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Andrew Mearns 

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The best of weird baseball in 2016.

Imagine that you're a member of the New York Philharmonic. You’ve practiced countless hours on the viola, earned a bachelor’s degree in performance, taken out student loans to get yourself through a music program in graduate school, and spent several years auditioning, waiting for a break to finally go your way. It’s been a long, long journey, but at last you're finally in the role you dreamed about.

Then one day when you’re on tour in Europe, the oboist begins suffering from horrific food poisoning at intermission of a show in Prague. There is no time for the conductor to ask a ringer to bail them out.* Remembering that you also dabbled at oboe many years ago while an undergrad, you are asked to step up and fill in.

Congratulations, you are now Robin Ventura playing second base in a heated 2003 Yankees-Red Sox showdown.

Some of my favorite baseball moments have come from professionals suddenly being forced into positions far from the ordinary. It’s the ultimate #Weirdball, and I’ve written about the yearly All Out-of-Position Team for three years in a row. Here it is once more, the most spectacular group of randomly placed players who saw at least one game at the position in 2016.

*Quiet, musicians of the baseball world. I know there’s a decent chance that a ringer exists or that the orchestra would simply proceed without the oboist. The fact that the very idea of this happening in a professional orchestra is so ludicrous only makes this better, because in how many forms of entertainment other than baseball can people be so out of place?

Pitcher: Miguel Montero

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June 18, 2016 6:00 am

BP Mets


Andrew Mearns

On the surprisingly good deal that the Mets signed their aging right-fielder to.

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The players who played where players like them should not play.

Baseball certainly had its share of wacky storylines in 2014. From the mystery woman in the Giants’ dugout during the wild card game to the Great Wall of Dodgers to, well, the Royals’ entire playoff run, baseball maintained its heritage of bizarre occurrences. (Ben Revere even homered! Twice!) Most importantly, the longstanding tradition of Weirdball with people playing out of position continued. Last year, I wrote about the 2013 All Out-of-Position Team, a collection of players who spent time on defense in places where they were about as appropriate as Jose Canseco on The 700 Club.

Raul Ibanez never did get to center field as I had hoped, but there was definitely an impressive showing of major-league players who simply should not be associated with the positions they played. However, every appearance they made there was a treasure, truly demonstrating the strange depths baseball can occasionally reach.

Pitcher: Adam Dunn
After 462 homers in just 14 seasons, the big lefty surprisingly decided to call it a career early, just a month before his 35th birthday. While it is a bit disappointing that fans won’t get to see Dunn moonshots anymore, he at least gave them one thrill they likely never expected to see: one inning on the mound.

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The best of the defensive spectacles you might've missed last season.

Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers, and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Andrew Mearns is an editor and writer at SB Nation's Yankees blog, Pinstripe Alley, where he also co-hosts a podcast. A 2012 graduate of Gettysburg College, he works in higher education and aspires to keep his value as a baseball writer higher than Andy Stankiewicz's value as a player. You can follow him on Twitter @MearnsPSA and @pinstripealley.

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