The Birmingham Barons and the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs have announced that former Barons' infielder Marcus Semien has been named the 2013 Southern League Most Valuable Player as voted upon by the league's field managers, radio broadcasters and print media.
Semien, 22, put on a virtuoso performance in his first season at the Double-A level hitting .290 (114-for-393) with 15 home runs, 16 doubles, two triples, 90 runs scored and 49 RBI in 105 games. At the time of his promotion to Triple-A Charlotte, he ranked among the league-leaders in multiple categories including ranking first in runs, walks (84), on-base percentage (.420), total bases (190), tied for first in hits (114), tied for fifth in home runs and sixth in batting average while helping to lead the Barons to the First Half North Division Championship and the team's 10th playoff appearance in the last 15 seasons.
He was particularly dominant during the month of July, hitting .372 (35-for-94) with eight home runs, nine doubles, 28 runs scored, 20 RBI and 29 walks in 26 games. He was named Southern League Player of the Week for the period from July 22nd-28th, hitting .583 (14-for-24) with four home runs, a triple, three doubles, 10 runs scored, 11 RBI and 12 walks. After being voted as the Utility Infielder on the Southern League North Division All-Star Team, Semien received the same honors again on the Southern League Postseason All-Star team.
Semien demonstrated a diverse skill set by splitting time between second base, shortstop and third base with the Barons before his promotion to Triple-A Charlotte on August 1. In 32 games with the Knights, Semien hit .264 (33-for-125) with four home runs, 11 doubles, 20 runs scored and 17 RBI. Semien's tremendous all-around season earned him a promotion to the Chicago White Sox after major league rosters were expanded on September 1st.
Semien, a 2013 Southern League All-Star, was drafted by the White Sox in the sixth round of the June 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of California-Berkley. During his Junior season, he hit .275 with five home runs, 11 doubles, three triples and 35 RBI while helping to lead the Golden Bears to the 2011 College World Series. He entered the 2013 season rated by Baseball America as the No. 14 Prospect in the White Sox Organization and in a recent re-ranking of the top prospects by MLB.com was ranked as the White Sox No. 9 prospect.
Semien is the third Baron to win the Southern League's top individual honor and the first since Aaron Miles in 2002. Joe Crede was the first Baron to receive the award after being named MVP following the 2000 season.