Where Have You Gone, Dustin Pedroia?
When the Milwaukee Brewers traded for third baseman Mike Moustakas (6ft, 225lbs) at the 2018 trade deadline, they moved Travis Shaw (6-4, 230) from third to second. A year later, they put Moustakas there for 47 games. Neither Shaw nor Moustakas had previously played a single round of pro ball in second place.
“As an industry, we’re starting to recognize that you don’t have to look a certain way to play a specific position,” said David Stearns, president of baseball operations for the Brewers.
In Colorado, early reviews of McMahon’s commissioning were decidedly mixed.
McMahon’s Baseball America scout report ahead of the 2018 season indicated that although he was physically tall for the second baseman, McMahon “impressed the Rockies with the way he adjusted to the position, although the opposing scouts are less convinced “.
As the 2021 season enters its second half on Thursday, however, McMahon’s seven defensive points saved in second base are tied with Marcus Semien of the Toronto Blue Jays and David Fletcher of the Los Angeles Angels for the major league lead. And this despite the fact that McMahon spends half of his time on third base. Add his six DRS in the third and McMahon was the most valuable defensive player in the majors.
As McMahon turned into a defensive success, the evolution of second base also opened up options for good hitters who don’t have a natural position.
Max Muncy, a college first baseman who learned third in the minors, played just three Class AAA games in the second and two in the Cape Cod League, before the Oakland Athletics put him there in the majors in 2016. With his 6-foot, 215-pounder husky, Muncy played a lot at second base for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He leads the National League with a 0.414 based percentage this season and has offered great versatility by spending time at five positions (first, second, third, right and left fielder) over the past few years.
“Muncy is a better athlete than people think – he can run, he can dunk – he’s a pretty explosive guy,” said Josh Byrnes, senior vice president of baseball operations for the Dodgers.