June 19, 2024

San Diego Padres’ Jackson Merrill is successfully transitioning from shortstop to the outfield this season, and his progress is promising. In Wednesday’s 6-2 loss against the Cincinnati Reds, Merrill demonstrated his abilities in the outfield, notably making an impressive throw to home plate to secure an outfield assist.

After the game, Merrill reflected on the play, expressing his satisfaction with the opportunity to throw out a runner at home plate. He admitted that while he hadn’t been actively anticipating such an opportunity, as it would mean preventing hits, he found it rewarding to demonstrate his capability in a game setting. Merrill emphasized that executing the play in a game environment has boosted his confidence, affirming his belief in his ability to cover ground in the outfield, make defensive plays, and throw runners out.

Another positive aspect for Merrill is his ability to seek guidance from a teammate who has undergone a similar transition: Fernando Tatis Jr.

When the Padres acquired shortstop Xander Bogaerts for the 2023 season, Tatis moved from shortstop to right field, a move he executed with great success, earning both the Gold Glove and Platinum Glove awards for his exceptional performance.

Merrill shared insights into the advice he’s received from Tatis as he navigates his own transition. “Just small stuff,” Merrill explained. “He’s just given me small pointers here and there to help me along the way. Help me with how to get more power behind a throw, stay low in your throw. All in all, he’s just helping me here and there. He’s not trying to control what I do in the outfield. He wants to see what I can do and work off that with me,” Merrill elaborated during an interview with 97.3 The Fan.

Merrill, at 20 years old, appears confident in his progress during the transition, providing encouraging news for the Padres as they prepare for the 2024 season.

Padres' Jackson Merrill Already Confident in his Outfield Transition

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