Oakland Athletics short stop Marcus Semien (10) fields a ground ball in the 8th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Oakland Coliseum on October 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to S.F. Examiner).

Marcus Semien finishes third in American League MVP voting

Two A’s garner top 10 recognition for AL’s top honor for first time since 1994

Marcus Semien said a week ago that it would be tough to beat out Mike Trout for American League MVP, despite having a historic season of his own.

He was right.

Semien garnered 22 third-place votes (but no first- or second-place votes) and finished third in the voting, behind the Angels’ Trout and Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman. They were the only three named on every ballot.

Trout — whose season was shortened by a foot surgery — got 17 first-place votes and 13 second-place votes, while Bregman got 13 first-place votes and 17 second-place. Along with his 22 third-place votes, Semien got six fourth-place votes and two seventh-place votes.

A’s teammate Matt Chapman finished sixth with one fourth-place vote, three sixth-place votes, 10 seventh-place votes, five eighth-place votes, five ninth-place votes and two 10th-place votes. Oakland Gold Glove first baseman Matt Olson got a lone 10th-place vote, from MLB.com’s A’s beat writer Martin Gallegos.

Semien and Chapman — both Gold Glovers — became the first A’s teammates since 1992 to be named in the top six in MVP voting, when Dennis Eckersley won the award, and Mark McGwire finished fourth.

Chapman, the American League third base Gold Glove winner and the league’s Platinum Glove winner, set the A’s record for home runs by a third baseman and led all third basemen in fielding percentage (.981) and defensive runs saved (17).

Semien, the first A’s player to be voted top-three in the MVP race since Miguel Tejada won the award in 2002, was fourth in the Major Leagues in wins above replacement with 8.1, behind National League MVP Cody Bellinger (9), Bregman (8.4) and Trout (8.3).

In Major League history, the only players to surpass Semien’s 2019 totals in runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, walks and stolen bases in the same season are Babe Ruth (1921, 1923) and Lou Gehrig (1927). He started all 162 games for the A’s, and finished in the top five in Oakland history in eight different offensive categories: runs (tied for first), games played (tied for first), at bats (second), extra base hits (third), hits (tied for third), total bases (tied for third), at bats (fourth), doubles (tied for fourth) and multiple hit games (fifth).

Semien has attributed his success to focusing on making better contact. This season, he led the Major Leagues in hard-hit balls (233 over 95 mph) and was third with 57 extra-base hits against fastballs.

Among American League leaders, Semien ranked second in total bases (343); tied for second in times on base (276); third in runs (123), doubles (43) and extra base hits (83); fifth in hits (187); tied for fifth in triples (7); sixth in walks (87); tied for seventh in multiple hit games (53); and ninth in plate appearances per strikeout (7.32). His 123 runs scored tied the Oakland record set by Reggie Jackson in 1969.

Trout, 28, became the second-youngest player to have won three MVP awards (Stan Musial won his third at 27). Even though he played in just 134 games, he still led the Major Leagues in OPS+ (185) and on-base percentage (.4380. He also led the American League in slugging (.645) and OPS (1.083).

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