Braun Move To Second Base Would Not Be All That Difficult In The Game Of Today

Milwaukee just enjoyed quite a week, acquiring two top notch sluggers within a span of 24 hours. After signing free agent outfielder Lorenzo Cain to a five year contract, the Brewers then acquired Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins in exchange for a package of top prospects.This sudden influx of talent, which provides huge upgrades to both its defense and offense, does nevertheless pose a problem for Milwaukee. Having already three had three quality outfielders in the everyday lineup, the Brewers now find themselves with a glut at that position.While a trade would appear to be imminent, one of those current outfielders is virtually confined to Milwaukee. Ryan Braun, a perennial All-Star and former National League Most Valuable Player, has a huge contract that no team would want to burdened with.One of the possibilities the Brewers have mentioned is switching Braun from the outfield to second base, a position he has never played. Critics of that proposal cite the fact that Milwaukee years ago had to move Braun from third base to left field, primarily because of his poor defense at the hot corner.The move would not be that drastic, given the way the game of baseball has changed in the years since Braun last played in the infield. Second base has become a much easier position to play, all because of the recent defensive alignments employed by virtually every manager in both leagues.Former All Star second baseman Harold Reynolds, who is now a co-host on Hot Stove on the MLB channel, discussed the new defensive requirements on a recent episode. Because of the frequent use of the shift, Reynolds concluded, second basemen do not need the range required in the past.He cited as an example Washington’s Daniel Murphey, whose offensive production has always far outweighed his defensive reputation. Nevertheless, Murphey has played second well enough that the Nationals won the N.L. East championship in 2017.Reynolds, who won a Gold Glove during his career with the Seattle Mariners, suggested that playing second is now more akin to playing first in terms of range. After all, against most hitters the defense is aligned so that three infielders are set up on either side of the diamond, leaving much less space for which the second baseman is responsible.Braun will also have experienced guidance nearby to help him make an easy transition to second, in the form of his skipper. Milwaukee manager Craig Counsel was a veteran middle infielder, as well as one of Braun’s former teammates.Between the way the shift has eased the position and the first hand assistance of a manager who played there for nearly two decades, Ryan Braun could make a smooth transition from left to second, a move which would certainly make the Milwaukee lineup the best among the five clubs in the N.L. Central Division.