With more position players thrust into mop-up duty this season than ever before, we thought it would be fun to ask a bunch of Major Leaguers which position player (who has never pitched) they would most like to see pitch.
We didn't expect one of the answers to prove prescient.
"Can I vote for myself?" Jose Reyes responded last week. "I want to pitch!"
Well, you know what happened next, right? The Mets got shellacked by the Nationals on Tuesday night and in the eighth inning, the prophecy was fulfilled, with Reyes' odd sidearm action and hittable stuff leading to six more runs in the worst drubbing in Mets franchise history.
Maybe there's a lesson there: If you're a position player in 2018 and you want to pitch, chances are you're going to pitch.
Not counting two-way talent Shohei Ohtani, there have already been a record 49 instances this season in which a position player has pitched -- up from 36 last year and 26 in 2016. And it's not just backup catchers or fifth outfielders getting the call. Even star Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was among those to take the mound for the first time.
In an era of increasing bullpen specialization and starters not going as deep into games, more need arises for a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency arm. So who do the players want to see pitch? We sought input from guys from all 30 teams and got 45 responses (including an acerbic one from Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who said simply, "I'd rather see pitchers pitch").
As always, the results are unscientific -- but fun!
Manny Machado, Dodgers shortstop, three votes
After voting for himself, Reyes picked Machado.
"Unbelievable arm," Reyes said.
Here's proof from 2016 that shows what Reyes is talking about, as Machado easily whips an 89.2-mph throw, according to Statcast™, to first after making a sliding stop and spin. Imagine what he could do with the benefit of a real windup.
"I feel like if he pitched, it would be like Chris Sale from the right side," Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos said. "Just watch how he throws across the diamond. So imagine if he wound up and did that from the mound. That would be tough."
Joey Votto, Reds first baseman, three votes
Hey, nobody's claiming Votto's arm is on par with that of Machado. His selection here was a matter of personality, not power throws.
"He's too funny on first base," Pirates starter Ivan Nova said. "Why not give him the chance to do something different like pitching? Every position player that I've seen pitch this year, they're having so much fun with it -- laughing and all that. He's one of the guys that I think should be fun to see on the mound."
Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich was thinking along those same lines.
"This is an entertainment business," Yelich said. "I could be wrong, maybe he'd just go out there and lob it, but knowing him and all the things he does, I think he would have something."
Teammate Travis Shaw was sitting nearby and asked Yelich what he was talking about.
"If you could watch one guy pitch -- a position player who's never pitched -- who would you pick?" Yelich asked Shaw.
"Probably Joey Votto," Shaw responded without hesitation.
Aaron Hicks, Yankees center fielder, three votes
Just last week, Hicks ended a game against the Royals by throwing a 98.7-mph one-hopper home to nab Alex Gordon for the final out.
Why anybody would run on Hicks at this point is a mystery. This is the same guy who, two years ago, recorded a 105.5-mph throw -- the fastest ever recorded by Statcast™.
"That dude has a bazooka," Indians closer Cody Allen said. "And his arm action is super, super clean. And he's really athletic. I bet you he could get up on the mound and do well."
Martin Maldonado, Astros catcher, three votes
In a Jose Iglesias stolen-base attempt from May, he reaches a sprint speed of 28.7 feet per second, which is just a tick shy of what is considered elite (30 feet per second). And it doesn't matter. Maldonado, who has since been traded to the Astros, gets him with an 85.2-mph toss that was right on the money.
If Maldonado can do that with gear on, what could he do without the tools of ignorance?
"I feel like he could flick it in 95 [mph] without even trying," said pitcher Collin McHugh, Maldonado's new Astros teammate.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox center fielder, two votes
In a play from June, Bradley turns a would-be routine sacrifice fly into an unbelievable out. He circles around the ball to create a throwing angle, then fires a missile home to catcher Sandy Leon, who wasn't even sure Bradley was going to throw -- let alone get the guy out.
No wonder teammate Mookie Betts backed Bradley in this vote.
"I think his stuff would come out hot," Betts said. "Four-seamers up in the zone, 96, 97. I think he's got that for sure. He would do great."
Dodgers utility man Enrique Hernandez, who gave up a walk-off homer in the 16th inning of a loss to the Phillies last month, also picked Bradley. But because Hernandez was explicitly instructed not to throw his hardest in that game out of fear of injury, he hoped Red Sox manager Alex Cora would give Bradley a different instruction.
"Feel free to let it eat," Hernandez said.
Gerardo Parra, Rockies left fielder, two votes
The Rockies have been watching Parra make plays like one from last September, in which he uncorks a 97.1-mph laser to home plate to get the out, for three seasons now. So it shouldn't be a surprise that third baseman Nolan Arenado and outfielder Noel Cuevas both voted for Parra here.
"He's got good spin rate on his throws from the outfield," Arenado said, "so he'd probably be really good on the mound."
And Parra's left-handed, which only increases his value out of the bullpen.
Matt Chapman, A's third baseman, two votes
Could there be a Chapman not named Aroldis who hits triple digits on the radar gun? White Sox starter Carlos Rodon thinks so.
"He throws 100," Rodon said of the A's third baseman. "I've played with him on Team USA. He's probably the hardest thrower, I would say."
Chapman is generally regarded as a Gold Glover-to-be. Watch this throw he made basically from the dugout to get a sense of why that is.
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES
• Derek Jeter, Marlins CEO: "He's a leader, and I'd want to see what his mindset would be," Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. said of the only retired player to get a vote. "Most of the guys are laughing. I'd want to see if he'd take it seriously."
• Eugenio Suarez, Reds third baseman: "He has an absolute hose," teammate Anthony DeSclafani said. "He might have some late life with his fastball."
• Brandon Crawford, Giants shortstop
• Hunter Pence, Giants right fielder
• Eddie Rosario, Twins outfielder
• Andrelton Simmons, Angels shortstop: "He has a really good arm," former teammate Ian Kinsler said of Simmons, who pitched at Western Oklahoma State College but wouldn't sign with the Braves after the Draft unless they put him solely at shortstop.
• Russell Martin, Blue Jays catcher: "I mean, he does everything else," teammate Luke Maile said of Martin, who has spent some time at third, short and left field this season. "He's got to be able to pitch."
• Yairo Munoz, Cardinals utility man: "He can throw 95 mph," teammate Paul DeJong said. "I want to see someone blow some doors down on the mound."
• Carlos Gomez, Rays outfielder
• Brian Anderson, Marlins right fielder
• Matt Olson, A's first baseman
• Dee Gordon, Mariners second baseman: "I think Dee would make a show out of it, he'd be pretty flashy," teammate Marco Gonzales said. "He'd be able to field his position pretty well and he'll cover first pretty fast, so I'd love to see it."
• Mark Trumbo, Orioles designated hitter: "I played with him coming up in Southern California and he used to be a pitcher," Mariners utility man Andrew Romine said.
• Alcides Escobar, Royals shortstop: "He's got a disgusting changeup," teammate Andrew Butera said. "Sometimes when you're just playing catch with him on the side, you can't even catch it."
• Brett Gardner, Yankees left fielder: "I think it'd be hilarious," teammate Austin Romine said. "He'd be crafty because he's a lefty."
• Hunter Renfroe, Padres outfielder
• Miguel Sano, Twins third baseman
• Josh Reddick, Astros right fielder: "He has been chirping about it that he wants to get on the mound," teammate J.D. Davis said. "Hopefully we get that opportunity for him, get a 10-, 12-run lead and get him on the mound."
• Yasiel Puig, Dodgers right fielder: "With the arm and the personality," Braves reliever A.J. Minter said, "it seems to be the perfect combination."
• Joey Gallo, Rangers left fielder
• Ronald Guzman, Rangers first baseman
• Michael A. Taylor, Nationals center fielder
• Starlin Castro, Marlins second baseman: "He's always talking like he's got a changeup and a cutter, like he's got nasty pitches," teammate Martin Prado said. "Let's see it."
• Bryce Harper, Nationals right fielder: "He used to pitch in high school," former teammate and Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler. "I'm sure the way his arm action is, he has a good breaking ball."
• Jose Cabrera, Tigers first baseman: "That would be very entertaining," former teammate and D-backs catcher Alex Avila said.
• Michael Trout, Angels center fielder: Technically, we didn't get any votes for the greatest player in the game, which has to register as an upset. But Rodon, after voting for Chapman, did note that Trout is "good at everything else, so I wanna see him pitch."
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. MLB.com's crew of team beat reporters contributed to this story.