5 MLB Bench Players Who Would Excel on Other Teams
Being a bench player in the major leagues is a difficult job. One has to be prepared at any time to come off the bench and contribute in a key situation in a short amount of time.
Some successful bench players have also been able to transition to the next stage in their careers and contribute to their team's cause on a daily basis as a starter.
These five major league players are currently not seeing as much playing time as they would like, but if given the opportunity, all five of them would be able to succeed as a starter on a different team.
All statistics obtained from baseball-reference.com
Daniel Descalso, St. Louis Cardinals
During the 2012 season, Daniel Descalso was one of the integral parts of the Cardinals’ postseason run but this season he has been battling for playing time with Pete Kozma and Matt Carpenter in the middle infield.
Finding a starting place in a crowded infield full of homegrown talent is a difficult task nowadays in St. Louis, and Descalso seems to be the odd man out as he has played in just 48 games this season.
While there is little reason to believe that Descalso would actually leave St. Louis in the near future, there is no doubt that he would be an instant starter anywhere else in the league if he were to trade in Cardinal red for another uniform.
Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays
Another organization that has always produced competition at every position year in and year out has been the Tampa Bay Rays.
One victim of the competition this season has been infielder Sean Rodriguez.
The addition of Yunel Escobar at shortstop, which is Rodriguez’s primary position, and the play of Ben Zobrist at second base and Matt Joyce in left field have left the 28-year-old on the outside looking in.
In the last three seasons, Rodriguez has played over 100 games—and while his offensive numbers may not be great (his career batting average is .226), he is a rock on the defensive end as he has committed just 38 errors in six major league seasons.
Nick Hundley, San Diego Padres
Mired in a slump and stuck behind a top prospect in San Diego, Nick Hundley could use a change of scenery and a chance to excel as an everyday catcher.
Hundley showed signs of promise during the 2011 season as he hit .288 in 82 games, but his production and playing time have dropped off since then.
The 29-year-old was given a chance to start at catcher for the Padres this season, but now that Yasmani Grandal is back from his suspension, Hundley has been relegated to the bench.
As a player who has not played over 85 games in a single season, Hundley would be a risk if another team were to swoop in for him, but in some cases you have to take a risk on a player for him to succeed.
After spending a year in Houston where he played over 100 games for the first time in his career, Jordan Schafer has found himself in a familiar position on the bench of the Atlanta Braves.
Schafer has seen a decent amount of playing time this season because of the struggles of B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward, but when it comes down to crunch time in August and September, he will most likely spend the majority of his time riding the pine.
Schafer does have the potential to be a leadoff hitter and a solid defensive center fielder, but like so many bench players in the majors, he has not received a fair opportunity to thrive at the highest level yet.
In the right organization, Schafer could develop into a strong leadoff hitter who is able to manufacture runs and provide excellent defense.
John Mayberry Jr., Philadelphia Phillies
Not many people would have the level of patience that John Mayberry Jr. has had during his major league career.
In his first two seasons in Philadelphia, Mayberry was a young kid looking to find a place on the 25-man roster.
In the last two seasons, Mayberry has developed into a solid contributor for the Phillies, but his role has changed once again this season with the additions of Ben Revere and Delmon Young to the outfield.
Although he has played in 63 games this season, Mayberry has found himself back on the bench recently after Revere and Young have found their own success on offense alongside Domonic Brown.
If he were in any other organization, Mayberry probably would have been given a larger opportunity to start on a consistent basis, but for now he will have to once again wait for his name to be called by manager Charlie Manuel.
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