 2023 season with the Amarillo Sod Poodles. The infielder played in the Futures Game this past season. pic.twitter.com/1R2UoD5N71
Lawlar was the 2021 Gatorade Texas High School Player of the Year, and he’s already made it to the Double-A ranks in two short seasons. Armed with a compact right-handed swing, and the innate ability to recognize pitches, Lawlar is able to produce a solid average and high walk rates. Same as Jeter did when he first arrived back in 1996, winning Rookie of the Year honors.
Some of Lawlar’s other strengths give off strong “Jeter” vibes; his batting eye, mannerism, approach and potential to be great, and the relentless work he’s put into reaching baseball God-like status before ever stepping on an MLB field. His fielding is super solid at shortstop, and he understands angles and ball pursuit. Lawlar has struggled with his footwork at times, committing 29 errors in 87 games last season, which amounts to one every three games, but his bat more than makes up for that.
Diamondbacks quality control coordinator recently told “The Athletic,” this about his star pupil.
In an effort to fix the error issue, Lawlar was in Arizona in mid-January working with infield coach Tony Perezchica and former Gold Glove shortstop Nick Ahmed. It was all about the fundamentals with them, and Lawlar definitely bought in. Perezchica says it’s about doing the basic stuff first and the rest will take care of itself.
“It’s just the basics for him,” Perezchica says. “But for a player with Lawlar’s physical gifts, “the basics are going to be huge.”
As for Lawlar, he wants to be the best and he’s going to continue to strive just for that.
“I want to be the best player,” Lawlar said. “And you can’t be the best player if you’re making errors and you’re not playing elite defense.”
Once Lawlar gets better on defense, the call-up will happen in a matter of time, and it’s highly plausible it happens in 2023.
MLBbro Kyle Lewis seems to have found a stable home with the Arizona Diamondbacks after being traded from the Seattle Mariners. After being part of a virtual MLBbro farm system in Seattle featuring talented fellow MLBbros, Taylor Trammel,Justin Dunn, Justus Sheffield, JP Crawford and Shed Long, Lewis’ showcase of talent was seen far and in between due to knee and leg injuries. Those injuries got Kyle off to a late start in spring training, missing Arizona’s first 10 games.
Kyle Lewis Make His Comeback With Arizona Diamondbacks
But when our MLBbro got on the baseball diamond, he cemented his place on the roster by tearing up opposing pitching with a hitting slash of .480/.581/.960 in his first 31 plate appearances. Add on three home runs and three doubles, the Diamondbacks have already made plans to insert him into the designated hitter role against left-handed pitching.
“It’s going well, I think it’s just about being consistent,” Lewis said on Thursday. “Just be consistent with the preparation and trying to get my body to a place where I wanted to be able to make an impact this year.”
“Hitting all the marks and adding to the workload every day and ability to play more and more, start playing back-to-backs hopefully and then go from there.”
That’s definitely what Arizona Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen is hoping for. Lewis was in his sights when he was with the Boston Red Sox front office back in 2016. Boston just missed potentially taking him with the 12th pick before Seattle snatched him up with the 11th pick.
Rookie of the Year Honors To Possible Stardom?
Kyle Lewis was supposed to be one of the centerpieces of the Mariners youth movement a few seasons ago. He wasn’t just one of the most talented up and coming players on the team, but the AL West division. Our MLBbro’s 2020 American League Rookie of the Year performance did little to diminish those narratives.
The 2021 season was the start of a tough injury stretch for our MLBbro. Surgery from a torn meniscus held Lewis to just 36 games and limited his baseball activities to the point he started the season late the 2022 season.
A concussion limited Lewis to 18 games before he was optioned to Triple A Tacoma.
The Here And Now For MLBbro, Kyle Lewis
Despite only playing 54 games with a batting average of .215 with only eight homers, Mike Hazen is confident in what Kyle Lewis brings to the table.
“He’s a good fit for us, we’re taking a shot at some upside here. He has the power potential, he’s gotten on base when healthy. We feel like this is a good opportunity for us to acquire some potential impact,” Arizona brass said.
Look for our MLBbro to contribute primarily at the DH spot to start the season, but the major change will be in the field. Lewis will be moving to left field from center field. Arizona will look for him to bring occasional power from the right side of the plate.