10 MLB Players Who Changed Position Mid Career
Have you ever questioned if the position you play is the one you want to continue with throughout your entire baseball career? Are you skeptical or nervous about the decision you made to be a pitcher, baseman, etc.?
There is no need to fear; you are not alone. Many athletes, not just baseball players, have these thoughts and questions. When you are hoping to extend your athletic career past high school into college or even to the professional level, it is crucial that you love the sport and the position you are playing.
Choosing a position can be difficult, which is why young players play multiple positions to get a feel for all sides of the field. Typically, when athletes age, they find a position that best suits them and their skills. While most athletes stay in these positions, it is not unheard of for some to change positions mid-career.
This may be a personal choice, and for others, it may be chosen for them. Even if an athlete plays for a major league team, it does not mean they are safe in their exact position. Teams shift based on needs and competitors, and sometimes this results in position changes as well.
If this is a question, you have found yourself asking or simply interested in seeing a glimpse into the players who have made these shifts keep reading! Ryan Weiss baseball is here to help you both physically and mentally improve your game and provide you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions. This will ensure that young players know their options and abilities before taking on collegiate and professional baseball.
Craig Biggio played his entire 20-year career for the Houston Astros. The Hall of Famer jumped from position to position to ensure the team won. He started his career as a catcher but did not stay here long. He secured four Gold Glove awards as a second baseman. Here, he earned six All-Star appearances establishing himself as a solid defensive middle infielder.
Although he proved he was reliable in this position, the Astros moved him to the outfield for two years. Being 37-years-old, he had already experienced a great deal of his career but was willing to make this switch because it would benefit his team and diversify him as a player.
Regardless of whether you view Craig Biggio to be a great baseball player or not, he displayed that he was a flexible player throughout his career. His tenacity allowed him to adjust game to game and position to position and still go out on the field and do what was necessary to secure a win or put up a fight.
Miguel Cabrera is a household name. Not many Major League Baseball players have accomplished what he has. Not only does Cabrera hold a World Series ring, which he earned when playing for the Florida Marlins, but he also is known to be one of the most "dialed-in hitters ever." With two league MVPs and being the first player since 1967 to win the Triple Crown, it is evident that Miguel Cabrera is a player who goes the extra mile and pushes himself to strive for greatness.
As a player with many awards, praises, and fans, you would think he would stay put in his original position. However, he did not. He has experienced all sides of the field. As an outfielder, he then moved to third base and ended his career as a first baseman.
"Cabrera might be best-known as the game's most dangerous hitter, yet he has shown good versatility by adjusting to several different positions in his career, too."
Hall of Famer Robin Yount was another great baseball player that made himself known for more than one reason. He played his entire 20-year Major League Baseball career for the Milwaukee Brewers, appeared once in the World Series, was a three-time All-Star but only played in two postseasons.
While he may not have received as much praise as others during his time as an MLB player, it does not take away from how great of a player he was. He began his career as a shortstop, where he won the AL MVP award in 1982. Then, seven seasons later, he won the award again, but he won it as an outfielder this time.
Yount was a particular player, and while the move was "defensive and not at the plate," "it takes a combination of both to be named a league's most valuable, which makes Yount's career pretty special." Yount was able to prove himself in a variety of ways landing him this title. While switching positions can be daunting for many players, his switch provided him with more versatility and diversity to achieve these awards and maintain his status as an exceptional player.
If you are a fan of Major League Baseball, you have most definitely heard Alex Rodriguez's name. Some things are good and others wrong. With a 21-year career in the MLB, Rodriquez has made his mark. While some were full of accomplishments, others were not. His reputation took a hit when he was suspended for the entire 2014 season because of performance-enhancing drugs. While this did occur, it did not completely ruin his reputation and career.
At the start of his career, he was one of the best hitting shortstops that the world of Major League Baseball had seen. Rodriquez, often referred to as A-Rod, "found himself forced to shift over to third base when the New York Yankees acquired him before the 2004 season because some dude named Derek Jeter had already occupied that position."
While this position switch was big for A-Rod, it proved that he had the mental and physical capacity to play multiple positions and excel at both.
As a professional baseball player, Rodriquez's career was hot. At shortstop, he won two Gold Gloves. His switch to third base looked easy from the outside. A-Rod was selected to seven All-Star Games. Since starting at third, he won two AL MVPs as well.
Cal Ripken Jr.
It is not uncommon for players of all ages, whether minor league, high school, college, or professional, to switch positions or try out a different side of the field. However, with a few players, position changes can come as a surprise and shock a team's fan base and more.
This was true when Cal Ripken Jr. was moved from shortstop to third base. This position change was one of the more famous ones in MLB history. Ripken played for the Baltimore Orioles when this occurred. Already having the nickname Iron Man before making the switch, he proved that he was still worthy of it as a third baseman.
While he never "won a Gold Glove for his defensive work after the switch, he did find his way onto the AL All-Star team in each of his five years at the hot corner, providing that he did age like fine wine during his 21 years in the big leagues."
During his final All-Star appearance, Cal Ripken Jr. was moved back to his original position as a shortstop. Here, he won the game's Most Valuable Player award.
"Known as Mr. Cub due of his affiliation and heartbreak with the Chicago Cubs for 19 seasons, MLB Hall of Famer Ernie Banks knew that leading by example was more important than leading by inspiring teammates through words."
That powerful thought is believed to be why Banks moved around the field throughout his career. The two-time NL MVP and 16-time All-Star started 1,226 games at first base from the Cubs. He continued his career playing shortstop for the team, where he began 1,121 games in the middle of the infield. Here, he earned seven All-Star appearances.
Along with these positions, you could also find Ernie Banks at third base and the outfield. Banks was a team player, which led him to be adored by the entire North Side of Chicago.
Leading the MLB in hits, Pete Rose, the former Cincinnati Reds star, is one of the best Major League Baseball players. He was known to be passionate and flexible. He proved every day that he would do anything to ensure his team would be victorious, and that is what he did. This meant he would eventually change positions at times.
During his 24-year career, he moved around the baseball field often. Starting his career at second base, Rose then moved to the outfield. He moved to third base and then finished his career as a first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 17-time All-Star selection may not be a Hall of Famer, but he has proven through his tenacity and flexibility that he is one of the greatest players of all time.
Carlos Beltran is known to have power, speed, and defense. Once one of the best center fielders in the game, he understands what is needed from him both on and off the field. With that being said, as with many other players who make position switches, injuries can take their toll on players and the positions they find most comforting.
This reigned true for Beltran as well. At 34-years-old, Beltran decided to switch from center fielder on the New York Mets to right fielder. While he is maintaining his presence in the outfield, this switch was still significant. Due to his position change, he opened up, having several more playing years available to him.
With age comes a fear of how much your body can still handle compared to when you first started your career. For Beltran, the right field is "much easier on the body than the center is." This will allow him to play the game without worrying about the wear and tear his body is enduring.
At the start of his professional career, Paul Molitor was a second baseman. Eventually, he found himself moving to third base. After years under his belt, at the age of 34, Molitor became a designated hitter primarily and spent some time as a first baseman.
Paul Molitor is known for many things, primarily the number of games he has played as a designated hitter. "Molitor is the only player currently in the Hall of Game who has more games played as a DH than any other position."
Molitor has come close to and has earned many awards throughout his career. While he was a DH, he finished in second place in the MVP voting in 1993. He was 36-years-old then. He won out of four of the Silver Sluggers, along with this, two of which were during his time as a DH. "He also had four of his seven total All-Star appearances come when he was a DH."
Here, it is evident that a baseball player can elongate his career by becoming a designated hitter. When a player's time is done on the field, it does not necessarily mean their time playing the game is done; it is just time to play in a different capacity.
Paul Molitor would have most likely not secured a spot in the Hall of Fame without a chance to be a DH.
Dave Winfield could be referred to as the jack of all trades. The Padres drafted him, but he was also drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, Utah Stars, and the Minnesota Vikings. When he started his Major League Baseball career, he was an outfielder.
Although he was an outfielder to start his career, he did not always hold that position. In college, he won the Most Valuable Player award during the College World Series as a pitcher. Starting as a left fielder, Winfield eventually ended his career in the right field. Along with this, "he followed the path several other players in the list did and became a DH."
While he did not quite make it to the Hall of Fame, Winfield had a successful career. Alongside the players on this list, he had complete experience with shifting positions and making changes.
All in all, there are more than just ten players who have made position changes. In this blog, we discussed:
- Craig Biggio
- Miguel Cabrera
- Robin Yount
- Alex Rodriquez
- Cal Ripken Jr.
- Ernie Banks
- Pete Rose
- Carlos Beltran
- Paul Molitor
- Dave Winfield
These players made sacrifices and changes to better themselves and their team. Position changes do not always have to be daunting, and they can diversify a player's skills, continue a player's career, and much more. This is why you should choose Ryan Weiss Baseball!
At Ryan Weiss Baseball, you can become a well-rounded player capable of playing more than one position. Diversity on the field will give rise to more opportunities as a player.
For more information on our programs and how we can help improve your game, visit our website www.ryanweissbaseball.com!