According to a recently written column by Pedro Moura of The Athletic, the Dodgers are anticipating imminent rule changes that will disallow position players from pitching. To counter, the organization is trying not just to turn position players into two-way players, but is also using it as a focus in the draft.
"They’re trying to find the next Ohtani." In anticipation of a new rule change, the Dodgers are putting minor-league position players on the mound. @pedromoura looks at the transition and how the Dodgers believe it can benefit them.https://t.co/GiBOr9u9aC
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticLA) August 7, 2019
For those who do not have subscriptions to the Athletic, here is a look at the inside of the article:
Brandon Montgomery, a 23-year-old infielder in the Dodgers’ minor league system is just one of many position players learning how to pitch. Our Tim Rogers also mentions this here. In his first outing, he cracked 94 miles per hour on the gun while inducing a ground ball for a double play:
Montgomery, 23, is one of several minor-league position players the Dodgers are trying as two-way players this summer, in preparation for a new rule that will next season prohibit position players from pitching unless specific conditions are met or they qualify for two-way status.
A few months ago, the Dodgers also signed outfielder Blake Gailen who has been pitching down in the minor leagues more so than he is getting at-bats. The Dodgers have also attempted to turn first baseman Ike Davis and outfielder Brett Eibner into two-players in the past, with Eibner now being converted to a full-time pitcher in the Independent American Association with hopes of making an MLB comeback.
As current Dodger reliever Caleb Ferguson noted:
They’re trying to find the next (Shohei) Ohtani.
I guess it does not hurt to try. With Brendan McKay making such an impact on the Tampa Bay Rays and Shohei Ohtani making a major impact on the Anaheim Angels, why not make an attempt? We all know how much the Dodgers value versatility, but this is taking it too new heights — in a good way. Outfielder Drew Avans, one of the players the Dodgers are trying to convert had this to say about exactly that:
I know that they’re looking for more versatility in every player that comes up to the big leagues nowadays and pitcher is technically just another position.
With the Dodgers being one of the most progressive clubs in baseball, this visionary line of thinking comes as no surprise.