•  Register
11

It's Not Where You Begin...

by Steve Garrity on Jun. 11, 2010
The first round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft was filled with an interesting aspect that does not seem to be getting a lot of attention. Several players were selected early that could end up switching positions from the ones they were drafted under, while some players have already switched, such as the case of Bryce Harper. Below is a list of five players selected in the first round who most likely will be switching positions at the next level.

1) Bryce Harper, OF – Washington Nationals – Round 1 Pick 1 –
Position Change – Catcher to Outfielder
This position switch has seemingly already happened, as Harper was announced as an outfielder on draft day. Most know “the natural” as a catcher and he certainly has the tools to stay there. Bryce Harper brings above average athleticism, soft hands and an extremely strong arm, characteristics that would play well with any position. Along with these tools, he brings above average bat speed, power, and quickness to a spot where there happens to be very few players who can put it all together in the same way. He was automatically the best prospect in the Nationals system as soon as he was selected and would be for any other organization as a possible five tool player. However the switch from catcher, his natural position, to any outfield spot may have cut down on injury risks and given Harper a quicker time table to reach Washington, as well as longevity into the future.

2) Christian Colon, SS – Kansas City Royals – Round 1 Pick 4 –
Position Change – Shortstop to Second Base
Christian Colon has always been thought of as a solid, if unspectacular prospect that could move through a system quickly. As a shortstop he grades out as average across the board. He brings decent range and hands, as well as a solid playable arm to the shortstop position, which was a huge need in the Royals system. At the plate he swings a solid bat, making good contact and adding some pop in there. However, some do not see him as the right caliber athlete to handle the position in the professional ranks. If he struggles in the minors a switch to second base could be in order, which is where many think he will end up. The Oakland Athletics were said to be interested in drafting him at second base, so some apparently think the switch should come sooner rather than later. Colon is the best shortstop in the Royals system right now, so he will get his chance to stick at the position. However a move to second would allow his tools to grade out higher and make him a more valuable asset.

3) Delino Deshields Jr. CF – Houston Astros – Round 1 Pick 8 –
Position Change – Center Fielder to Second Base
Deshields was a late riser on team's draft boards leading up to the event. He might have been a bit of a reach this high in the draft but he has a few things going for him. He is the son of former Major Leaguer Delino Deshields, and is just like his father, in that he is a speedster who can swing a decent bat. His best tool is his speed and when he gets on base, he could be avery dangerous base stealer. It also allows him to cover some ground in the outfield and play a decent center field. His overall outfield defense could use some work though, and while his speed helps him cover mistakes, if he struggles to figure it out, a possible move to second could be in the works. At center his arm is below average, but if he moves to second he could have a playable arm with very good hands. A position switch, along with his above average athleticism, (he has a received many division 1 football offers), could make him a very valuable asset in Houston’s farm system.

4) Kolbrin Vitek 2B- Boston Red Sox – Round 1 Pick 20 –
Position Change – Second Base to the Outfield
Kolbrin Vitek is a hitter first and a defensive player second. Whichever position he ends up playing, he will bring his bat with him. During his college career he moved around a bit on the field while trying to find a home defensively. He played second base this year, though many felt it was never a proper fit. He was also a two way player, as he was asked to pitch occasionally, which gives him plenty of arm strength in the field. He adds to that with pretty good athleticism and enough speed that he could be a decent base stealer in professional baseball. After combining all these tools, and the fact that at 6’2 and 195 lbs. he could be too big for second base, a corner outfield spot seems to be the best place for him. He projects to be a pretty good hitter at the next level due to his bat speed and overall hitting mechanics, so with his strong arm right field would suit him well.

5) Zack Cox 3B – St.Louis Cardinals – Round 1 Pick 25 –
Position Change – Third Base to Second Base
Like Vitek, wherever Zack Cox plays his bat will be what carries him. At Arkansas he spent some time pitching, which gave him a plus arm from the hot corner. However his overall defense at third was a little suspect. His actions were not as quick as you would like and he didn’t seem to have the athleticism it would take to move well at third in pro ball. During the end of the season the Razorbacks started playing him at second base periodically, allowing him to try and get a feel for the position. The Cardinals will give him a chance to start out at third, although his profile seems to push him towards second base. He will be good hitter no matter where he plays, and with a balanced left handed swing he’ll hit for average with some power. If he struggles early though a move to second will be in order and there his profile will be an offensive minded player, with decent range and a solid glove.

Other Notable Players Possibly Switching Positions
Manny Machado picked by Baltimore third overall, has a chance to move to third if he outgrows shortstop.
➢ The 10th overall pick Michael Choice, could be moving from centerfield to right field, if his lower half continues to fill out since it would take away some of his speed.
Cito Culver, taken by the Yankees with the last pick in the first round, has all the tools to stay at short. However, there are some who think he could handle centerfield as well if need be.
➢ Drafted in the second round, 54th overall by Kansas City, Brett Eibner was drafted as a centerfielder and would like to chance to show what he can do offensively. However most scouts agree he has the best chance of success on the mound.