Semien is the son of former college wide receiver Damien Semien. He graduated from St Mary's High School in Berkeley, California where he was a three-time all-league honoree. He followed his father to the University of California, where he majored in sociology. He was an All-PAC 10 shortstop as a sophomore. He was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 6th round of the 2011 Major League amateur draft and assigned to the Kannapolis Intimidators of the Class A South Atlantic League.
In his first year in the minors, Semien batted .253 with 35 runs on 58 hits, 3 home runs and 26 RBI. In 2012 he moved to the Winston-Salem Dash of the Single-A Carolina League. That season he batted .273 with 80 runs on 114 hits, 14 home runs and 59 RBI despite struggling with shoulder tendonitis early in the season. He was promoted to the AA Southern League's Birmingham Barons in 2013 and hit the first Barons home run at newly-opened Regions Field on April 10.
Semien was named the Southern League's Most Valuable Player for 2013. He was promoted to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on August 1 and made his Major League debut with the White Sox on September 4. He reached with a hit in his first at-bat against former Cy Young winner C. C. Sabathia in Yankee Stadium.
- Marcus Semien at baseball-reference.com