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.

Leave a Reply

*

16 comments

  1. Richard

    September 10, 2013 08:36 AM

    Wow, what a list. (But I think you’re rather stretching it by claiming Brown has been playing “out of position”.)

  2. Bill Baer

    September 10, 2013 08:39 AM

    Well, left field is different than right field. It’s different if you’re a role player like Wells as he’s learned both to be able to keep a Major League job. Brown has almost always been a right fielder, including in his first two seasons in the Majors.

  3. Richard

    September 10, 2013 09:09 AM

    It’s not different enough. It’s one thing to say you’d prefer him in right, but that’s about it.

  4. joecatz

    September 10, 2013 09:23 AM

    actually its completely different. It would be one thing if Brown, who was sent down to lehigh in mid 2011 to learn to play LF, had actually played LF after they traded Pence, but he didn’t. they brought him up, shoved him back in RF for 308 innings, then moved him back to LF when they signed Delmon.

    It’s one thing if he’s more comfortable there, but he projects, both with the arm, and the fact that he’s LH, much better in RF. it’s definitely his more natural position.

  5. Scott G

    September 10, 2013 11:31 AM

    Is there something that says RF are better suited to be left-handed? I feel like most RF I can think of throw right-handed.

  6. Joecatz

    September 10, 2013 11:47 AM

    Scott,

    As simplistic as I can make it.

    A LH RF doesn’t have to turn his body to make the throw to 2B or 3B. It’s essentially one less step. It’s especially beneficial on balls hit towards the line. A RH RF, when taking a route towards the line, moving back on the ball, has to position himself much differently.

  7. Larry

    September 10, 2013 12:43 PM

    I don’t understand why they won’t move Brown back to right, especially with his arm.

    Imagine switching from Right to leftfield or left to right at Fenway Park. That would be very different for that outfielder.

    According to Buster Olney … “Fenway Park’s right field is among the most difficult in the majors”

    I can imagine that leftfield is no picnic with the green monster either. In scott’s defense CBP is very close to the same in left or right. However, with Brown’s arm it makes more sense for him to be in rightfield. This would save more runs, but to what extent, I’m not sure.

    You would think Brown is moved back to right in 2014. The experience that Ruf and Brown have changing positions will probably help in the future when an outfielder is hurt. This will give the Phillies more options. This would be the only reasoning that would make sense, but when does RAJ make any sense?

  8. Robby Bonfire

    September 10, 2013 02:39 PM

    Why no indictment of the ex-”manager” as the perpetrator of all this chaos?

  9. Bruce

    September 10, 2013 02:39 PM

    Not really sure why you have to assume Martinez has to be either a baseball player or fry cook at McDonalds. Why can’t he be a school teacher, police officer, blogger, etc? Yes, we can all agree Martinez is not someone who we wish to see with the Phillies, but doesn’t mean you have to denigrate him or his abilities outside of baseball.

  10. Larry

    September 10, 2013 03:20 PM

    One other clarification why the why leftfield is different from rightfield. Throwing to 3rd base is a much harder throw from the rightfielder than the leftfielder. Whether preventing a triple or a player trying to tag up to 3rd on a sac fly. A leftfielder doesn’t have to make a throw to 1st base. Sometimes it happens, but it’s rare. Usually it’s an amazing catch in shallow left that fools the runner at 1st base and he has to run back.

    Also a ball hit deep in the park:

    The leftfielder can throw to the cutoff guy who is usually the ss or 3rd baseman who have the best infield arms to make a play at the plate. Just these reasons alone make Dom Brown the best choice to play rightfield. Your weakest outfield arm should be leftfield.

  11. joecatz

    September 10, 2013 04:10 PM

    That only applies if Brown actually has the strongest Arm Larry. It’s semi debateable with Ruf actually, arm wise. Brown has the slight edge, but its not a dramatic edge.

    Delmon had a great arm. Great. He just never had the real opportunity to use it because he was rarely in position properly.

  12. Larry

    September 10, 2013 04:31 PM

    “Brown has the slight edge, but its not a dramatic edge.”

    I would say Ruf has an average arm. If you said it was above average, I wouldn’t argue with you……But Brown has a cannon of an arm.

    Are you looking at a stat or using an eye test? It’s definitely more than a slight edge no doubt about it.

  13. joecatz

    September 10, 2013 04:37 PM

    Ruf grades out at a 55/60, Brown grades out at 60/65. Thats a difference, but its not a gigantic shift.

  14. Larry

    September 10, 2013 06:17 PM

    Joe, how old is that scouting report? Your arm can get stronger in your early 20s from a few years back. What does your eye test tell you?

    Being in the big leagues, you have better equipment to train with and better fitness coaches than in the minors.

  15. Jonny5

    September 11, 2013 09:44 AM

    Somebody should be fired for keeping Nix over Nate Shierholtz. Well maybe that already happened actually? I wouldn’t doubt that Charlie has much say in his bench players and he’s shown he’s loyal to players. Maybe, just maybe the guy who did make that choice is no longer a with the team.

    Ruf should be in LF, Brown in RF. I don’t see why you’d choose any differently to be honest.

  16. Phillie697

    September 11, 2013 10:14 AM

    @Bruce,

    It’s called literary hyperbole, made in an effort to inject comedy into something. If that offends you, you probably don’t like standup comedy.

Next ArticleWhat Clicked For Hamels?