Job Descriptions for Every Defensive Position in Baseball
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
A 6’4” powerhouse with a weird wind up whose hair is big because it’s full of secrets: ie, he hides his pitches well. He doesn’t have trust issues and relies on his Catcher to call the game. Is passionate about arts & crafts and loves to paint the corners. If he’s a lefty, a RBF and good death stare down to the first base runner is definitely a plus.
Star Candidate: Clayton Kershaw (6’4”, 225 lbs)
Unexpected Applicant: Tim Lincecum (5’11”, 170 lbs)
A heavy set guy who is fine taking a beating behind the plate, both physically and emotionally. Can “wax on wax off” his catching gear in under a minute. He should be the most strategic player on the field and have a cannon for an arm. Can flirt with the umpire if needed.
Star Candidate: Buster Posey (6’1”, 213 lbs, stoic yet assertive)
Unexpected Applicant: Kurt Suzuki (5’11”, 210 lbs). He’s a small and compact 37 year old man.
A tall lefty with a wide wingspan, cat-like agility, and can do the splits as well as Simone Biles. Doesn’t get easily distracted and is always ready for a pickoff throw.
Star Candidate: Matt Olson (6’5”, 225 lbs, Bats: Left, Throws: Left)
Unexpected Applicant: Scott Hatteberg (6’1”, 210 lbs, Bats: Left, Throws: Right). He had never played first base in his life before 2002, but he and Billy made it work.
A guy that protects second base like it's his baby. The whole middle infield is his wheelhouse, but he’s also willing to cover first base if needed. He doesn’t need to have the best arm because he usually only throws 90 feet.
Star Candidate: Robinson Canó
Unexpected Applicant: Eric Sogard. He’s good, he just doesn’t look the part because he rocks his Warby Parker glasses. Contact lenses hurt to put in his eyes.
The second strongest infielder on the team. He has to be able to throw a 127 foot lazer from 3rd to 1st with perfect accuracy. Ideally, he’s tall but he gets real low. He manages a small but tight jurisdiction and refuses to let grounders slip past him down the left field line.
Star Candidate: Matt Chapman (6’0”, 215 lbs)
Unexpected Applicant: Panda (5’10”, 268 lbs)
The leader of the infield and sometimes a 4th outfielder. He should have a nice loud voice so he can yell between innings to remind people how many outs there are. He’s not afraid to lay out and usually gets a nice dirt stain on his jersey by the 3rd inning. If no other player is particularly popular, he will be the default face of the team.
Star Candidate: Derek Jeter
Unexpected Applicant: Marcus Semien. Used to make 20+ errors per year, but he seems to be improving. He’s an example of the Moneyball strategy at work and Billy’s just letting Semien figure it out.
If you’ve got a pie thrower on the team, put that guy in left. However, he still needs to have decent fielding abilities, as he’ll typically get more balls hit to him than the right fielder (RH batters tend to pull the ball to left).
Star Candidate: Khris Davis, kind of a pie thrower, which is why he’s now a DH.
Unexpected Applicant: Yoenis Céspedes who indeed has a cannon for an arm.
A quick guy who can cover a lot of ground. He is able to break either right or left on any ball put in play and backs up his fellow outfielders. Not an ex-con, but loves to rob home runs.
Star Candidate: Kevin Kiermaier
Unexpected Applicant: Mike Trout, who doesn’t really look like he’d be that fast, but he’s fast.
Has an internal GPS, so he won’t get lost in triples alley. Can quickly assess distance vs speed vs wind, so anticipates the landing spot of opposite field hits that hook sharply to the right. He’s the best arm in the outfield and can fire a lazer back to home plate on 1 short hop.
Star Candidate: Jason Heyward
Unexpected Applicant: Hunter Pence, not the most graceful man. An old scouting report described him as, “Gangly. Runs like a rotary telephone thrown into a clothes dryer. Throws like an effete Frenchman throwing a bookcase uphill. Stares at you when you aren’t looking.”
Should be willing to throw their body at foul balls to protect the bullpen and fans. Their plays are so fantastic that they could make the feel-good section of ESPN highlights. Has a keen eye for cute babies to give foul balls to.
Knows where all the bats are at all times. Tells the hitting coach how many bats were broken during the day, either by accident or by angry players.
Disclosure to Candidates: The Catcher should be friends with everyone, but should honestly be connected at the hip with all of his Pitchers. Their friendship is the most critical relationship to the team’s success on the field.
Being an infielder is much more of a social position than an outfielder. The Extrovert is more likely to excel in the infield, and vice versa. As an infielder, you’ve got a bunch of friends to warm up with and chat with on the mound during pitching changes. In the outfield, you just stand alone for hours on end squinting at home plate. You may also have to put up with fans heckling you or throwing trash.
Hiring Manager's Conclusion: In practice, the Skipper just wants to call on the player who gets the job done. As an Econ major, I understand that models only work perfectly in an alternative universe. Things are always easier said than done. Just like every rule has an exception, every player is more than meets than eye. If you’re playing Billy Ball, you actually want to first pick 8 guys who can get on base, then figure out which defensive positions they will do the least harm in.
About the Author
Bonnie Young runs the Amplified blog. She shares her insights on market trends from US to Asia and interviews founders that are shaking up the tech scene. She has been passionate about baseball since the age of 13 and regularly attended A's games before the pandemic. Bonnie is currently looking for a growth equity or VC role in the Bay Area. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want daily MLB postseason game recaps and editorials directly in your inbox, subscribe to the Amplified newsletter here.