Top Utility Players
These jack-of-all-trades never know exactly where their names will be penciled into the lineup, yet they've made their careers out of being able to play three, four, even five positions in a season, and doing so as smoothly as if their positions were written in stone. Here are baseball's best utility players, starting with Freel, who has played five positions in four of the past five seasons. Spending time at second and third base as well as all three outfield positions, he stole more than 35 bases in three straight seasons from 2004 to '06.
After making all 116 of his 2007 starts in center field, Hall has started all 49 of his 2008 games at third base. A career .260 hitter, he belted a career-high 35 home runs in 2005 while splitting time between second base, third and shortstop, where he has the most career starts (261).
Primarily an outfielder, playing all three positions in each of his eight seasons, Mackowiak has also played three infield positions with a handful of starts at DH. He played five positions in the first 10 games of the 2003 season.
Though Cairo has spent most of his career at second base, he has played seven positions in his 13-year career with seven teams. He played every position but center field and catcher during the 2002 season alone.
Playing at least 20 career games at every position but catcher and first base, McLemore spent most of his career at second but also played 405 games in the outfield. He played more than 100 games at second base in five seasons, but set career bests in 2003 for hits (165), doubles (27) and RBIs (72) while starting 120 games in right field.
Along with more than 200 appearances at first and second combined, and sporadic starts in the outfield, Wigginton has spent most of his career at third, including 153 starts for the Mets in 2003 and all 34 of his starts with Houston this season. He has hit .275 or better in each of the past three seasons.
Starting 100 games at five positions, DeRosa has spent most of his career on the left side of the infield before moving primarily to second base over the past two years. A career .280 hitter, DeRosa has hit .290 or better and knocked in more than 70 runs in each of the past two seasons.
Loretta has spent more than 190 games at all four infield positions, including more than 700 starts at second base. Along with hitting .297 for his career, Loretta pitched a scoreless eighth inning against the Reds in 2001, striking out two batters while allowing one hit and one walk.
''Super Joe'' was a fan favorite who played every position except pitcher during his career. He played seven positions each season while with the Mets from 2000 to '04.
In his 18-year career the switch-hitting Phillips played second base (777 times), left field (566), shortstop (294), right field (169) and designated hitter (101). He started his career with the A's, where he was part of the 1989 world championship team.
Known for his versatility and speed, the eight-year vet has experience playing outfield, second base, shortstop and third. In the 2005 World Series, Harris got a pinch-hit single and scored the Series-clinching run on Jermaine Dye's RBI single. Now with the Nationals, Harris had a strong 2007 with the Braves, hitting .270 with 20 doubles, eight triples and 17 steals.
Initially a full-time shortstop, Aurilia was a star in 2001, with a .324 batting average, 37 home runs, 97 RBIs, an All-Star appearance and a Silver Slugger award. By 2005 he was one of the game's most valuable utility players with the Reds, spending time at shortstop, second and third and finishing with 14 home runs and 68 RBIs. In '06 he played at least 10 games at all four infield positions, and finished with a .300 average.
Spending all but his rookie year with the Cardinals, Oquendo played every position on the field. In 1988 he was the first position player to earn a pitching decision in 20 years (a loss).
He was the first of four players to play all nine positions in one game, doing so in September 1965 as part of a special promotion. He also pitched ambidextrously in that game, throwing left-handed to lefties and switching to the right side against right-handed batters.
Primarily utilized as the Angels' starting third baseman these days, Figgins still moonlights at second base (seven games there this season). When he first came up, it wasn't unusual to see him at three infield positions or all three outfield positions. From 2004 to 2006, he played at least 148 games without once playing more than 100 at any one position.