MLB Players Playing New Positions in 2023

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Every season, a handful of players are forced into action at unfamiliar positions. This year, seven players fit the bill.

Brice Turang – Second Base

Major League Experience: 0 Games

Turang is expected to make his MLB debut this season at second base for the Milwaukee Brewers. In four seasons of minor league baseball, Turang played an overwhelming majority of his games at shortstop. He has 45 games of experience at second base, but only seven of those games came at a level above A-ball.

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Turang is projected to be a strong fielder, and he could be even better at second base. Turang will be an interesting case study for teams as they adjust to a shift-less MLB experience. If Turang successfully makes the transition to second base, more teams could try to play two natural shortstops simultaneously in the infield.

Willy Adames is likely the long-term shortstop in Milwaukee. He recently signed a one-year, $8.7 million deal for the 2023 season, but he will likely be on a long-term deal before the 2024 season begins.

Jean Segura – Third Base

Major League Experience: 24 of 1,328 Games

In the 2020 season, Segura played 24 games at third base – the only time Segura has played at the hot corner. He came up as a shortstop, playing more than 900 games from 2012 to 2019. In 2016 and the last three seasons, Segura has played more second base. Now, he is slated to man the hot corner with the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins certainly have a unique strategy for their infield defense. Just last season, they had a traditional set-up with Brian Anderson, Miguel Rojas, Jazz Chisholm, and Garrett Cooper from left to right. Now, the Marlins will be playing a natural middle infielder at third base, a natural third baseman at shortstop, and a natural first baseman at second base. Chisholm’s move to center field will be covered later in this article.

Segura will be 33 by the time the 2023 season begins. He should be solid enough to stay on the field with this defense, and he should be a helpful hitter in a relatively weak Marlins lineup. In his career, Segura has been an average defensive shortstop (-1 DRS) and a good defensive second baseman (+18 DRS).

Nick Maton – Third Base

Major League Experience: 2 of 87 Games

Maton has more MLB pitching appearances than appearances at third base. Maton was a utility player during his Philadelphia career, spending 10 or more games at four different positions. His most played position is second base with 31 total games. He tacked on 22 games at shortstop and 10 games in both corner outfield spots.

In the minors, Maton played 14 games at third base when he was at Triple-A. He primarily played shortstop, suiting up 325 total times in his minor league tenure. He even played 55 games at second base in the minors.

Now with the Detroit Tigers, Maton is blocked from second base (Jonathan Schoop) and shortstop (Javier Baez), so third base is his best option for potential playing time. Maton could be a solid fielder at the hot corner, but he will need to hit more to stick in the Majors.

Vaughn Grissom – Shortstop

Major League Experience: 2 of 41 Games

In 2022, the Braves suffered back-to-back injuries at second base, forcing Grissom into action in mid-August. Out of 41 games in his debut season, Grissom played 40 at second base (with one game he played both second base and shortstop). In the minors, Grissom only played 19 games at second base with just one coming above High-A ball.

While Grissom ascended to the Majors to play second base, his minor league experience largely came at shortstop. This inclusion on this list is based on his microscopic 23 games played at shortstop above High-A ball. For the time being, Grissom is a positionless player. Ideally, he would play shortstop for the Braves, but the organization could try Grissom in left field.

Ozzie Albies is the Braves’ long-term second baseman, and he lacks the arm strength to play shortstop. Grissom has the requisite arm talent to stick at shortstop, but it will be a learning experience at the MLB level. Last year, Grissom had -3 DRS in 347 innings at second base and -1 DRS in 10 innings at shortstop. The Braves need to unearth if this was inexperience or foreshadowing of a poor defensive player.

Daulton Varsho – Left Field

Major League Experience: 17 of 283 Games

This is borderline cheating, but left field is Varsho’s fifth-most common position in his MLB career. He has played at least 80 games as a catcher, center fielder, and right fielder. He has even served as a designated hitter 22 times. Last year, he did not play a game in left field.

Unlike some of the other players on the list, Varsho should have no issues with his position change. He has been an above-average defensive center fielder and an excellent defensive right fielder. In his brief time as a left fielder, Varsho accumulated +5 DRS.

Varsho likely won’t catch much in Toronto, but his positional versatility is a major strength. Kevin Kiermaier and George Springer have often dealt with injuries, so Varsho’s capability in all three outfield spots will be helpful.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. – Center Field

Major League Experience: 0 of 205 Games

Chisholm has been a professional baseball player since June 2016. He has played more than 500 games including 200 Major League games and 300 minor league games. He has never played center field. He has never even played in the outfield.

Other members of the list could be seen as stretches. Segura has played two dozen games at third base. Most of Grissom’s minor league career was spent at shortstop. Chisholm has zero outfield experience at the professional level, and his projection is the only true unknown.

Chisholm, to his credit, believes he can be a Gold Glover in the outfield. He has the requisite speed to cover a massive outfield, and he had enough of an arm to play shortstop.

Oscar Colas – Right Field

Major League Experience: 0 Games

Unlike Chisholm, Colas has played in the outfield, and he has some experience in right field. However, it is the third-most common position Colas has played. Across all levels of minor league baseball and foreign baseball, Colas has played 106 games at first base, 86 games in center field, and 60 games in right field.

Colas could make his MLB debut in 2023, and he is most likely to play right field for the White Sox. From left to right, the White Sox will likely deploy Andrew Benintendi, Luis Robert, and Colas. With this alignment, the White Sox will save wear and tear on Eloy Jimenez.

Colas is more of a hitter than a fielder, but FanGraphs projects his fielding tool to reach a 50 grade – in line with the MLB average. He might not be on the Opening Day roster, but if Colas continues to mash in the minors, he will be in Chicago playing right field in no time.

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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Ryan Potts is an avid football and baseball fan. He covers the NFL and Major League Baseball, focusing on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Braves.