Ian Desmond (30 years old at time of switch, 6’3″ 220)
Desmond played SS almost exclusively (two games in RF early in his major league career) for Washington, and was their starting SS for six straight years before signing with the Texas Rangers as a free agent in 2016. His play at SS was erratic and athletic, not too unlike Amed Rosario’s.
Texas signed him to play the outfield and that season he started 155 games in CF (128) and LF (27). His defensive metrics in CF (-4/-6/-0.8) in 2016 were not bad for someone making the switch at his age. The numbers were slightly better than his last year at SS in 2015 (-8/1/-6.3).
For his career, his numbers at SS are slightly better than for CF but I would expect that if he played CF first his CF numbers would have been significantly better.
Not surprisingly that next time he signed as a free agent the Colorado Rockies signed him to play 1B although he ended up playing four different positions in both 2017 and 2018 and is somehow back exclusively in CF this at age 33. And struggling there (-29/-35/-13.4) also not surprising.
Here is the link to Desmond’s Fangraphs fielding page. Please scroll down to Inside Edge Fielding section.
Desmond has the perfect physical tools to play every position except maybe catcher. His slash line of .268/.322/.488 is not bad for a utility player. The only real issue with him is his contract.
Centerfielders and shortstops and age, oh my!
Only four of 15 qualified centerfielders this season are 30 and older. And only two are 32 and older: Lorenzo Cain and Ian Desmond. Only two of 18 shortstops are 30 and older and only one is 32 and older: Brandon Crawford.