A month before the 2018 draft, a Rays scout asked Tanner Dodson, then an outfielder and pitcher for the University of California, if he was open to continuing as a two-way player if they selected him. He answered with an enthusiastic yes. The Rays are now experimenting with another two-way player this season in Triple-A: shortstop-pitcher Jake Cronenworth, who pitched in college for Michigan. He’s batting .333 in 276 at-bats and has hit 96 mph in 6⅓ scoreless innings, often working as an opener.
McKay, Cronenworth and Dodson are the faces of the club’s latest unconventional approach: taking advantage of the two-way player in an era when it’s never been more needed. Pitching staffs have expanded and bullpens have taken on a record number of innings, so, getting two players for the price of one roster spot should have more appeal. Other clubs have also followed the Ohtani experiment to a degree,4 but it’s the team that championed defensive shifts and the opener that is again at the forefront of asking what is possible.
Source: Travis Sawchik, FiveThirtyEight