Two-way player – Wikipedia
A two-way player is a player who excels at both offense and defense in sports where it is necessary for a player to play both offensive and defense (such as basketball and ice hockey). In sports where a player normally concentrates on offense or defense (such as American football), or on pitching or hitting (such as baseball), a player who decides to perform both is referred to as a hybrid player.
Commonly used in basketball, a two-way player excels at both the offensive side of the game and the defensive side of the game. Some of the best two-way players in theNational Basketball Association(NBA) have been awarded theNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Michael Jordan,Hakeem Olajuwon,David Robinson,Kevin Garnett, andGiannis Antetokounmpoare the only Defensive Player of the Year winners to have also won theNBA Most Valuable Player Award(MVP) during their careers; Jordan, Olajuwon, and Antetokounmpo won both awards in the same season.
In the National Hockey League (NHL), the phrase “two-way forward” refers to a forward who is responsible for both the defensive and offensive sides of the game at the same time. The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded to the player who performs the greatest two-way forward. Defensemen who also contribute on attack are referred to as “two-way defensemen,” or “two-way players.”
The term “utility player” refers to someone who plays many defensive positions other than pitcher (baseball).
As a result, there are few real two-way players in Major League Baseball (MLB), as position players are rarely called upon to pitch and the majority of pitchers are below-average batters. The two-way player has virtually vanished from baseball, particularly in the American League, where the designated hitter (DH) rule allows a team to have a designated batter bat in lieu of the pitcher on any given day. When playing in the National League, pitchers are still required to bat for themselves, but they are often mediocre batters.
Pitchers had an average batting average of.124, which was much lower than the league average of.238.
Two-way players are still common in college baseball, with the John Olerud Award being awarded to the player who performs the best on both sides of the ball during the season.
From the 2020 season onward, the term “two-way player” will be recognized as an official MLB roster designation.
- At least 20 innings of Major League Baseball pitching
- Being a position player or designated hitter in at least 20 Major League Baseball games, with at least three plate appearances in each of the 20 games
Once a player qualifies, he keeps his two-way status for the balance of the current season as well as the entirety of the following season after that. A team’s active roster cannot contain more than 13 pitchers (14 for regular-season games after September 1), and two-way players are exempt from the 13-pitch limit (14 for regular-season games after September 1) imposed in 2020, nor are they subject to the pitching restrictions imposed on position players in 2020. Only statistics from the 2018 or 2019 seasons may be utilized to determine if a player was eligible for two-way eligibility in the 2020 season.
This permitted theLos Angeles Angels to designate Shohei Ohtani as a two-way player in 2020, despite the fact that he did not pitch in 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Brendan McKay was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017 as a two-way player and began developing him as a pitcher and first baseman. He made his Major League Baseball debut as a pitcher and designated hitter during the Rays’ 2019 season. Shohei Ohtani, a two-way player who can play both pitcher and outfield, made the transition from Nippon Professional Baseball to Major League Baseball in 2018 and became one of the few players in the world who can both bat and pitch professionally. On days when he does not pitch, he has been utilized as a designated hitter (DH).
- Two years later, in 2021, Ohtani became the first player in history to be selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star game as both a pitcher and a designated hitter.
- Micheal Lorenzen, a former two-way player at Cal State Fullerton, has been a bullpen pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds since 2011.
- Lorenzen has also seen action in the outfield since the start of the 2019 season.
- Other big league teams have begun to experiment with some of their top prospects as two-way players, like Anthony Gose, Brett Eibner, and Trey Ball, among others.
List of notable two-way baseball players
|Player||League||Team(s)||Years as two-way player||Wins||Losses||ERA||Batting average||HRs||RBI||Notes|
|Nixey Callahan||MLB||Philadelphia PhilliesChicago Colts/OrphansChicago White Sox||1894, 1897–1903||99||73||3.39||.273||11||394||Pitched a no-hitter in 1902|
|Leon Day||Negro leagues||Baltimore Black SoxBrooklyn/Newark Eagles||1934–1946||67||29||4.51||.285||3||67||MLB Hall of Fame|
|Martín Dihigo||Negro leagues||Cuban Stars (East)Homestead GraysHilldale GiantsNew York Cubans||1923–1928, 1930–1931, 1935–1936, 1945||26||19||2.92||.307||64||227||MLB Hall of Fame|
|Hideo Fujimoto||JBL / NPB||Tokyo KyojinChunichi DragonsYomiuri Giants||1943–1948||200||87||1.90||.245||15||151||Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Fumio Fujimura||JBL||Osaka Tigers||1936–1938, 1944, 1946, 1948, 1950–1951||34||11||2.43||.300||224||1,126||Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Masaru Kageura||JBL||Osaka Tigers||1936–1938||27||9||1.57||.271||25||222||Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Kim Seong-han||KBO||Haitai Tigers||1982–1983, 1985–1986||15||10||3.02||.286||207||781|
|Michael Lorenzen||MLB||Cincinnati Reds||2015–2019||20||21||4.06||.235||7||24|
|Michio Nishizawa||JBL / NPB||Nagoya/Sangyo/Chubu Nihon/Nagoya Dragons/Chunichi DragonsGold Star/Kinsei Stars||1937–1943, 1946–1947||60||65||2.23||.286||212||940||Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Akira Noguchi||JBL / NPB||Tokyo Senators / Taiyō / NishitetsuHankyu BravesChunichi/Nagoya Dragons||1936–1937, 1942–1943, 1948||49||40||2.54||.251||61||572||Brother of fellow two-way playerJiro Noguchi|
|Jiro Noguchi||JBL / NPB||Tokyo Senators / Tsubasa / Taiyō / NishitetsuHankyu Braves||1939–1943, 1946–1952||237||139||1.96||.248||9||368||Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Shohei Ohtani||NPB||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||2013–2017||42||15||2.52||.286||48||166|
|MLB||Los Angeles Angels||2018, 2020, 2021||13||5||3.53||.264||93||247||Won the 2021American League Most Valuable Player Award|
|Ted Radcliffe||Negro leagues||Detroit Stars,Chicago American Giants,St. Louis Stars,Homestead Grays,Pittsburgh Crawfords,Columbus Blue Birds,New York Black Yankees,Brooklyn Eagles,Cincinnati Tigers,Memphis Red Sox,Birmingham Black Barons,Homestead Grays||1929–1935, 1937–1939, 1941–1944, 1946||32||30||?||.278||19||97||Known as “Double Duty Radcliffe”|
|Bullet Rogan||Negro leagues||Kansas City Monarchs||1920–1929, 1933, 1935, 1937||119||50||3.68||.338||45||199||MLB Hall of Fame|
|Babe Ruth||MLB||Boston Red SoxNew York YankeesBoston Braves||1914–1921, 1930, 1933||94||46||2.28||.342||714||2,214||MLB Hall of Fame|
|Junzo Sekine||NPB||Kintetsu Pearls||1950–1957||65||94||3.43||.279||59||424||Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame|
|George Sisler||MLB||St. Louis Browns||1915–1916||5||6||2.35||.340||102||1,175||MLB Hall of Fame|
|Willie Smith||MLB||Detroit TigersLos Angeles AngelsCleveland IndiansChicago Cubs||1963–1964, 1968||2||4||3.10||.248||46||211|
|Doc White||MLB||Philadelphia PhilliesChicago White Sox||1902, 1909–1910||189||156||2.39||.217||2||75|
|Rick Ankiel||MLB||St. Louis Cardinals||1999–2001, 2004||13||10||3.90||.240||76||251||Ankiel was the first player sinceBabe Ruthto have won 10 or more games in a season, and to hit 50 career home runs.|
Most offensive players do not play on defense, and vice versa, in the National Football League (NFL). As a result, there are few two-way players in the NFL. When a player is “overused,” the danger of injury is a big source of concern. Two-way players were more frequent in the NFL’s early years, when the league operated on a one-platoon basis, but they are now becoming increasingly rare. Patrick Ricardiis an example of a recent two-way player in the NFL, having appeared as both a fullback and a defensive lineman for the New York Jets during the 2017 season.
While at UCLA, linebacker Myles Jack also competed as a running back, earning him the Pac-12 Conference’s Offensive and Defensive Freshman Player of the Year awards on both offense and defense.
- An all-rounder is a cricketer who is equally proficient at batting and bowling.
- Day’s career was marred by poor recordkeeping
- League historians estimate that he won as many as 300 games during his tenure. From 1937 to 1943, Nishizawa was largely a pitcher, and from 1946 until the present, he has been predominantly a position player
- Noguchi was largely a pitcher from 1936 to 1937 and primarily a position player from 1942 to the present. Biographer Kyle P. McNary estimates that Radcliffe had a.303 batting average, 4,000 hits, and 400 home runs throughout the course of his 36-year baseball career
- In his lifetime, according baseball historian Phil Dixon, Rogan won more than 350 games against all competition, including semipro and Army teams, and struck out more than 2000 times. He also hit more than 2500 batters, hit 350 home runs, and stole 500 bases. Smith also spent two seasons with theNankai Hawksof the NPB (in 1972–1973), but he was mostly a position player and barely threw a third of an inning in each of those campaigns.
- ‘Schuhmann, John’ is an abbreviation for John Schuhmann (August 16, 2017). “Taking a look at the best of the finest two-way players in the NBA right now.” Paine, Neil. NBA.com. Retrieved on January 16, 2019. (July 11, 2016). “A Farewell to Tim Duncan, the Greatest Two-Way Player in Modern NBA History,” the Los Angeles Times said. FiveThirtyEight. Prewitt, Alex (February 24, 2020)
- Retrieved February 24, 2020
- (October 2, 2019). “Double Duty: The Importance of a Two-Way Forward in Today’s NHL”
- Macfarlane, Steve
- “Double Duty: The Importance of a Two-Way Forward in Today’s NHL”
- (August 27, 2016). “A ranking of the top ten best two-way defensemen in the National Hockey League for the 2016-17 season.” Bleacher Report is a sports news website. “2017 MLB Team Position Performance by BA,” which was retrieved on July 10, 2018
- Doug Miller is a writer and a musician (December 6, 2017). “Ottani’s future is being evaluated by ex-two-way prospects.” Major League Baseball’s official website, retrieved on July 11, 2018
- Abc”Rule revisions revealed for the 2020 season.” MLB.com has set a date of February 12, 2020. abJustice, Richard (February 12, 2020)
- AbJustice, Richard (May 24, 2018). “Shohei Ohtani clears the road for two-way players to advance.” Baseball-Reference.com, retrieved on January 15, 2019
- Topkin, Marc (June 29, 2019). In a 5-2 victory, Brendan McKay had an impressive debut for the Rays. The Tampa Bay Times reports that “ex-Blackhawk Brendan McKay went 0 for 4 in his major league debut with the Rays.” DiGiovanna, Mike, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, published on July 1, 2019. (February 14, 2018). In addition to pitching and serving as a designated hitter, Ohtani will not be permitted to slide head-first into the outfield. The Los Angeles Times published this article. On July 11, 2018, I was able to get a hold of some information. Sam Miller is a writer who lives in the United States (April 3, 2018). “Should Shohei Ohtani remain a two-way player in the future? Babe Ruth and the Boston Red Sox were faced with the same dilemma exactly 100 years earlier “. On July 10, 2018, ESPN.com was able to get the following: David Schoenfield is the author of this work (November 13, 2018). “Shohei Ohtani of the Angels defeats the Yankees’ tandem to earn the American League Rookie of the Year.” “46 home runs, 100 RBIs: Shohei finishes with a dream season,” ESPN.com, accessed July 2, 2019. Rhett Bollinger is a fictional character created by Rhett Bollinger. The date is October 3, 2021. Retrieved on October 4, 2021
- “Bryce, Ohtani, a two-time and two-way MVP.” mlb.com, retrieved on November 18, 2021
- “Register Players Encyclopedia – Baseball-Reference.com,” retrieved on November 18, 2021
- MLB.com, accessed on March 21, 2018
- Kram, Zach (September 17, 2019). “The Reds are refining the optimal approach for a two-way player,” according to the team’s official website. The Ringer reports that “Ball is gaining fresh life as a two-way prospect.” The following article was found on MiLB.com on January 15, 2019: “Texas Rangers: How the Rangers obtained Anthony Gose, a two-way talent who can play outfield and pitcher | SportsDay.” Dallas News website, retrieved on January 15, 2019
- Sportsday.com. William McNeil is a writer who lives in the United States (2000). Baseball’s other all-stars are the best players from the minor leagues, known as the Negro Leagues. Publisher: McFarland Publishing, p. 67, ISBN: 0-7864-0784-0. Author: James, Michael (1995). Fame discovers Leon Day too late for legend to stroll past the memorial, reports the Los Angeles Times. The New York Daily News published a story about this. McNary, Kyle P.Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe: 36 Years of Pitching and Catching in Baseball’s Negro Leagues(Minneapolis: McNary Publishing, 1994)
- McNary, Kyle P.Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe: 36 Years of Pitching and Catching in Baseball’s Negro Leagues(Minneapolis: McNary Publishing, 1994)
- Dixon, Phil S., et al (2002). The Monarchs reigned from 1920 until 1938. 212
- Santorosa, Tony, ed., Sioux Falls: Mariah Press, ISBN 1-893250-08-3, p. 212
- (March 8, 2012). All-Time NFL Two-Way Players, according to Pro Football Focus. Bleacher Report is a sports news website. Jamison Hensley, Jamison Hensley, Jamison Hensley (August 23, 2017). “Patrick Ricard is attempting to become the sixth two-way player in the NFL in the last decade.” ESPN.com. Greenawalt, Tyler, et al., eds., retrieved on July 10, 2018. (November 17, 2015). “College football’s two-way players are experiencing a rebirth.” NCAA.com. Foster, Chris (July 11, 2018)
- RetrievedJuly 11, 2018
- (December 2, 2013). “UCLA freshman Myles Jack has been named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year twice in a row.” The Los Angeles Times published this article. This document was retrieved on July 10, 2018.
- Mike Duncan is the author of this work. “Shohei Ohtani, The Bambino, and Bullet Joe,” The Hardball Times (April 11, 2018)
- Jaffe, Jay. “Shohei Ohtani, The Bambino, and Bullet Joe,” The Hardball Times (April 11, 2018). “Shohei Ohtani and Beyond: A History of Double-Duty Players,” FanGraphs (April 6, 2018)
- “Shohei Ohtani and Beyond: A History of Double-Duty Players,” FanGraphs (April 6, 2018)
The Greatest Two-Way Players of All Time
Welcome to Ohtani Week, a week-long celebration of, well,Shohei Ohtani’s accomplishments. Since Ohtani arrived on our shores in 2018, there hasn’t been a player who has captivated or exhilarated fans quite like him. In the course of time, the initial fascination and enthusiasm around Major League Baseball’s first real two-way player in a century evolved into something greater: Pure, unadulterated amazement obtained from a celebrity breaking over barriers that were previously supposed to be insurmountable.
- So put on your Angels hat, get your laptop charger, and go to work!
- Many of us have never witnessed something like this before at the major league level.
- In 2003, he appeared in 42 games as a reliever and started four games at designated hitter and three games in left field.
- Prior to it, he had a.220/.297/.405 slash line in 192 plate appearances over four seasons, all of which came in the position of catcher.
- He hit.300/.355/.614 with seven homers in 76 plate appearances (0.3 WARP) during the overlapping season of 2003, but only.179/.207/.393 in his games as a position player during that overlapping season of 2003.
- (DRA gave him a higher rating of 3.85, which was excellent.) A total of 81 DRA-.) A two-way player with three singles and two home runs as a hitter and no games started as a pitcher is a watered-down version of themselves.
- Throughout baseball history, players who appeared on the mound and in the field on a regular basis were uncommon, but not unheard of.
However, they have happened in the past.
In order to respond to this question, I began by looking at Baseball-list Reference’s of two-way players.
Because the list was compiled before the Negro Leagues were recognized as major leagues, I supplemented it with four Negro Leagues two-way players from Wikipedia’s worldwide list.
Since we do not compute WARP for hitters previous to 1921 or pitchers prior to 1950, I was looking for a measure of worth, but since we do not calculate WARP for pitchers prior to 1950, it wasn’t an option.
It is necessary to make certain adjustments when comparing a player’s WAR as a hitter with WAR as a pitcher.
Ninety-six points is the average of those two numbers.
Ruth’s worth as a batter was significantly greater than his value as a pitcher.
Consequently, rather of utilizing the arithmetic mean, (a + b) / 2, I utilized the geometric mean, (a x B).
If a guy has 99 wins over replacement as a hitter and 1 win above replacement as a pitcher, the arithmetic mean is 50, which is twice as high as a player who has 25 wins above replacement as both.
The geometric mean for the well-balanced later player, on the other hand, remains at 25. The former player who was only good as a hitter has a rating of 10. Following this methodology, these are the top 10 finest two-way players in history.
- Babe Ruth had a 57.6 rating. Of course, you’re familiar with his name. Ruth, on the other hand, draws attention to a limitation of this analysis. He was undoubtedly the best hitter in the history of the game. He was a fantastic pitcher who won several championships. However, he only performed both in two years, 1918 and 1919, when he was in the army. In 1918, he pitched 166 1/3 innings, which was a moderate workload for those days, and had a 2.22 earned run average, which was 22 percent better than the national average. In 1919, he pitched even less innings (133 13 innings) and was much less productive (2.97 ERA, 102 ERA+) than in the previous year. He was a powerful hitter in both seasons: The OPS for position players was 964 in 70 games started in 1918, and 1.185 with 111 starts in 1919. (batting data for both years are incomplete). In other words, he was both a brilliant pitcher and an even better hitter, but their paths did not cross very often
- Bullet Rogan, 29.9. Rogan was a member of the Kansas City Monarchs from 1920 to 1930, and he returned to the team for brief cameo appearances in 1937 (18 games) and 1938 (13 games) in his 40s. As a member of the Hall of Fame, he has a legitimate claim to being the greatest “genuine” two-way player of all time, notwithstanding his current rating. The Negro League’s records are not comprehensive, but from 1920 through 1928, he appeared in a double-digit number of games every year, usually in the outfield (note that Negro League numbers are not complete). And he was exceptionally good at both. His career earned run average (ERA) of 2.70 is 61 percent higher than the league average when adjusted for park and league. 1925 was his greatest season on the mound, going 15-2 over 16 starts and six relief appearances with a 1.74 earned run average, a league-high 15 complete games, four shutouts, and 96 strikeouts, and he finished with a 1.74 ERA. His batting line in the same year was.360/.424/.592, giving him an OPS+ of 170. Overall, he has 9.3 WAR in only 50 games, which is an impressive feat. Over the course of his career, he hit.338/.413/.521 for a 152 OPS+
- Bucky Walters had an 18.2 OPS+. As I said in my introduction, I’m excluding players whose pitching careers were predominantly concentrated in the nineteenth century. Ranks ahead of Walters are Jim Whitney (1881-1890), who played from 1889 to 1899, and Jack Stivetts (1889-1899), who played from 1889 to 1899. Baseball, on the other hand, was strange in the nineteenth century. Pitchers were burdened with a colossal workload, which resulted in ridiculous WAR statistics. Whitney only had a 107 ERA+ in 1881 but he started 63 games and pitched 552 1/3 innings, amassing a 7.8 win-loss record and generating 7.8 WAR. From 1890 through 1892, Stivetts pitched an average of 425 innings each season, and while he was pretty excellent (he had a 125 ERA+), it is not the game we play today.
So it is, Walters. In 1931, he made his main league debut as an infielder with the Atlanta Braves, and he eventually ended up with the Philadelphia Phillies. Because he possessed a powerful third baseman’s arm, Phillies management encouraged him to try his hand at throwing. He appeared in one game late in the season and started the Phillies’ last game, in which he gave up three runs in five innings while striking out seven. The following season, he pitched 151 innings and had a 4.17 earned run average (this was during the lively ball period, so it was good) while only appearing in five games on the field.
He rose to become one of the top pitchers in the National League, and he is now ranked 81st all-time among starting pitchers by JAWS.
- Joe Wood has a 17.6 rating. Wood was a Red Sox pitcher from 1908 to 1915, pitching with Babe Ruth in the latter two years of his career. In particular, he is famous for his 1912 season, during which he went 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA over 344 innings, as well as three World Series victories. He was unable to maintain his health after that, though. A brief and unproductive 1917 season (3.45 earned run average, which was awful at the time—over only 15 2/3 innings) led to his announcement of his decision to go to the outfield. In 1918, he took advantage of a void left by World War I-depleted rosters and played 419 games in the outfield over the following five years, slashing.298/.376/.433 (116 OPS+) while hitting.298/.376/.433. During those years, he only pitched in two games, both of which were relief appearances
- Martin Dihigo had a 12.6 ERA. As a Cuban, Dihigo’s playing career in America was restricted not only by the schedules (and statistics) of the Negro Leagues, but also by the seasons he spent playing baseball at home and in Mexico throughout his childhood. Only nine seasons of Major League Baseball history have been recorded in the United States. Throughout each of those seasons, he was a real two-way player, starting games on the mound as well as on the field each year. As a pitcher, he had a 3.34 earned run average (141 ERA+) over 402 innings pitched. However, he is most known as a hitter, posting a batting line of.307/.389/.528 (138 OPS+) and averaged 118 runs, 126 RBI, 28 home runs, and 19 stolen bases per 162 games throughout his career. He was a versatile player who spent most of his time at shortstop. In 1926, at the age of 21, he led the Eastern Colored League with a.375 average,.737 slugging, 1.212 OPS, and 14 home runs, and he was seventh in the league in pitcher WAR, giving him 4.3 total WAR in just 43 games, behind only Leon Day’s 7.4 total WAR in the same time period in 1927. It should be mentioned again that the statistics presented here for players from the Negro Leagues are significantly underestimated. Their seasons were brief, and we only have fragmentary accounts of their activities. Day was primarily a pitcher, and he was well-known for his no-wind style. In 1935, he was only 18 years old when he was named to the Negro National League All-Star squad during his first season. Later in the season, he went 8-2 with a 1.73 earned run average (225 earned run plus), leading the league in WHIP (.912), strikeouts (86), K/BB (3.2), and hits per nine innings (.93). (5.3). From 1934 to 1937, he was a part-time two-way player, but from 1938 through 1946, he was a regular in the field, the outfield, and at second base, amassing a.318/.365/.432 (122 OPS+) batting line at the plate during the course of his professional career. It was in the minors that he finished his career, with a 19-15 record and 3.61 earned run average over 294 innings, but no games on the field, as Bob Smith had done
- He had an ERA of 7.1 in his last season there. Smith’s professional trajectory was similar to that of Walters, albeit he was not as accomplished. As with Walters, he began his career as an infielder for the Braves, and he was the team’s regular shortstop during the seasons of 1923 and 24. In 1925, his ineffective hitting (.240/.273/.303, 56 OPS+) forced him to sit on the bench. Smith was given the opportunity to throw batting practice one day, and a coach persuaded manager Dave Bancroft to give him a shot at the major league level. Smith played in only four more games in the field throughout the course of his 13-year career after a complete game, 11-inning shutout against the Pirates on July 18, 2008. Over 229 starts and 206 relief appearances, he was a league-average pitcher (100 ERA+) for generally mediocre teams (106-139 record), but his batting was above-average for a pitcher (career.242/.265/.309)
- Ted Radcliffe had a 5.1 ERA+. Besides being the last of four players from the Negro Leagues to appear on this list and the only one who is not in the Hall of Fame, Radcliffe is also the only C/P player among these 10 players. His moniker, “Double Duty,” leaves no mistake about his ability to contribute on both ends of the field. In 1937, 1943, and 1944, he was selected to play in the East-West Game (the Negro Leagues’ All-Star Game), and in 1938, 1939, and 1941, he was selected to play as a pitcher. Despite his strong reputation as a catcher, he was an ordinary batter (career.271/.306/.374, 89 OPS+) who struggled at the plate. He began pitching in 1929, his second season in the Negro Leagues, and the following season, he finished first in the Negro National League with a 2.58 earned run average (185 ERA+). His 3.68 earned run average (ERA) through 41 starts and 47 relief appearances is 21 percent better than the league average
- Shohei Ohtani’s 4.9 (and counting) and Rick Ankiel’s 4.4 are also better than the league average. Another name that should be recognizable to the majority of you. Despite pitching 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA over 30 starts in a league where the average ERA was 4.65, Ankiel finished second in the voting for the Rookie of the Year award in 2000. However, he was unable to maintain command of the strike zone in the postseason (4 IP, 11 BB, 9 WP) and retired from the sport in 2004. He moved to the outfield and hit.242/.304/.427 (92 OPS+) in 598 games as an outfielder.
Surely you observed that the majority of these players were primarily position players who ended up solely pitching (Walters, Smith), or pitchers who ended up mainly pitching but were originally designated as position players (Walters, Smith) (Ruth, Wood, Ankiel). Their time spent doing both was quite limited (none in the case of Ankiel). Only four of the Negro Leaguers had more than one season of experience as a regular pitcher and fielder in the majors. It’s possible that we’re witnessing the fifth.
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Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani needs to be continuously celebrated
Because it is already mid-June, we have not written about Shohei Ohtani since the season began, and it is, quite honestly, time for us to do so. It should be praised on a daily basis that Ohtani is one of the most exciting players in baseball, and his distinctiveness in today’s game should be recognized as well. Incredibly, he has played admirably on both sides of the ball, and he has the potential to be a legitimate All-Star at either the pitcher or batter positions; the fact that he is doing admirably at both positions is astounding.
- Ohtani’s one-of-a-kindness even compelled Major League Baseball to change its rules to exempt two-way players from counting against the maximum number of pitchers allowed on a team’s roster.
- Ohtani is hitting in his role as a batter.
- Only one home run separates him from MLB leaders Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- The fact that he is hitting home runs at a high rate (almost every other game) and has a 157 WRC+ implies that he is batting 57 percent better than the league average hitter is a testament to his ability.
- It’s a sacrifice that’s well worth it considering the rest of the value he’s providing.
- It doesn’t matter how quick he is; he has attempted to grab nine bags, snatching six of them successfully.
- Following up on our discussion of Ohtani’s outstanding hitting performance thus far this season, let’s take a look at his outstanding performance on the mound.
That equates to a RA9 of 3.25, an ERA of 2.76, and a FIP of 3.60 for the pitcher.
In those 42+ innings, he’s only allowed four home runs, and he’s striking out batters at a rate of more than 34 percent, which is more than 10 percentage points more than the league average for the position.
As we all know, every Major League Baseball team sends a representative to the All-Star Game.
He is well on his approach to earning his first All-Star appearance, regardless of the team’s or roster’s parity, and that should be appreciated.
It would be entertaining if he began off as a position player, moved to the mound, and then returned to his place on the field.
Nothing in the preceding paragraph hasn’t already been said in some form, but Ohtani is a fantastic player, a unique player, and a fun guy who deserves to be recognized and praised.
*** In addition to being an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, Steven Martano works as a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row and as a contributing writer for The Hardball Times, among other publications. You may follow him on Twitter by using the handle @SMartano.
How the new 2-way-player rule impacts clubs
THE TEMPE, Ariz., UNIVERSITY – A Tuesday morning at the start of spring training, and Jared Walsh was carrying his first baseman’s glove in the gear bag he brought with him to the Angels’ practice fields. Walsh was a position player who was tasked with fielding ground balls on this particular day. The next day, though, he expected to throw a bullpen session in order to prepare his left arm for whatever pitching duties could await him in the coming months. He explained that he alternates between becoming a first baseman and a pitcher.
- However, starting in 2020, new roster rules will limit the amount of effect guys who are primarily position players – players like Walsh – can have on the mound in the Major Leagues.
- As an outgrowth of that restriction, the two-way player classification was implemented, which also serves as a means of reining in the rash of position-player pitching incidents that have occurred in recent seasons.
- As a matter of fact, Ohtani is the only player in Major League Baseball who qualifies as a two-way player during the rule’s first year of application.
- Position players who will be pitching in a game must be classified as a “two-way player” prior to the start of the game.
- One of the only circumstances in which a position player who has not been classified as a “two-way player” may pitch in a game are when his team is winning or trailing by at least seven runs, or when the game goes into extra innings.
- In order to qualify as a two-way player in 2020, MLB has permitted either 2018 or 2019 statistics to go toward the requirement.
- The same cannot be said for his teammate, Walsh, who did not qualify despite making 87 plate appearances and pitching five innings in his first taste of the majors in 2019.
(He’ll also be hampered by the new three-batter limitation, which will prohibit his imaginative manager Joe Maddon from deploying him to face a lefty, shifting him to first base when a right-hander comes up, then bringing him back to the mound when another lefty comes up.) Despite the fact that Walsh will have little chance of qualifying as a two-way player under the new regulations, the Angels intend to use him in both roles this spring to ensure that he is ready to (literally) pitch when the season begins in April.
- The Red Sox manager said he wanted to “touch the surface” of anything that would be considered a little bit of an aberration during Spring Training.
- For clubs who have athletes who have the ability to contribute on both sides of the ball, there is undeniable benefit in pursuing the 20-inning, 20-start milestone.
- Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth, who they acquired from the Rays as part of their Tommy Pham deal, is expected to contribute to that goal for the team.
- In addition, he went 7 and a third innings without allowing a run.
- “He possesses a one-of-a-kind ability,” Tingler stated.
- We recognize that it isn’t ideal, but we believe that there will be games during the season that are blowouts, and he will have his opportunity.” First and foremost, Cronenworth must be admitted to the club.
- In an interview with The Athletic, Tingler stated that the Padres will not attempt to force Cronenworth into games only for the sake of achieving the two-way player standards.
Then Tingler added a smirk, saying, “I hope we’re chasing something other than that objective.” “However, I believe that this is a very serious possibility for teams.” Michael Lorenzen, who enters 2020 as a two-way player in all but the most literal understanding of the word, was a guy the Reds should have pursued last season, but they didn’t.
- As a result, he is a valuable late-game asset in a variety of ways.
- As a position player last season, Lorenzen participated in 100 games, in addition to pitching 83 1/3 innings and accumulating 83 1/3 innings.
- He appeared in 89 more innings in the outfield than he did on the mound, yet he only made 53 trips to the bat.
- “They unfairly favor Ohtani because of the DH predicament that he’s in.” DH, by its very nature, makes it much simpler to get those at-bats on the board.
- As a result, I hope they reconsider the criteria.
- Lorenzen, on the other hand, was even more dissatisfied.
- “I don’t see why I’m not considered a two-way player,” he remarked.
“Perhaps one day.” Regardless, Lorenzen is looking forward to continuing to play a role similar to the one he had in 2019.
As a result, he’ll spend the most of his spring training moving between the outfield and the mound.
It was difficult for them to say, ‘We’re going to use you in all of these positions,’ when they hired a new coaching staff the previous year.” They need to see it for themselves, as well as how my body reacts to it.
15 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, on their major league roster before long, perhaps as early as Opening Day.
McKay had 13 appearances (11 starts) as a pitcher and 11 plate appearances in his first season with the organization.
The John Olerud Award, which is presented to the top two-way player in college baseball, has gone to him three times, and he once blasted four home runs in a single game while playing for the University of Minnesota.
For the time being, he is predominantly a pitcher.
McKay, on the other hand, hopes to see action at first base rather than being restricted to DH duties.
“However, I believe we must prioritize the pitching, get the swings underneath him, and then evaluate how our roster breaks out and what is best for him going forward.” When McKay finally makes it to the big leagues, the Rays will have a special motivation to get him those 20 starts as a position player as soon as possible.
Obviously, achieving that level of success is not simple.
“You never know what’s going to happen.
It’s a fact of life in major league baseball that if you play 162 games, some of them are going to be blowouts, according to Walsh.
MLB Prospect Watch: Six who could follow in Shohei Ohtani’s footsteps as baseball’s next two-way player
Currently, the most intriguing player in Major League Baseball isShohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels’ dual-threat wonder who seldom goes more than one game without doing something exceptional at the plate or on the pitching. Despite his lack of statistical accumulation, he is one of the few players who can be referenced in the same sentence as Babe Ruth without it seeming ridiculous (at least in terms of pure versatility, not statistical accumulation). Ohtani is also one of the few players who acts as an inspiration, not in the sense of evoking human interest, but rather in the sense of redefining the feasibility of playing both ways in the game of tennis.
Like posting a photo of a wonderful cake on a vision board does not guarantee that your cake will be properly baked, pinning Ohtani’s Baseball Reference page on a vision board does not guarantee that anybody will achieve the same levels of success as he has.
Since then, Jared Walsh has developed as a capable player, but one who prefers to play one-way.) Although it is unlikely that anybody will be able to match or surpass Ohtani in the near future, it will not stop clubs from attempting to do so.
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Below, we’ve identified six prospects – three from the minors and three from the next draft class – who have the potential to make it to the majors as two-way players in the future.
Brendan McKay, LHP/1B,Tampa Bay Rays McKay is the most well-known two-way player this side of Shohei Ohtani, owing to his selection as the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft. Unluckily, he’s been dealing with a lot of adversity after making 13 big-league outings in 2019. (he posted a 5.14 ERA despite solid underlying measures). In the summer of 2016, McKay tested positive for COVID-19, and his season was cut short by a shoulder procedure the following year. So far this season, he’s been limited to hitting, and his early results (.091/.200/.091 in his first 25 plate appearances) serve as a reminder of why scouts prefer him on the mound, where he was projected to be a mid-rotation starter.
- Masyn Winn, SS/RHP,St.
- He hasn’t yet thrown a single pitch, and that could be a good thing given that he’s batting just.141/.291/.203 with a 29 percent strikeout rate in his first 79 plate appearances.
- If we may violate kayfabe for a minute: none of the above matters.
- His twentieth birthday will not be celebrated until next March.
- Tanner Dodson, RHP/OF, Tampa Bay Rays Dodson, one of Tampa Bay’s second-round picks in 2018, holds more promise on the mound than at the plate.
- Dodson’s offensive skill set is more limited; his best traits are his plus speed and his feel for putting the ball in play.
Most teams would fast-track Dodson to the Show as a full-time reliever; the Rays tend to value versatility, and there’s just enough here for him to serve as a situational two-way player who pinch-runs, subs in on defense, and even takes at-bats when contact is paramount.
Bubba Chandler is a RHP/SS for the North Oconee High School. Handler, a two-sport standout who has committed to play quarterback for Clemson, may be selected in the first round’s top half of the first round. Having an above-average velocity and plenty of projection, he’s considered a top-tier pitching prospect. Whichever team selects Chandler in the first round will almost certainly be satisfied with having him on the mound on a full-time basis. Still, he has enough clout that, if he wants to attempt the two-way street approach, he will almost certainly be able to obtain what he wants in exchange for signing.
- Schwellenbach has had a great season on both sides of the ball this year.
- The odds are in his favor that he will be selected in the first three rounds or earlier.
- HS Williams has committed to the University of California, which is the same institution that Dodson attended.
- He possesses the arm strength to play the left side of the infield, without a doubt, but he will most likely have to move away from the shortstop position before reaching the Show.
The rise of the two-way player: Is next Ohtani already out there?
19th of March, 2019
- Reporter for ESPN’s baseball coverage. From 2016 to 2018, I covered the Los Angeles Rams for ESPN, and from 2012 to 2016, I covered the Los Angeles Angels for MLB.com.
WELCOME TO GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Michael Lorenzen is enraged by the structures that characterize professional baseball, to the point where it keeps him up at night on certain evenings. Lorenzen, a veteran reliever who is also a potential outfielder, loves to claim that his sport’s two favorite phrases are “simply because” and “because I can.” He conveyed his point by reiterating a series of queries for which there are no clear responses. For what reason do we have to wait for 45 minutes outside before every game?
- What is it about someone who can’t pitch and bat in the major leagues?
- “Just because,” Lorenzen said.
- ‘It’s just too difficult.’ Shohei Ohtani is the only person who has the authority to claim that something is too difficult since he is the only person who has completed it.
- It irritates me to no end.
- The four-minute mile was insurmountable until it became achievable.
- He will miss the whole 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- In his wake has risen a new generation of two-way players with aspirations to succeed him.
- While Lorenzen is with the Cincinnati Reds, Matt Davidson is with the Texas Rangers and Brendan McKay, the fourth overall pick in 2017, is with the Tampa Bay Rays, both of whom are doing something similar in their respective organizations.
Despite the fact that he was speaking via a translator, Ohtani stated that inspiring others “wasn’t one of my aims,” adding that “it’s a nice thing if others start doing it because of me.” A pattern for how a two-way player may exist in the modern game was laid forth by Ohtani’s performance, which helped to instill a sense of open-mindedness that had previously been lacking in the major leagues.
General manager Billy Eppler stated that “professional sports change and adapt,” which is exactly what has happened in this instance.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt that success in business, success in an organization, or whatever you want to call it is having intelligent ideas that you hold on to loosely – meaning it’s OK to change your mind, it’s OK to adapt and develop as you get more information.
Jared Walsh had started the game in left field for the Angels’ Triple-A club and had played in all 10 innings.
Walsh was perplexed by the situation.
However, this occurred in the middle of an inning, which was unusual.
“It was completely insane.” “Professional sports are always evolving and adapting, and that is exactly what is going on here.
Cowart, a high school third baseman who was taken 18th overall in the 2010 MLB Draft, is trying to extend his career with a powerful fastball.
Lorenzen is on the other side of the spectrum, as a seasoned major league reliever who is attempting to make a name for himself as a position player in the American League.
He only contributed as a late-inning reliever due to his ability to throw hard.
“Having to admit that I was a pitcher was perhaps one of the most difficult moments of my baseball career,” Lorenzen recalled.
Davis didn’t believe it was conceivable at the highest level, but he encouraged Lorenzen not to let his pessimism get in the way of his dreams.
Lorenzen was able to keep the concept alive as a result of this.
He pushed for the opportunity to bat and play defense at every step, and he finally began to earn some of it last season as a result of his efforts.
He would dash into the dugout, take a few swings off the tee, then dash toward the on-deck circle to get ready for the game.
Lorenzen would be taking swings in the batting cage when he would be called upon to pitch, giving him little time to even get to the bullpen before the game started.
Lorenzen feels that pitching has aided him in becoming a better batter.
To him, free swinging is synonymous with attacking himself in the following ways: breaking balls away, bringing in hard stuff late, expanding late.
“All year last year, I was going up there with that knowledge in mind, playing out what I believed was going to happen, and it helped a ton,” he said.
As a right-handed reliever who pitches in middle to high-leverage situations, he already has a job; but, if he continues to produce consistently at the plate, that role will grow dramatically.
He acknowledges that he is under “a tremendous amount of strain.” “However, I really enjoy it,” he remarked.
It’s something you have to accept.” The Angels claimed Cowart off waivers in October after he threw a bullpen session for them.
It was the first day of November when Cowart began throwing again, marking the first time he had ever begun his offseason program so early.
He began training at EVO UltraFit in Phoenix, where he sought assistance from renowned major league pitchers such asRyan Madson andZack Godley, among others.
Lorenzen has taken this concept to its logical conclusion.
Lorenzen personally flew Portal to Southern California last year to teach him, and he didn’t skimp on the expenses.
He came in Rangers camp without ever having thrown off a mound, but he had already done it four times by March 12 – one of which was an entertaining live batting practice session against Hunter Pence – before the team’s first game against the Los Angeles Angels.
The fact that he can pitch distinguishes him from the other position players who have been more relied upon to do so in recent years.
“This is a lot,” Woodward said, “but having him on your roster would be really beneficial, knowing that if games go out of hand, you can trust him to come in and throw strikes, saving some of the rest of our bullpen.” Woodward added that having him on the team would be beneficial.
Triple-A pitching coach Pat Rice agreed.
“Didn’t you take the time to read the sheet?” A few minutes later, Cowart approached the daily schedule, which was posted on a wall between the clubhouse and the showers, and peered at it with a puzzled expression for a few moments.
It takes me three or four times to make sure I’m in the appropriate place, Cowart said.
“I believe there are simply so many different ways it may play out that I’m not really sure which one I want to go with now,” he remarked.
It’s possible that it’s just too much.
I really don’t know.
He couldn’t have gotten away that easily.
The fact that there is no true precedent for a position like this is a testament to Lorenzen’s ability to thrive in an uncertain environment.
“Superstition is fear manifested in a different form,” he says in one of his favorite quotations.
Such an attitude, in his opinion, is a crutch.
‘There isn’t a blueprint, and I don’t require one for it,’ says the author.
Cowart, on the other hand, feels they will gain from the addition of a 26th roster space, which is scheduled to be implemented in 2020.
However, they will be able to label someone a two-way player if he has pitched at least 20 innings and started at least 20 games at a position, including designated hitter, in either the current season or the season before, whichever comes first.
Woodward was one of those who had reservations about Ohtani at the outset.
In 512 3 innings on the mound, he posted a 3.31 earned run average and 63 strikeouts.
It was just a few years ago that the walls began to come down, with the concept that clubs might reduce a pitcher’s workload by sending a position player on the mound when games got out of hand.
According to statistics by ESPN StatsInformation, 48 position players combined to make 65 appearances last season, the most since the expansion period began in 1961 and the most since the expansion era began in 1961.
The experimenting should continue to develop, but it’s impossible to predict whether or not others will follow in Ohtani’s footsteps.
However, McKay and English are still a long way away from making it to the major leagues as starting pitchers who can also bat for power.
This is the essential question.
“It all depends on their tools, their athleticism, and their commitment as to whether or not they will have that level of impact.
Simply said, Shohei is an exceptionally skilled athlete, and I have a hunch that he has the potential to be successful in several other sports as well as in basketball and baseball. Making such a reality is going to necessitate the creation of a very unique package.”