Could Ohtani's arrival introduce more two-way roles in MLB

Could Ohtani's arrival introduce more two-way roles in MLB

Postautor: lucky » 27 gru 2017, o 09:18

Shohei Ohtani broke the hearts of executives across the baseball landscape when he picked the Los Angeles Angels over the rest of the field. But some evaluators with the other clubs will continue to closely follow his effort to be a two-way player, because, conceptually, they find the idea of one player serving as both a hitter and a pitcher to be intriguing at a time when teams are increasingly looking for roster flexibility.
The Angels intend to use Ohtani as a starting pitcher, a schedule that will have enormous challenges because of the intense preparation required for somebody in that role. Folks with other teams wonder if, in the end, Ohtani will be limited in how much he serves as a DH because of all that’s required of him between starts.
But there could be another way for a player to help as both a position player and a pitcher, with perhaps even more utility -- as a reliever whose role is to eat innings in one-sided games, or perhaps as a lefty-vs.-lefty or as a righty-vs.-righty specialist.
Many players grew up pitching and hitting, the right-handers often playing shortstop or the outfield on the days they didn’t pitch, the left-handers playing first base or the outfield. Every day, you can see position players half-jokingly showing off pitches to teammates as they warm up for batting practice or games. When Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman were with the Braves, teammates engaged in a running argument about which one of them threw harder, because both had been pitchers earlier in their baseball lives.
But long ago, a conventional-wisdom line was created between position players and pitchers: Either you did one or the other, but not both. Occasionally, pitchers are used as pinch hitters in the National League, and even more rarely, position players have been deployed as pitchers in blowouts.
As one evaluator mused about Ohtani’s journey the other day, however, he mentioned that a position player -- a utility player, such as Ryan Flaherty (a former Oriole who is currently a free agent) or maybe Charlie Culberson of the Braves -- might be used semiregularly as a reliever. The preparation for the enhanced role would probably need to start in spring training, he said, when the two-way Stefen Wisniewski Youth jersey reliever/position player could throw on the side and pitch in exhibition games, etc., and managers could practice implementation. And in the spring, managers could begin an important part of this process: Explaining the logic to reporters, who in turn would explain it to fans.
Let’s say the Minnesota Twins are down 8-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, and Paul Molitor’s bullpen has been somewhat stressed. He could turn to his two-way reliever to take the seventh and eighth innings -- catcher Chris Gimenez, perhaps -- and it’s possible that the score would get somewhat ugly. But Molitor could explain that by doing this in what is almost certainly a lost game, rather than using a more important reliever, he is actually increasing the chances of winning the next day or the day after that.
If you could save a roster spot this way -- using a position player/pitcher to eat up a couple of innings a week -- that could be incredibly valuable, the evaluator said. The Padres tried to do something like this last spring, with catcher Christian Bethancourt. But he struggled to throw strikes, and because manager Andy Green had to pull him, it left San Diego shorthanded Xavier Woods Authentic Jersey behind the plate, which is why this sort of role would probably need to be an infielder or an outfielder.
There are times during every team’s season when a reliever will eat up two or three innings in a lost game and the manager will praise that work because the other pitchers were protected from use. This is what a two-way position player/pitcher could do.
No star prospect would ever be asked to fill a role like this, of course, because of the risk of injury. But for other position players fighting for a spot in the big leagues, the ability to throw strikes and be competitive as a pitcher could be a coveted asset.
Or, if a position player demonstrates an off-speed pitch that makes him particularly effective against lefty or righty hitters, he could become part of a sequence of moves for a manager: He could be brought into the game to face an opposing hitter for a favorable matchup, then switch to a position when the next reliever is summoned.
If teams follow through with these sorts of concepts and try to develop two-way players, it would become part of the legacy of Ohtani, who has executives re-examining long-established boundaries. NFL Jerseys Authentic Jerseys For Cheap Cheap NFL Jerseys Nike NBA Jerseys Wholesale
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