From Travis Sawchik at FiveThirtyEight on August 29, 2018:
On Aug. 3, shortly after being acquired by Milwaukee in a deadline deal from Baltimore, Jonathan Schoop found himself in an unusual position on the Miller Park infield. For just the third time in his six-year career, he was starting at shortstop. He wasn’t alone that day. His middle-infield teammate, Travis Shaw, was starting just his fourth game at second base — a position he had never played as a professional before this season.
The Brewers had a surplus of corner bats entering the year, and they added even more at the trade deadline, bringing aboard third baseman Mike Moustakas from Kansas City. At this point, they have more starting-caliber infielders than positions available. This is all part of a grand Brewers experiment as they chase a playoff spot: Trade defense for offense and cram as much power into their infield as possible.
In other major sports, positional labels have become less and less important, so why not baseball? In the NBA, centers and power forwards now routinely shoot threes, in part to increase their offensive efficiency. Defensive versatility, the ability to switch, is more and more valued. In the NFL, teams like the Patriots have valued positional versatility. And position labels are increasingly becoming irrelevant in professional baseball.
Read the full article here: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/baseball-positions-are-starting-to-lose-their-meaning/
Originally published: August 29, 2018. Last Updated: August 29, 2018.