Christopher Bostick Adds Value Through Speed and Versatility

INDIANAPOLIS — Christopher Bostick smiled and slightly chuckled when thinking about how to describe his professional career thus far.

“Kind of all over the place,” he simply said.

Bostick, promoted by the Pirates on Monday, fittingly picked a versatile description.

He’s playing for his third organization since being drafted in the 44th round of the 2011 draft by Oakland. Bostick has been a top-30 prospect with Oakland, Washington, and now, Pittsburgh.

He’s played four different positions already this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, spending time everywhere but catcher and first base in Spring Training.

He’s also been all over the lineup as a hitter, now being used as the Indians’ primary lead-off batter since Gift Ngoepe was promoted.

The Pirates promoted Bostick and Max Moroff from Indianapolis on Monday, sending catcher Elias Diaz and infielder Phil Gosselin back down to the Indians.

Bostick joked his skill set is “kind of like a jack of all trades, master of none type of thing.” He’s played second base, third base, left field and right field this season, committing two errors — one in left field and one at second base.

“It’s something I’ve tried to embrace in my career and understand I have to try to be good at a bunch of different things,” Bostick said. “I just try to be as consistent as possible, because I’m not going to be the guy that throws 100 across the diamond or hits 40 home runs.”

Bostick has been one of the most consistent hitters in the Indianapolis lineup this season. He just had a 15-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday, but had eight multi-hit games in that stretch. His slash line is .320/.495/.841 with seven doubles, two triples and two home runs.

The hitting streak came down to one basic philosophy often uttered, but not always followed: know your strengths and use them. Those are words Bostick keeps close to him regarding all aspects of his game.

“He’s aggressive in the zone,” Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. “He’s short and doesn’t try to do too much. A lot of times you see guys over-swing and try to take a bigger swing than they need to, but he doesn’t. He knows himself and trusts himself. You’re seeing the results.”

His recent success at the plate has led to a more confident player, something that should be expected Bostick said. But at the same time, he takes that feeling with caution.

“It’s trying to stay within yourself,” Bostick said. “Really, it can work in the opposite, too. If you get a little more comfortable you can either get too passive or too aggressive. Just really try to take a deep breath and take every pitch at a time. If I get a good pitch, try to put my swing on it and if it’s a pitch I can’t hit then do my best to let those ones go by.”

Bostick’s value will likely come from his defensive ability to be a super utility player, a role that is ever-evolving. He was a shortstop in his younger days and was primarily a second baseman early in his professional career. He’s played second base in 517 of his 639 career minor league games.

He’s had a few moments in left field this season that were shaky, but has been a solid defensive player otherwise. That’s especially valuable considering he’s able to play good defense despite constantly rotating around the field. During the first 18 games of the season, only twice did Bostick play the same position two games in a row.

“It’s huge for him,” Barkett said. “He’s fast and can run. So, when you can run you become a commodity for a manager in the big leagues, especially if you’re versatile. Because in the National League, especially, you can go in with double-switches. There are a lot of different scenarios where you can add value to a club because of your speed and defense if you can play multiple positions. If you can’t, then it limits you.”

Bostick doesn’t receive a schedule saying he’ll play a certain position in Tuesday’s game, or he’ll move to third base for Friday’s game. He finds out where he plays each day when he arrives at Victory Field each day, something Bostick tries to find out early.

If he’s playing an infield position, he’ll go out for extra work before batting practice, which allows him to refamiliarize himself to the position in a more controlled setting. If Bostick is playing in the outfield, he’ll go out there during batting practice which closely simulates what he might see in the game.

“All you can ask for is to be in the lineup,” Bostick said. “You just go to card each day and find out where. The rest kind of falls on us and the other guys on the team are doing the same thing. It’s on us to make sure we get our work in and do the things we need to make sure we’re ready.”

As his career has evolved, Bostick has developed the ability to play multiple positions. He only started playing third base last season and hasn’t even played a dozen games in right field. Developing into a super utility player involves as much of a mental commitment as a physical one.

“Obviously it’s a lot more comfortable to be able to show up to the park and say, ‘I know I’m playing here and batting in this spot of the lineup,’” Bostick said. “It’s real comfortable to be able to do that. But once you open yourself up to, ‘Okay, I know today might be a different position, something else.’ I think earlier in my career it was a little bit tougher because I like playing second base and I think I’m more comfortable playing second base. Once I kind of opened up and realized this is what will make me the player I am, I think that’s helped with the mindset and try to stay as athletic as possible.”

In the long run, Bostick might start a trend of developing players that can be used almost anywhere on the field — even switching from infield to outfield. That would be just fine with him.

“This game has been years and years of guys that play one position,” Bostick said. “Maybe they’re not one-dimensional, but they never really got the chance to show they could do other things. It’s an exciting time in baseball and the game is definitely changing. Hopefully, I can be part of that.”

Bostick has proven to be a dependable player in the field for the most part this season, being used in multiple infield and outfield positions. His outstanding start at the plate is an added bonus to his intrigue as a prospect. He’s a smart player who knows his skills and limitation, which might allow him to surprise people when he plays in the Major Leagues.

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When Frazier returns, I’d like to see the Pirates play predominantly an IF of Harrison (3B), Gift (SS), Frazier (2B), and Bell (1B) for a few weeks and see how they work together. Gift will be a huge upgrade range wise at SS…..

Kris Mosley

Whether us fans want to believe or not, NH has believed for the last couple of years that they have a solid starting 8 in the field every day. If internally that’s how you feel then how do you manage your minor league assets. If you keep everyone at 1 position if you need to call someone up, you maybe calling up a lesser player because you are saying I need a 2B, 3B, RF, etc. With no top IF prospects on the horizon until Newman, and (maybe) Kramer it made sense to get everyone comfortable with playing anywhere.
Everyone loves saying Frazier should have stuck to one position. Well even in Altoona what position would that have been? Gift was a better SS, Moroff better at 2B, Wood better at 3B, etc.
Fraziers skill is his bat.

I believe in the next couple years with the combination of better prospects, and regressing players in Pittsburgh you will see more players playing one spot.
But for now you just had the perfect storm of fringe starter prospects with a “solid” Pittsburgh lineup that has created these super utility players that everyone seems to hate.

IC Bob

That makes sense until you realize we are still calling up the lesser prospects. The only difference is they stink at multiple positions instead of maybe being ML ready at one.

John W

Nice article Brian but as Brian Z suggests below me I think Bostick is representative of a major problem with NH’s organization. “Jack of all trades, master of none” very much nails it. Wherever they ask Bostick to play will he be a competent defender? Or will he ultimately be a liability defensively that the organization tries to rationalize because he can move all around the field.

Defenders such as Sean Rodriguez that were basically average or better at 4-5 positions are very valuable. They are also very rare. It seems to me NH thinks he can recreate new Srods by moving guys like Hanson, Bostick etc all over the place. I wish they could concentrate on a player being good at one position before asking him to try another position.

dr dng

I think Frazier defense would improve significantly if he only had to
stick to one position. Not everyone can do what Harrison was able to do.


I agree – and I think he is best suited for second base…when he returns, put him there and leave him alone and see how he does. Harrison can play third and occasionally LF or RF….

Brian Z

possible article topic: Which is better organizationally? Having the minor league teams full of super utility players or having players dedicated to their position?

I’m starting to lean towards just having guys play their position and learn that position inside and out. Maybe it’ll start to cut down on the atrocious defense we are seeing in Pittsburgh. If a guy is blocked to the majors and he’s ready to play in the bigs, then perhaps he can be traded for something else of value.


I have said thus repeatedly on this site and I have yet to see or read anyone provide a strong response to convince me otherwise….

What is this organization’s philosophy and identity? Given PNC Park’s dimensions, I would think that the team should draft, develop, and acquire talent that stresses speed, defense, pitching, steal bases, and line drive kind of hitters with high on-base percentages and extra base power. When you look at recent drafts and the type of players we have in Pittsburgh, AAA, AA, etc., other than pitching do you see evidence that this organization has a consistent philosophy that is has embraced and is following and has adopted a specific identity? I don’t….I see a lot of players who are below average defensively, lack speed, lack range, etc. I don’t see an organization that has an obvious design in mind, in putting together a team to maximize the 81 games it plays in PNC Park.


The top prospects ARE dedicated to their positions, Brian.
It’s the second tier guys like Bostwick, Gift, Hanson, et al, that need the flexibility to make the majors.

Brian Z

yea I see your point leefoo now that I look at it. I guess the issue is the top prospects aren’t MLB ready so we are getting all of the “jack of all trades” 2nd tier guys in the big league.


I can see this but if many of your “prospects” aren’t really very good at anything, you end up with what we have at the ML level now. Bummer.


He has to be better than Gosselin….


He didn’t loook like a Major League Baseball player tonight, that’s for sure.


I don’t know much about Bostick other than his numbers in Indy, but Gosselin is clearly sub-par – can’t hit and his defense is average at best. Ditto for Jaso and Stewart.

Lets face reality here….this team is taking on water and has been since their one game playoff loss to the Cubs in 2015. This team won 98 games in 2015 and was positioned, farm system wise, to be a strong contender for multiple years. Since then, due to injuries, suspensions, poor trades, and some disappointing performances, the outlook is far different. In two years, things could turn back the other way, but right now 2017 is not looking good.

brad c

Time for you guys to write the story about which prospects the Pirates should trade for when they dump what little value they have left.


Right now, I don’t think the Pirates have anyone I would definitely say is an untouchable, although I don’t think they will be eager to trade any of their young pitchers.

The problem is that the guys the team needs to move on from or could move on from don’t have much value – Mercer, Freese, Jaso, Stewart, Bastardo, Hudson, etc. Cutch is still the face of the franchise, but his value is even more diminished by his slow start. Based on their positions and performances, the guys with the most value to get something in return are Cole, Cervelli, Watson, Nova, and Harrison (and by himself, Harrison will not net much of a return).

Although he has pitched better this season, the one guy I would consider moving is Cole – but only if the Pirates can get a big return in high-ceiling position player prospects. The system is very weak in position player prospects, especially below AA level. The reasons are; (1) he can bring a good return and the Pirates don’t have many assets that can do that, (2) I don’t see the Pirates being able to extend him, and (3) I don’t think he will ever become more than what he is – which is a very good starting pitcher but not a dominant #1 ace of the staff type. Starting pitching is the one area the Pirates are deep in and could afford this kind of trade.Catchers always seem to be in demand, so Cervelli could be packaged with Watson or Harrison and possibly bring a good return.


Trade candidates, some of whom won’t bring much in return: Freese; Cervelli; Mercer; JHAY; Cutch (?) (hate to say it!); Watson; Nicasio. It looks like they are looking at a pretty complete re-build. Feel horrible for Jameson, wish him nothing but the best as he goes through treatment. This season was totally cooked the second Marte was suspended, they are in the deepest of trouble without Jameson as they are now basically 2 deep in the rotation, very very thin behind Cole and Nova. Hard ot believe they have gone from 98 wins in 2015 to this very ugly situation where they are likely going to be staring up from 5th place, ugh. I suggest it is time for a true youth movement, see what they have in Frazier, Ngoepe, Hanson, Bell (do not start Jaso!), even Bostick and Moroff. Disappointing. Hard to understand how NH could not have found more and better talent in all this time! And maybe CH has taken this club as far as he can?


I agree, although its a bitter pill to swallow just less than 2 years from 98 wins. Now is the time to get rid of the dead wood and guys blocking deserving prospects, and play the kids and see what we have in them…


Not gonna get much for Cutch. He’s actually worse than last year.

Last year on May 9th…..238/.340/.443
This year on May 9th…..221/.305.407


charley steiner referred to our current cfer as
the incredible shrinking andrew mccutchen
that is excellent.


Let the auditions for next year begin!


NH made some moves and Clint Hurdle responded by starting Moroff at 2B in his first game up in 2017. He has been playing SS, had 10 errors at AAA, and was batting .219 against LHP’s. Was this our best option at 2B? Our best chance to win? Another CH personal agenda?

Our record is now 14-18 and out of those 32 games, the Pirates have scored 2 runs or less in 14 games – 43.75% of our games! Our leaders are not leading – is it them or has CH lost the team? Do they still believe?



I don’t know enough to comment on personal agenda but I do like Moroff….I don’t think he is a starter on a good team per se, but I like him. e reminds me of Mark Belhorn who when everything was going right was a very solid utility INF. I don’t know emjay. I cant fault hurdle too much. At least he is playing a guy at his first position. Not a lot of that going around on this team. I am no more than 40% behind Hurdle but at this point I’d be probably trying anything and hoping for the best too.

IC Bob

I know you hate Ch but my question is how did we win 14 with this bunch? This is a terrible team right now and to have won that many games is miracle. We have no power no defense, only two OFs on the roster (shame on NH for that) no speed, a shaky BP, 4 1Bs and 6 utility players. This team was constructed to lose and that they are.

dr dng

will he upset the lunch table once in a while?

I wonder if Burnett just being in the locker room
had something to do with a couple of the winning

Is there enough accountability for the lack of
production in this locker room?

Phil W

Gift should be in the lineup at 2B every night until Freese is back. Puzzled why Moroff was called up.


Offense, 8 HR


I would put Gift at SS and Frazier at 2b when Adam returns.

Phil W

I’m good with that too, at least against righties. Just don’t understand the last couple of games starting Moroff and Gosselin at 2B, when it seemed Gift gave the team a bit of a spark and is clearly the best defensive option.


Or maybe put Gift at SS and slide Mercer to 2nd. Not sure how well that would go over. Once Freese returns though, he will be at 3rd with Harrison at 2nd. Too many 2nd basement on this team!

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