This week’s First Pitch started with a story about John Van Benschoten, and branched into a discussion about developing two-way players.
My thought on that subject is that most teams avoid developing two-way players for a few reasons. Chief among those reasons is to have a focused development path in one area. The theory would be that the more time spent on pitching would take away from time spent hitting and fielding, and vice-versa.
There’s also the fact that just because a player is good on both sides of the ball doesn’t mean he will make an impact on both sides of the ball. We all want Shohei Ohtani. The two-way player idea sounds less appealing if you’ve got a star hitter who is also as good as a middle reliever. Do you really want your star right fielder pitching in games when he’s replacement level at the position? It might work different with an impact pitcher learning how to hit and serving as the designated hitter. However, that’s a big assumption that the pitcher would also be able to hit well enough to be the best option for that spot.
It’s hard enough to make it in baseball taking just one path. Making it on both sides of the ball is so difficult that it explains why Ohani is such an amazing story.
All of this discussion is about the end result. To be honest, we don’t really know much about how that end result is achieved. No one has cracked the code to how a high school baseball player can turn into an MLB star. It just happens, and most of the game is spent trying to replicate the cases where it did happen.
With that said, I wanted to pose a debate question today: Do you think there can be value in developing someone as a two-way player, even when you know the odds are extremely low that they won’t make it in both roles, or either one individually? If so, what value do you see?
ICYMI, Cody Potanko writes his debut article for Pirates Prospects, looking at Stephen Alemais and the hitting adjustments he has been making this offseason.
ICYMI, Anthony Murphy made his debut on Pirates Prospects with a nice look at 2021 10th round pick Justin Meis and his slider.
There’s a reason I do these off-topic posts now for First Pitch. I have a few writing days throughout the week, and I like a warmup on a non-baseball topic. I had fun with this writeup yesterday. Then, I wrote about 5,000 more words on baseball afterward, a big portion of which will hit the site today at 8 AM. Check it out if you’ve already seen Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Big changes coming to Pirates Prospects in the New Year.
Song of the Day
First Pitch Topic of the Day
WEDNESDAY: Pirates Prospects
THURSDAY: Spider-Man: No Way Home
FRIDAY: Pirates Debate
SATURDAY: Music – Tomorrow will have my top albums and songs of 2021.