MLB, barring something unexpected, will implement the universal designated hitter rule starting in 2022.
Some people resist the move, but it will ultimately prove to be the right decision.
Here are three benefits from having a designated hitter bat in both leagues instead of pitchers.
3. More Runs = More Fun
Madison Bumgarner is widely recognized as one of the best hitting pitchers in MLB.
However, he has a career .172 batting average, a .232 OBP, and a .524 OPS.
Would most fans be willing to pay to see that hitting performance?
Traditionalists say that the pitcher hitting makes the game more interesting from a strategy standpoint: managers have to navigate through the hurler’s turn and determine if it’s worth substituting him for a pinch-hitter, having him bunt, or hit freely.
This often results in early hooks for pitchers however.
Overall, a designated hitter offers more offense and run production overall.
Per Jon Heyman, the universal DH will enter the MLB beginning in 2022.
This may be controversial to most, but I really like this. I’d much rather watch a true batter in the box.
— xz – Nati Sports (@Nati_Sports) February 2, 2022
It has proven time and time again that MLB fans like runs: they love home runs and offensive production, and that’s increased with a universal designated hitter.
Yes, the kind of small-ball strategy associated with having the pitcher hit, usually in the ninth spot of the lineup, can be attractive, but not as enticing as having a proper hitter, trained to face big league pitching on a regular basis.
2. Minimizing Injury Risk
Pitchers, in general, are not used to hitting, and that’s a fact.
Some of them like to do it, and are good at it, like Max Fried or Bumgarner.
But no pitcher is as good as a regular designated hitter.
And, additionally, since most of them aren’t used to do it, they risk getting injured while swinging.
Worse yet, they can get hit by a pitch and break a bone, say, in their wrist, leg, or ankle.
That could derail a pitcher’s season, and it’s certainly sad if that was the case while he wasn’t doing the thing for which he is paid for.
Some of them just go to the plate and hold their bat without swinging, in order to minimize injury risk.
Hitters are also benefitted, as teams are able to manage workloads and keep players relatively healthier by using them as DH.
1. More Flexibility For Teams…And Players
As it has been mentioned before in this article, the pitcher hitting usually disrupts the opportunity of putting together a rally.
Having an extra lineup spot for a good hitter is also beneficial for teams, especially those who have more talented players than spots in the lineup.
Hicks is the only one capable of playing center field regularly.
If there was no DH, one of Stanton, Judge or Gallo, three proven sluggers who have made multiple All-Star Games, would have to go to the bench.
Instead, the Yankees can just plug one of them in the DH spot.
The DH spot has given multiple defensively-challenged players an opportunity to shine in the big leagues.
Universal DH. https://t.co/5opqBz89MN
— Ralfy🗽 (@212Ralfy) December 2, 2021
There are lots of benefits to the universal DH rule, it may just take some time for some people to get used to it.NEXT: MLB Veterans Are Fed Up With The League