Today we look at utility fielders for the Wilmington Blue Rocks 25th Anniversary team. Remember to vote in the comments section (and pick just one).
In the lower portion of the minor leagues, you tend to see guys move around the field a lot, meaning players do not always spend the majority of the season at one specific position. The following did just that in their time in Wilmington.
- Jimmie Byington (1995-1996, 1998): He may have epitomized a utility fielder: he played all nine positions on June 15, 1996 and is the only Blue Rock to have done that. In 1995, he played the bulk of his games in the outfield (48, 42 games in center), but also saw time at first base (8), second base (9), third base (12), and shortstop (13). He committed ten errors combined in 1995. In 1996, Byington played 89 of his 105 games in center field (he committed a combined seven errors). That season, he hit .296 with 22 doubles, 46 runs scored, and 32 RBIs. When he returned to Wilmington in 1998, Byington played 26 games at third base, compared to just four games in the outfield (he also hit .337 in 32 games).
- Corey Hart (2000-2001): He is tied for the longest hitting streak in Blue Rocks history at 19 games (July 30-September 1, 2001). In 2000, Hart played 21 games at third base, ten games at shortstop, and 12 games in left field. In 2001, he played 21 games at third base and 47 games at shortstop. Oh and he pitched three times. Hart hit .287 in 75 games in 2001 with 14 doubles and 28 RBIs.
- Darren Fenster (2002-2004): In 2002, he was an All-Star, despite hitting just .245. The following year, he hit .237 in 88 games, but hit .304 in 84 games in 2004. In his three year career in Wilmington, Fenster walked 135 times compared to 118 strikeouts. In his first season with the Blue Rocks, he played 48 games at third base, 17 at shortstop, and 12 at second base. In 2003, Fenster predominantly played third base (74 games, compared to nine at shortstop and three at second base). In 2004, he played in 26 games at both second and third base, while also seeing time in the outfield (eight games) and shortstop (three games).
- Jack Lopez (2013-2015): He has the second most games played in Blue Rocks history (348) and the most at-bats for a Blue Rock in his career (1312). Lopez stole the third most bases (63) in Blue Rocks history. Oh and he was a part of three triple plays. While he mostly played shortstop in his first season in Wilmington (111 of his 124 games), in 2014 he played just 29 games at shortstop and 76 games at second base (plus another two games at third base). He only committed 13 errors combined in 2014. In 2015, Lopez played 94 games at shortstop and 19 games at second base.
- Ramon Torres (2014-2015): An All-Star in 2015, he hit .257 with ten doubles, three triples, 29 runs scored, and 18 RBIs in 71 games. The year before (he came up in the second half from Lexington), Torres hit .248 in 44 games. In 2014, Torres played 22 games at second base and 21 games at third base (committing just eight errors). In 2015, he played 50 games at second base and 18 games at shortstop (committing just ten errors).
*Stay tuned tomorrow to vote on the starting pitchers for the Blue Rocks 25th Anniversary team.