Baltimore Orioles infield prospect Preston Palmeiro has made the unusual conversion from corner-infielder (1B) to middle-infielder (2B) this season and it seems to be working out well.
Palmeiro, the Orioles 2016 7th round draft pick out of North Carolina State University, is currently having the best offensive season of his short career.
Presently slashing .291/ .348/ .485 (as of Monday’s game) with 24 RBI and 6 homeruns, Palmeiro is hitting 33 points above his best season (2016) and 30 points higher than his career average. Through 42 games for the Frederick Keys (A-High) he has 18 extra-base hits (including the 6 homeruns) with 14 walks and 33 strikeouts. Palmeiro currently is riding a 13-game hitting streak, tying the longest streak of his career, which represents the longest active streak in the Carolina League this season.
Palmeiro leads the Keys in homeruns, RBI and total bases and is in the top-5 in the rest of the offensive categories. His bat is a major component of the Keys’ lineup.
Long viewed as a 1B/DH, Palmeiro has made a seemingly seamless transition to second base. His current fielding percentage is .964 with 52 putouts, 81 assists, 21 double plays turned and 5 errors in 138 chances.
The Orioles have a plethora of 1B/DH type players so second base may represent Palmeiro’s quickest path to the Major Leagues. The early returns show the move to be a good one as Palmeiro has not lost a step offensively and has presented himself well defensively. In fact, he has shown a marked improvement in his offensive numbers and those improvements certainly are a welcome by-product of the position change.
I hope to see Palmeiro maintain his current pace and take his place among the middle-infield prospects for the Orioles.
Should Palmeiro continue to produce at the plate while displaying a solid glove at second base, he may find himself moving up the ladder sooner rather than later. You have to admire a player who changes positions defensively while improving as a hitter.
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