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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Brewers prospect plays every position, all in one game

Nathan Orf plays for the Brevard County Manatees, the Single-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, and he might just be the most versatile player in all of baseball. Normally we’d need to show you a series of charts and supporting claims to prove that point. Instead just look at the box score from Sunday night….

That’s right. Orf played all nine positions for the Manatees, and you know, he didn’t completely suck. He drew a walk, then forced a ground out in the ninth inning as a pitcher. The team’s manager planned to play Orf at every spot, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 02, 2014 at 10:49 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, nathan orf, playing all nine positions

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   1. AROM Posted: September 02, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4783804)
It's been done in the big leagues. Bert Campaneris I remember, but someone else did it who I'm forgetting. I'm pretty sure every player to play 9 positions did it as a planned stunt. It would be really impressive if it happened naturally - each position change the result of optimizing game situations or in response to another player's injury. It would probably take a 20 inning game for the stars to align on something like that.

In that situation I think the player would have to do pitcher and catcher last. Play the other 7 innings until you run out of relief pitchers, put him on the mound like that Chris Davis vs. Darnell McDonald game. But then the last catcher on the roster gets hurt, super sub takes over at catcher and you reluctantly put a starter on the mound.
   2. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: September 02, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4783805)
Brandon Inge too, right?
   3. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 02, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4783812)

Bert Campaneris I remember, but someone else did it who I'm forgetting.


Cesar Tovar was the second.

The team’s manager planned to play Orf at every spot, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.


I, for one, would be far more impressed if it was done out of necessity.
   4. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: September 02, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4783813)
Cesar Tovar, Scott Sheldon, and Shane Halter also utilized the Orf approach.

   5. flournoy Posted: September 02, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4783814)
Shane Halter did it. He also scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in that game.
   6. Ron J2 Posted: September 02, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4783820)
#1 I suppose it could have happened if the Blue Jays and Orioles had been playing without a DH. Basically the Orioles pinch-hit for everybody and ended up with no catchers and 5 outfielders (none of whom were willing/able to catch).

Sakata was a utility infielder, ended up at catcher by necessity and had to be on the short list for position players as pitcher if it came to that.

Not sure how he'd have ended up in the outfield, but there was a time when Jose Oquendo regularly played the outfield and was still a fine defensive infielder, so a game like the one I'm talking about could have featured somebody like Oquendo or Tony Phillips starting in the outfield and moving through other positions and ending up at catcher because somebody has to go there.
   7. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 02, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4783821)
That's no big deal. I've done it, TWICE. Sure, it was in a rec league softball game, but it's the same thing, amirite?
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 02, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4783827)
If the Brewers okayed this, I'm guessing he's not really a prospect.
   9. JoeHova Posted: September 02, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4783842)
The Brewers had Vinny Rottino do this in an A-ball game a few years ago too, iirc. They must like giving versatile guys the chance to get their names out there. It worked a bit for Rottino, he ended up getting a few games in the majors and has been playing overseas for the past couple years.
   10. zonk Posted: September 02, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4783901)
I thought Jose Oquendo did this once, too...
   11. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: September 02, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4783964)
I thought Jose Oquendo did this once, too...


I did, too, but maybe that was just a blooper tape I had as a kid.
   12. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: September 02, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4783981)
Jake Elmore played all nine positions for the Astros last season (and 6 games at DH), just not in one game. He pitched and caught in the same game. The starting catcher got hurt in the 3rd inning with the Astros down 12-1 and the backup catcher at the DH. So Elmore caught 4.1 innings, then pitched the 8th.

Don Kelly has played all nine positions over the course of his career. Players since integration who have the career circuit:

Bert Campaneris
Cookie Rojas
Cesar Tovar
Shane Halter
Don Kelly
Bill Pecota
Steve Lyons
Jose Oquendo
Scott Sheldon
Jake Elmore

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/2/2014.
   13. boteman Posted: September 02, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4784094)
Is there really that much of a difference between playing infield and outfield at the Major League level? Is it a question of being able to judge fly balls better? Or having lightning-quick reflexes needed on the infield to nab sharp grounders and line drives?

If a guy is a speedy center fielder it would seem that those same quick reflexes would be useful as an infielder. I'm not saying an Adam Dunn could play outfield, although the Nationals stupidly tried it, but a versatile player can be a good thing as the Rays have demonstrated a number of times.
   14. #6bid is partially elite Posted: September 02, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4784124)
Buster Posey played all 9 positions in one game when he was at Florida State -- he was the team's closer IIRC.
   15. Bourbon Samurai Posted: September 02, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4784158)
I did, too, but maybe that was just a blooper tape I had as a kid.


I also had that blooper tape.
   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 02, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4784162)
Bugs Bunny did it.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4784213)

I was a kid when Campaneris and Tovar did it. Frankly, I thought it was lame then, and lame now. Anyone could do it, obviously. I do like the Elmore one in No. 12, though.

   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 02, 2014 at 09:55 PM (#4784225)
If a guy is a speedy center fielder it would seem that those same quick reflexes would be useful as an infielder.


It's useful, but not nearly as useful as being able to field hard-hit grounders, and not every outfielder can do that (nor can every infielder get the reads necessary to play the OF). Altogether, I'd say it's easier (though not necessarily practical) to convert an infielder to outfielder than the other way around, though obviously a number of outfielders find their way to first.

   19. God Posted: September 02, 2014 at 10:02 PM (#4784232)
I was a kid when Campaneris and Tovar did it. Frankly, I thought it was lame then, and lame now. Anyone could do it, obviously. I do like the Elmore one in No. 12, though.


It's kind of been cheapened by the no-name guys doing it recently. When I was a kid, the only two who'd done it were Campaneris and Tovar. At least those two were real ballplayers.
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4784233)

Wow, I'm as old as God.
   21. Belfry Bob Posted: September 03, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4784923)
Bob Beall did this for the Richmond Braves around 1974 at the end of the season. It was announced ahead of time and a lot of fans showed up to see him do it. He did a good job.
   22. BDC Posted: September 03, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4784931)
Is there really that much of a difference between playing infield and outfield at the Major League level?

Handedness is an issue, so the stunt is off limits to LHT at a high level. But often, you're right, less than one would think. Many utility men move pretty easily from OF to IF and back. Aside from pitching & catching, it's hard to think of a move that hasn't been made by at least one prominent player. As noted, IF to OF is more common, from Rose to Soriano and many others. CF to 1B should be easy, if Darin Erstad is any indication.

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