As part of the changes for the 2022 season, MLB announced that the universal designated hitter rule will be in place.
While some fans like the strategy around having the pitcher hit in the National League, most fans agree with the universal DH rule: pitchers were an almost automatic out, in 2021, and throughout history.
Now, NL teams will be able to field a player trained to hit in the lineup every day, which will likely result in more runs and offensive production overall.
However, nobody has stopped to think about the effects that the universal DH will have on NL pitchers’ numbers at the end of the year.
Getting Outs Will Now Be Much Harder For NL Pitchers
Until MLB analyst Ben Verlander did it on Tuesday.
“Going to be interesting to watch the effect of DH in both leagues moving forward. It makes a MASSIVE difference in pitcher’s ERA. Last season, of the top 15 ERA leaders, 13 of them were from the National League. With @lmccullers43 (Houston Astros’ Lance McCullers) and @RobbieRay (Seattle Mariners’ Robbie Ray) being the lone exceptions,” Verlander tweeted.
Going to be interesting to watch the effect of DH in both leagues moving forward. It makes a MASSIVE difference in pitcher’s ERA. Last season, of the top 15 ERA leaders, 13 of them were from the National League.
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) March 7, 2022
It’s not the same to face someone whose training and preparation is solely focused on the art of pitching, which is already extremely hard, as it is to stand on the mound and throw pitches at a legitimate hitter.
It lengthens the lineup for pitchers, who often found a “hole” in the lineup when they got to the ninth spot.
Now, they will have to face nine properly trained hitters instead of eight, making outs more difficult overall.
Not even the best hitting pitchers are legitimately good offensive players, so it’s certainly an adjustment that will likely be reflected on NL pitchers’ end-of-the-season stat lines.