In his first season with the A's in 2015, Marcus Semien led all of Major League Baseball in a stat you really don't want to: errors.
Semien committed 35, eight more than any other player in the league. Fast forward to 2018, and the A's shortstop is a finalist for the Gold Glove Award.
"You see the work ethic and how far he's come," A's manager Bob Melvin said earlier this week. "It's also a credit to Billy (Beane) and David (Forst) to stick with a guy like that. Typically we tend to flip things around if things don't work. But I think everybody saw the potential he had, the commitment he makes every day, and the respect he has from the rest of the players and coaching staff."
Even in 2017, Semien struggled defensively, finishing with negative-9 defensive runs saved. He flipped that number this year, with nine DRS, third-best among American League shortstops. Semien's 11.6 SABR Defensive Index ranked second among all AL players, behind only teammate Matt Chapman.
"It's really great to see," Beane said. "These guys are like your kids, where you remember where they were in one spot and then they get to this spot now where Marcus is this consistent, Gold Glove candidate at shortstop. It's a great story."
Semien, 28, has tremendous range, leading all AL shortstops with a zone rating of .849 this season. His 8.3 ultimate zone rating ranked third.
Semien worked extremely hard to improve his consistency, both fielding and throwing the ball.
"He's a resource for everybody else to watch his work ethic," Melvin said. "To see where he's come from to where he is right now, I know he's feeling pretty good about it. But in his mind, the next step is to win a Gold Glove and get continually better every year."
Semien always has shown offensive ability, hitting as many as 27 home runs in 2016. This past season, he slashed .255/.318/.388 with 15 homers and 70 RBI.
Now that he has developed into an all-around shortstop, Semien has become an indispensable part of the A's infield, where he figures to stay for at least the next two seasons while he's under arbitration control.
"There isn't a better guy to be around, and I'm glad I've been with him as long as I have," Melvin said. "He's a terrific hard-worker, and he's another guy who's proud to be an Oakland A."