Wednesday, January 23, 2008

J.J. Hardy - Third Baseman?

Could J.J. Hardy eventually slide over to third base? A couple of recent reports might lead one to believe so.

In late November, Baseball America came out with their Top 10 Milwaukee Brewers Prospects. Shortstop Alcides Escobar was listed as the third best prospect behind outfielder Matt LaPorta, who was drafted last season, and left-handed starter Manny Parra, who may win a spot in the rotation this season. In the Projected 2011 line-up, Escobar is listed at shortstop with Hardy at third base.

While casual fans regard Hardy as a superior defender because he has a decent arm and makes relatively few errors, his range is concerning. He's generally regarded as one of the worst shortstops in the NL in regards to range while Escobar is regarded as a spectacular defender, which is noted in the Baseball America Top 10 Prospects article where he is listed as the Best Defensive Infielder and Best Infield Arm in the Brewers minor-league system. Escobar's offensive numbers are not nearly as impressive as his defensive tools, but he should continue to develop in AA or AAA this season and is only 21.

Earlier today, Doug Melvin appeared on the Doug Russell Show on 1250 WSSP (The show is archived HERE for anyone that is interested). The topic of Alcides Escobar came up and Doug Melvin seems to regard him very highly:
"We do have a good young shortstop, probably our top positional prospect along with Matt LaPorta, Alcides Escobar, who will be in camp this year. He's got a chance to be very good."
Later in the conversation, Melvin addressed the possibility of moving Hardy to third:
"There's always been talk that J.J. could adjust and become a third baseman. He's got great hands. He's got a pretty accurate arm.

"We've talked about J.J. Hardy as a third baseman before."
What are your thoughts on the possible move?


Anonymous slugger1524 said...

I have not got a chance to see Escobar play yet, but defense is an issue that does need to be addressed. I could definately see J.J. as being a 3rd baseman because of the reasons that Doug Melvin has brought up about his soft hands which is a major part about being a 3rd baseman. I love how hard the brewers minor league system works to develop their players for the Majors!!! I think it is the greatest story in baseball.. How many teams can say that atleast 6 of their positional starters come from the system!!!! Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the team win this year and for many more years to come!!!! Go BREWERS, WE LOVE YOU!

January 24, 2008 9:27 AM  

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