That patience was on display during the 2013 season, when Semien walked 98 times and struck out 90 over stops with Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham.
"I know last year I was very patient," Semien said. "It seemed like the deeper I got in the count, the better I did. I don't know what the correlation between that is."
The correlation could be as simple as Semien seeing more pitches by working deeper counts. But in keeping with hitting coach Todd Steverson's controlled aggression approach, Semien wants to be as locked in at 2-0 or 3-1 as he is with two strikes.
"My goal every at-bat is not to go deep in the count or look for pitches per at-bat," Semien said. "It just kind of happens like that. I'm pretty selective early in the count. I want to get the pitch I want to swing at. It can go against me some time.
"If it's a guy who won't really give into you, we face a lot of guys like that. A lot of guys on Kansas City, they don't give in. [Catcher] Salvador Perez calling pitches, he won't give in to you. So it depends on who you are facing. You have to pick and choose spots."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.