Jaffe: No new Ohtanis, but another wave of two-way players is coming

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on February 22, 2019:

Shohei Ohtani won’t be pitching this season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and 2017 first-round picks Hunter Greene and Brendan McKay are a long way from reaching the majors, but this spring, several teams are experimenting with the possibility of two-way players — enough that it’s worth taking a closer look. If spring is a time to dream on lefty knuckleball pitchers who have been woodshedding in South Korea, then we can certainly spare a few thoughts for what might become a new breed of the 25th man.

Mind you, we’re not talking about a new generation of Ohtani clones. For these position players getting more serious about pitching, and the pitcher getting more serious about position play, the model is probably something closer to Brooks Kieshnick. A two-time winner of the Dick Howser Trophy in college for his double-duty work at the University of Texas, and then the 10th overall pick of the 1993 draft by the Cubs, Kieschnick more or less flopped in 113 games played for Chicago, Cincinnati, and Colorado from 1996-2001. He returned to the mound with the White Sox’s Triple-A Charlotte affiliate in 2002, and then with the Brewers in 2003-2004, where he livened up a pair of 94-loss seasons by hitting .286/.340/.496 with eight homers in 144 PA, and pitching to a 4.59 ERA and 4.13 FIP in 96 innings of relief work. He was more successful in the former year than the latter, totaling 0.8 WAR in his dual capacity overall.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/no-new-ohtanis-but-another-wave-of-two-way-players-is-coming/

Originally published: February 22, 2019. Last Updated: February 22, 2019.