Grading position switchers

Shin-Soo Choo struggling, Nick Swisher shining in new spots

Updated: May 26, 2013, 4:50 PM ET
By Scott Spratt | ESPN Insider

Shin-Soo ChooFrank Victores/USA TODAY SportsChoo has gotten slightly better in center as the season has progressed.

On April 8, with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Yadier Molina hit a deep fly ball to center field that Shin-Soo Choo got under. The ball hit off the webbing of his glove and popped up in the air. For a moment, it looked like Choo would recover to catch the ball, but it once again struck his glove before falling to the ground, allowing two runs to score.

Later in the same game, this time in the bottom of the sixth inning, Molina hit another fly ball to Choo. Again, there were two outs, and again the ball struck Choo's glove, this time at the heel, before falling to outfield grass and allowing another run to score with two outs. The Reds later rallied to win the game handily, but in the second week of the season, it seemed the Shin-Soo Choo-to-center-field experiment would fail and do so quickly.

Each season, many players move positions. Some make minor moves, like from one corner outfield spot to another. Others move from a more demanding to a less demanding position, often because of a loss of range with advancing age. However, some moves become controversial, such as when players go from an easier to a more difficult position, or when the opposite move may offset the value of their offensive contributions. Here are five of the most controversial moves this season and how they have worked out in the first two months:

Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds | RF to CF

Choo has avoided egregious errors since April 8, but his move to center field was controversial for two different reasons: one, his poor range, and two, his excellent arm.


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Scott Spratt

Baseball Info Solutions