Out of Position

I was talking with a friend recently and I mentioned that I couldn’t remember a team that used so many players out of their normal positions. The Phillies broadcast put up this list during the September 2 game against the Nationals:

Let’s run down that list:

  • Domonic Brown: Used in left field most of this season after being used exclusively as a right fielder once he was promoted to Double-A in 2009.
  • Delmon Young: An outfielder by trade, but he should be a DH and only a DH, as we have all witnessed.
  • Freddy Galvis: A shortstop by trade, the Phillies used him to fill in for Chase Utley when he was injured, and have since tried him out in left field.
  • Laynce Nix: He was in the right position, but his bat never justified it.
  • John Mayberry: A corner outfielder by trade, the Phillies were forced to use him as a center fielder full-time following Ben Revere‘s injury.
  • Casper Wells: Used in the correct position, but like Nix, his offense didn’t justify it in the limited time he was around. Wells was also used as a pitcher in an extra-inning game against the Diamondbacks.
  • Pete Orr: In his Major League career, he has spent over 1,100 innings in the infield and fewer than 50 in the outfield, including the 12 innings in left field with the Phillies this year.
  • Ben Revere: Used correctly in center field.
  • Darin Ruf: Ruf had almost exclusively been a first basemen in the Minors, used very rarely in the outfield. Without a real place to use him, though, the Phillies opted to have him try left field. Then they moved him to right field in the middle of this season.
  • Roger Bernadina: Right position, a little light on the offense though.
  • Michael Martinez: The proper position for Martinez is fry cook at McDonald’s. But along with using him in the infield, where he had played through most of his professional career, the Phillies have used him in center field most of the time he has been on the field this season.
  • Steve Susdorf: Correct position.
  • Ezequiel Carrera: Correct position.
  • Cesar Hernandez: He played one game in center field in his first professional season, then never played in the outfield again until the Phillies had him try out center field in early July with Lehigh Valley. With the Phillies, he’s spent five games in center.
  • John McDonald: The 38-year-old veteran has a reputation as one of the better defensive infielders. He’s logged 4,000 innings at shortstop, nearly 1,350 at second base, and 755 at third base compared to fewer than 40 innings in the outfield. The Phillies had him play the outfield while Casper Wells — an outfielder — pitched. McDonald pitched in the same game.

The list of players used at an “unnatural” position: Brown, Galvis, Mayberry, Wells, Orr, Ruf, Martinez, Hernandez, McDonald. If one is being realistic, then using Michael Young at any position other than DH also qualifies as “out of position” similar to Delmon Young.

The 2013 Phillies have made a name for themselves finding creative ways to use terrible, terrible players.

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