There are many factors that go into the question that a lot of players and parents ask themselves, “What position should I play in baseball?”
First, as you are young (really throughout your career), you should work on playing 2-3 positions. The more positions you can play well, the more you are worth to your coach.
When families ask me, “What position should I play in baseball,” I will tell them we want them to have a primary position (their favorite and the one they play the best and most) as well as having a 2nd position (usually a complementing position to the primary like 2b to SS, 3b to 1b, etc), as well as a 3rd position you can play if you are needed.
The older you become, the more playing multiple positions will help. Your top goal should be to get on the field and to help you team win however you can. If you are a freshman in high school and the shortstop is a senior, you can either beat him out OR you can win a job at 2b or 3b because you are hitting well and are able to play those positions.
Here are a few factors to consider when you are choosing the positions to work on:
Do you have the coordination to play the infield?
Almost everyone wants to play the infield. It is easy to see the players who have the ability and coordination to play the infield at a high level early in their career. Some players just struggle running to a ball, breaking down, getting their hands in the right position and then fielding it. They may be able to do it, it just doesn’t look very good. As an infielder, you need to be quick, flexible in the hips with the ability to get very low, and then field the ball as you are moving through it.
Being an infielder is much like being a dancer….and we all know some people just don’t have the “moves.”
Do you have really good hands but are bigger and are not the fastest person on the field?
Next, when asking yourself “What position should I play in baseball,” you should really consider if you are cut out to be a catcher. There is a thought that catching is the easiest way to the MLB. There are just not that many players who like to do it and do it very well.
If you have great hands, a strong arm, don’t mind a little pain, but are a bit on the slower side, you should seriously consider working on catching. The only real item I wish I could go back and change in my career is I would have given myself a chance to be a catcher. It would have been a much easier road than being a shortstop from the Midwest!
Do you struggle to field ground balls?
Like point #1, there are just some players who HATE fielding ground balls. I know there is a stigma at younger ages about playing the outfield. Some people believe that coaches just stick their worst player out in right field to hide him. That may be true to some extent, but at a higher level of play for young players as well as at all levels of play for older guys, the outfield is a critical position. Being fast, getting good jumps on balls, and being able to track down a baseball is a critical skill set to a team.
Are you fast, but it takes you a few steps to get up to full speed?
As a player answers the question of “what position should I play in baseball,” not only is your speed going to determine where you play, but also what type of speed do you have. As an infielder, you need to have a great 1st step and the ability to get up to full speed in 2 steps. As an outfielder, it is nice to have a good 1st step, but having top end speed is more important because you have more ground to cover than an infielder does.
As you can tell, the question of “what position should I play in baseball” is a critical one that can have a lasting effect on your career. Like anything else in baseball or in life, having the ability to look in the mirror and self-analyze is critical. So many players want to believe they are a shortstop at a high-level because shortstop is one of the prime positions on the field. However, if they could look at their skillset objectively, they would see they would be a much better fit as a catcher, CF or other position.
If you would like my advice on your position or other questions on your baseball career, you should check out our CageRat Recruiting Program!
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