There is no one answer to the question of what makes a great baseball player. There are nine different positions on a baseball field plus bench and bullpen roles and the designated hitter in the American League and all of these roles require different skills. 

What Makes a Great Pitcher?

Starting pitchers wear baseball gloves, just like the rest of the players on the field, but that is where the similarity ends. 

Some elite pitchers are very athletic, such as Shohei Ohtani. Others hardly look like athletes at all, such as Bartolo Colón. Elite pitchers have been tall, short, skinny, portly, muscular, and every other body type. 

Some pitchers are great because of the blazing speed on their fastballs while others get the job done with their wicked breaking pitches. Some do a little bit of everything, while others rely mostly on one elite tool. 

When it comes to measuring what makes a great pitcher great, the bottom line is getting batters out. 

What Makes a Great Catcher?

Good starting catchers are always in demand in Major League Baseball because there aren't that many of them. It's a tough position. Squatting day after day is tough on the knees. 

Getting nailed with wild pitches, foul tips, backswings, and balls in the dirt is hard on every other part of the body. Relatively few catchers are both great catchers and great hitters. 

The skills that separate the great catchers from the rest are the ability to call a good game, work with the pitching staff, block balls, throw out baserunners, and frame pitches. 

The best catchers help their pitchers perform better. Recent examples of elite catchers include Buster Posey and Yadier Molina.

What Makes a Great Corner Infielder?

Corner infielders are usually expected to be run producers, so the ability to hit home runs and drive in runners is usually prized at these positions. 

First base isn't usually considered to be a position for the defensively elite, but a good defender at this position, such as Paul Goldschmidt, Albert Pujols, or Anthony Rizzo, can make the whole infield look better. 

Third base is known as the hot corner for a reason. Third basemen don't have much time to react to a hard-hit ball down the line. Additionally, they have to be equally prepared to field bunts. 

Third basemen need to have a strong and accurate throwing arm. They also need to have enough athleticism to turn and cut down the runner at second from time to time. Recent examples of elite third-basemen include Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado.

What Makes a Great Middle Infielder?

The middle infield spots are often considered the most difficult fielding positions. This is because of the amount of ground that these positions have to cover and the need to make quick decisions and accurate throws to turn double plays

Middle infielders need to have the speed and flexibility to range both right and left on the field and track down shallow fly balls. They need strong and accurate throwing arms for getting outs at first or starting double plays.

In the modern game, the truly elite players at these positions also need to be able to hit. It has become more common for players in these positions to be power hitters, such as Fernando Tatis, though you will still find some smaller, faster guys in this role, such as Kolten Wong. 

What Makes a Great Outfielder?

Center Fielders can get away with being mostly defense, but corner outfielders need to hit to be elite. Center Fielders are often speedsters and need elite speed to play elite defense. 

Corner outfielders tend to be power hitters. Leftfield is often where the worst fielder on the team plays, but there are exceptions, such as Tyler O'Neil. The best of the best in this position is the classic "five-tool" player, such as Mike Trout.

When it comes to baseball, there is no one perfect player for every position. It is truly a sport where athletic ability helps, but it's the skills that really count.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!