Baseball has many positions, but not all are created equal. Some have more importance in the grand scheme of things. Here are the positions ranked in order from most important to least.
- •CatcherMost important position on the diamond by far. They are involved in every defensive play and will often set the defense. The top catchers call every pitch, send signals to the rest of the defense and also work on the umpire to give you those close calls. If your team has a poor catcher, it can be tough to overcome.
- •PitcherIf you don't have a guy that can throw it well, it doesn't matter what a catcher calls. Even though they only play every fifth game, there is a reason top starting pitchers are typically the highest paid players in the game.
- •ShortstopSo many balls are hit in that direction and they need to cover a lot of ground. You need someone who is quick and agile, but still has a strong arm. A good shortstop makes your whole infield better.
- •CenterfieldSimilarly, a good center fielder makes the whole outfield better. You put a fast, smart player out there with a strong arm and you can breathe easier putting less defensive minded players in the corner outfield spots.
- •First baseIt is such a luxury when you have a first basemen that will catch anything thrown near them. It allows the other infielders to be try and make the impossible play. Also, a lot of hitters over the years have padded their stats by ripping grounders past the slow, lumbering first basemen. With a good one, those hits disappear.
- •Third baseThe hot corner. Helps to have quick reflexes and a strong arm. You can get away with a slower player here, especially with a good shortstop, but a good one will save a lot of extra base hits.
- •Right fieldIt's important, you know? The makeup of the outfield positions varies by teams and often by the dimensions of their fields. Traditionally, a right fielder has the strongest arm on the team so they can throw out that runner heading to third. They may also be asked to cover a bit more ground than left since more balls are hit to left and the CF will shade that way.
- •Second baseAt younger levels, this is where you might stick your worst player. Just not a lot of balls hit on the ground to the right side and double plays are rarely attempted. As you get older, it becomes more important, so you'll see some former shortstops change positions. Very important position for double plays and will help cover the hole if you have a statuesque first basemen.
- •Left fieldIn MLB, I often see the worst defensive player put out there. Again, it depends on the teams strategy, but LF has become a place you put a great hitter and you just hope they catch the easy ones and don't screw anything up too bad. Having a strong CF really helps.
- •Designated hitterNot really a position