Former first-round pick Matt Thaiss was asked to add a few more tools to his toolbox in a brief 2020, and experienced a steep learning curve.
Thaiss was drafted out of Virginia in 2016 as a catcher but played exclusively first and third base in the minors and majors through 2019. He was only active for about three weeks in total in 2020, and he started in five of his eight games.
Two of the starts came at designated hitter and another at first base. But on September 8 in Texas, Thaiss made his first professional start at second base, and made a two-run error. The next night he started in left field, and had this ball drop in front of him for a double, a ball with a 1-in-100 chance of falling for a hit:
“The more positions Matt can play, the longer his major league career can be,” manager Joe Maddon said of Thaiss’ versatility. “He’s capable of doing it, he’s got a skillset that plays at a variety of positions, and the makeup to deal with it.”
Those were the only games Thaiss played at second base and in left field, as he was optioned a week later.
Stats: 3 for 21, .143/.280/.286, 64 wRC+, 1 HR, 8 games
Game of the year
Thaiss on September 9 — the game he started in left field — hit his only home run of the season, off Rangers lefty Brett Martin in Arlington.
Thaiss has 153 days of major league service time, and two option years remaining.