The Oakland Athletics have just come off with a 68-94 record, one of their worst seasons in many years. The team apparently has a lot of work to do in order to perform better next season. Oakland's present roster is said to have players talented enough to make that happen. A recent analysis listed some of them who might emerge as potential breakout players in 2016, including shortstop Marcus Semien.
Semien has topped the said list of players who could have breakout performances next season. Bobby Glover of SB Nation said that he is a classic example of what to look for in such players. "Heading into his age-25 season with 927 plate appearances under his belt at the Major League level, Semien has a solid foundation upon which to build. In fact, there is a pretty good chance he is already a little better than most people realize," Glover explained.
The A's shortstop has a career mark (wRC+) of 94, which almost places him to the league's average hitter rank. In 136 games, the 25-year-old infielder has hit .257/.303/.390 with 22 doubles, 11 steals, 11 homers, 33 walks, and a total of 112 strikeouts in 487 at-bats.
More recently, Semien helped the Athletics win against the Seattle Mariners in a 7-5 victory. He hit a two-run homer during the 13th inning, giving the A's their first three-game winning streak in over a month.
When asked whether the player will be at shortstop next year, or the team will find another and move him to second base, coach Ron Washington is inclined to bet on the former. "There's no doubt in my mind that Marcus will be a tremendous shortstop," the A's third-base coach said. "What people fail to understand is that he had no knowledge of how to play the position-he was just playing on natural ability. Now he understands what he's doing, and he's only going to get better," Washington told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meanwhile, former Oakland Athletics draft pick Michael Nolan died on Thursday as a result of gunshot injuries he sustained in a drive-by shooting that took place on September 18 in Yonkers, New York. He had spent three weeks in Jacobi Medical Center where doctors placed him in a medically induced coma. On Thursday afternoon, the 23-year-old was officially declared brain-dead.
Nolan was the Athletics' 18th-round draft pick back in 2014 out of Oklahoma City University. He was reportedly standing in the parking lot near a local Burger King when a driver pulled out a gun and shot him multiple times in the arm and head. CBS Local reports that investigators believe the incident was possibly spurred on by a drag race that took place earlier.
The Oakland Athletics have extended their condolences to Nolan's family. General manager David Forst said in a statement shared via the A's official Twitter account, "On behalf of the entire A's organization, I send my deepest condolences to Donna and Jimmy Nolan. Michael will always be a member of the A's family, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends for their tragic loss."