How Important Is Having A Full Time DH In The Lineup?

by Dirty on June 27, 2012

Betting on MLB



As MLB betting continues to evolve, fans, media and General Managers alike all are pondering the importance of having a full time designated hitter in their lineup. For nearly 40 years, the American League has carried a designated hitter, a mercenary for hire if you will, as they fill the offensive void that would have been felt by having a pitcher hit. In the last 15 years alone, we’ve seen many players, who perhaps wouldn’t have a job in the MLB, come into the league to simply play DH. Today we wonder if a full time DH is really worthwhile?


Leave it to the New York Yankees to spark the debate over the relevance of one player being the DH all the time. Due to an aging lineup and a plethora of hitters that can hit the long ball, the Yankees have used a five-man rotation in the DH spot this season. The five players are hall of famers, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, as well as former All Star’s Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez. Combined, the five Yankees are 294/367/502. What’s more? Those combined numbers are the best offensive numbers on the team for any position, besides second base, which is being carried by Robinson Cano.


As we noted earlier, there’s many arguments for and against having one player specifically be the fulltime designated hitter. Much like the enforcer in the NHL, where their only role is to fight the fellow enforcers and then sit on the bench the whole game, the DH for the most part is only required to hit on the pitcher’s behalf. However, having a guy who can only fight or can only hit, makes him detrimental to the team. For example, because the National League does not have a DH, the aforementioned five-man rotation in New York becomes all the more important. Simply put, each of those five guys can play multiple positions. As a result, if you want to pinch hit and then continue to use one of those players during an interleague game you can do so. Meanwhile, having a David Ortiz or formerly a Frank Thomas in your lineup is becoming detrimental, because they can only hit, but can’t play in the betting online field.


Now this isn’t to say that either Ortiz or Thomas are bad players, as they are both destined to become hall of famers. Simply put, would the duo or players such as Chicago White Sox DH Adam Dunn or KC Royals DH Billy Butler, really have a place in baseball if the MLB abolished the designated hitter position? All four players have made their careers on their offense. In fact, it wasn’t until their teams requested they each become the full time designated hitters that their careers really took off. Ortiz in particular, wasn’t a very good first baseman, and thus when he was traded to Boston in early 2003, becoming the team’s full time DH was his career’s saving grace.


With the MLB set to realign its two leagues, there is plenty of talk of expanding the designated hitter role to the National League, so that it is universal. If this happens, it may be considered a bad thing for players who are used in the DH role full time. That is to say, more teams can have the opportunity to rotate players in an out of the line up in the DH position, then in years past. Or on the other hand, more teams may have a good offensive player make the shift to full time DH duties, and continue to anchor their offenses.

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