Position changes in Major League Baseball aren't usually a big deal, but in certain instances, they can make or break a player's career.
Take two examples.
One: Skip Schumaker of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Schumaker was just one of many Cardinals outfielders who didn't have any room to grow at the big league level because the big league club was committed to veteran players. So, both sides agreed to let Schumaker try his glove at second base. After some initial struggles, Schumaker has developed into a solid defensive second baseman, who despite his ugly splits against left-handers, gets the opportunity to play everyday.
Two: Billy Rowell of the Baltimore Orioles.
Rowell was a first-round pick by Baltimore back in 2006. The O's passed on several productive big league players due to a strong belief in Rowell's bat. Five years later, they're still waiting on that bat, but even more, they're at a loss for what to do with him defensively. Rowell racked up the errors by the truckload at third base, so the team tried to move him to the outfield, believing that he would have less pressure to perform defensively and therefore be better at the plate. Instead, Rowell made an astounding number of errors in the outfield, and the O's shuffled him back to third base.
In an effort to get them to the big leagues faster, or to keep them extra-healthy, teams are starting to force position changes on minor league prospects, and the class of 2011 is no different.
Here are the top players who are looking at immediate position changes, and how it affects their status as prospects.