When the Milwaukee Brewers traded for third baseman Mike Moustakas (6 feet, 225 pounds) at the 2018 trade deadline, he pushed Travis Shaw (6-4, 230) from third to second. A year later, he kept Mustakas there for 47 games. Neither Shaw nor Mustakas had played a single innings of the first pro ball in seconds.
“As an industry, we’re beginning to recognize that you don’t need to look a certain way to play a specific position,” said David Stearns, the Brewers’ president of baseball operations.
In Colorado, initial reviews of McMahon’s fielding were decidedly mixed.
McMahon’s Baseball America Scouting Report prior to the 2018 season noted that, while he is physically large for second base, McMahon “impressed the Rockies in how he adapted to the situation, although the opposing scouts are less confident. “
As the 2021 season begins its second run on Thursday, however, McMahon’s seven defensive runs saved at second base are tied for the major league lead with Marcus Semien of the Toronto Blue Jays and David Fletcher of the Los Angeles Angels. This is despite McMahon spending half his time at third base. Add to his six DRS on third, and McMahon has been the most valuable fielder in the majors.
While McMahon has turned into a fielding success story, the development of second base has also opened up options for good hitters who do not have the natural position.
Max Munsey, a college first baseman who learned third in the minors, played only three Class AAA games in second, and two in the Cape Cod league, before the Oakland Athletics installed him in the majors in 2016. , 215 pounds build, Munsey has played second base extensively for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He leads the National League this season with a .414 on-base percentage and has offered a lot of versatility by spending time in five positions (first, second, third, right field and left) over the years.
“Muncy is a better athlete than people think: He can run, he can dunk — he’s a very explosive dude,” said Josh Byrnes, Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations.