Cal Baseball: Ex-Bears Marcus Semien, Mark Canha Deliver Big For A's

Marcus Semien, left, and Mark Canha combined to hit 59 home runs this season.Photos by USA Today
Jeff Faraudo

Have two former Cal players ever performed as well in the same Major League baseball season as Marcus Semien and Mark Canha did in 2019?

Doubt it.

Without any doubt, Semien and Canha formed the most productive Golden Bears 1-2 punch on the same MLB team.

The A’s duo was spectacular this season, and now they’re ready to help lead their team against the Tampa Bay Rays in Wednesday’s American League wild-card game at Oakland.

Semien finished with a career-high 33 home runs, tied for the third-most ever by an ex-Cal player. Only Jeff Kent, with 37 home runs in 2002, and Jackie Jensen, with 35 in his American League MVP season of 1958, have hit more. Semien’s total equaled Kent’s 33 homers in 2000.

Canha, meanwhile, generated his own career-best total of 26 home runs, tied for the 12th-most by a former Cal player.

Semien, 29 and in his seventh MLB season, had a season that should get him top-5 votes in the American League MVP balloting.

Besides batting .285 and driving in a team-best 92 runs for a club that won 97 games, he produced an on-base percentage/slugging percentage/OPS line of career-bests: .396/.517/.913.

And consider where Semien ranks in these categories in the AL:

— 2nd with 343 total bases

— 2nd reaching base 273 times

— 3rd with 83 extra-base hits

— 3rd with 123 runs scored

— 3rd with 43 doubles

— 5th (tied) with 7 triples

— 6th with 87 walks

And defensively, among AL shortstops:

— 1st with a .981 fielding percentage

— 1st with 436 assists

— 1st with 85 double plays

— 1st with 1,435 innings

— 1st with 161 games played & started

On top of everything else, Semien merely broke Rickey Henderson’s club record for leadoff home runs in a season. Yep, the Rickey Henderson who is the game’s greatest-ever leadoff hitter.

Canha, 30, has been a versatile outfielder for Oakland this season, critical for a team that played stretches of the season without injured starters Stephen Piscotty and Ramon Laureano.

Now in his fifth MLB season, Canha hit 10 more homers than in any previous year and batted a career-best .273. His OBP/SLG/OPS line produced all career-bests: .396/.517/.913.

MOST HOME RUNS IN AN MLB SEASON BY A CAL ALUM

  1. Jeff Kent, Giants (2002) 37

  2. Jackie Jensen, Red Sox (1958) 35

3t. Jeff Kent, Giants (2000) 33

3t. Marcus Semien, A’s (2019) 33

  1. Jeff Kent, Giants (1998) 31

  2. Mike Epstein, Senators (1969) 30

7t. Jeff Kent, Giants (1997) 29

7t. Jeff Kent, Dodgers (2005) 29

  1. Jackie Jensen, Red Sox (1959) 28

10t. Jeff Kent, Astros (2004) 27

10t. Marcus Semien, A’s (2016) 27

12t. Mark Canha, A’s (2019) 26

12t. Mike Epstein, A’s (1972) 26

12t. Jackie Jensen, Red Sox (1955) 26

15t. Sam Chapman, A’s (1941) 25

15t. Jackie Jensen, Red Sox (1954) 25

15t. Xavier Nady, Pirates/Yankees ( 2008) 25

18t. Sam Chapman, A’s (1949) 24

19t. Sam Chapman, A’s (1940) 23

19t. Sam Chapman, A’s (1950) 23

19t. Jackie Jensen, Red Sox (1955) 23

19t. Jeff Kent, Giants (1999) 23

19t. Kevin Maas, Yankees (1991) 23

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