Universal DH: Here For Good?

nattysez

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 30, 2010
4,455
Would any player benefit more from this than JD Martinez? His opt-out will instantly become a LOT more valuable/viable. Though I guess with the economic question marks around the game, opting-out maybe too risky this offseason.

This would also be big for the SF Giants, who could in theory play Buster and Joey Bart every day, switching between DH and C.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
Everyone playing by the same rules levels the playing field when it comes to interleague and World Series play. Long overdue and I'm guessing that the MLBPA won't offer much resistance. Wonder if it is at all conditional on roster makeup as far as a set number of players being designated as pitchers and the rest position players/DH.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
Would any player benefit more from this than JD Martinez? His opt-out will instantly become a LOT more valuable/viable. Though I guess with the economic question marks around the game, opting-out maybe too risky this offseason.

This would also be big for the SF Giants, who could in theory play Buster and Joey Bart every day, switching between DH and C.
Works the other way as well as it should also benefit all National League teams in that they will greatly lessen the risk of acquiring a big bat who is considered a defensive liability.
 

OurF'ingCity

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Apr 22, 2016
4,123
New York City
Yep, there is really no reason not to do this. It also opens the door up for easier divisional realignment down the line (it really doesn't make sense to have Mets/Yanks, White Sox/Cubs, Dodgers/Angels, Giants/A's so close geographically but play each other at most only a few times a year).
 

allmanbro

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
135
Portland, Maine
Good. Now let's open up the discussion of DHing for catchers too.
I've always thought it should be an option to have the DH hit for any player you want. If you did that, there might be a few pitchers out there where it would make sense to let them hit and put a terrible hitting defensive player somewhere. Maybe that would be so infrequent it's not worth it.

When you replace that pitcher, there could be some kind of double switch type rule where you have to replace the pitcher and the DH so the new DH hits for the new pitcher.
 

DourDoerr

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Oct 15, 2004
1,957
Berkeley, CA
When you replace that pitcher, there could be some kind of double switch type rule where you have to replace the pitcher and the DH so the new DH hits for the new pitcher.
Since you could rapidly burn through your bench with multiple pitching/DH changes, this might be a semi-natural way to limit the number of relievers. Goodbye openers, for starters (heh).
 

allmanbro

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
135
Portland, Maine
Since you could rapidly burn through your bench with multiple pitching/DH changes, this might be a semi-natural way to limit the number of relievers. Goodbye openers, for starters (heh).
Ha, an application I hadn't imagined! I was thinking the new DH would only be necessary when you are switching which position the DH is hitting for.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,220
We don't need a DH for catchers, we need an electronic strike zone for catchers.

One thing at a time, though, this is a nice step if it sticks.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
12,435
Pittsburgh, PA
catchers hitting is like 1/10 the size of the problem of pitchers hitting. Catchers don't have 99% of their value as a player tied up in a skill separate from hitting. It's more like 30-40%. There's a basic defensive bar you need to clear, being substantially above that bar is still a plus, but having cleared that bar, the majority of your value is still from your hitting. Varitek couldn't throw anybody out in the back half of his career (2005-2011), but he still cleared the bar of being able to catch the ball, block the ball, and call a good game - and he hit very well for a catcher up through age 35 (2007).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
12,017
Maine
Good. Now let's open up the discussion of DHing for catchers too.
Let's just go all the way and have offensive and defensive units like football. Eventually a great two-way player who can OPS .800+ and patrol center field will be a novelty like that season Troy Brown played defensive back.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,220
Just in case that's not a joke, my point was that we need to remove 'framing' (trying to get the ump to call pitches wrong) as a skill and once we do, the average catcher will be a better hitter (since there will be no need for the framing specialists who can't hit).
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
I've always thought it should be an option to have the DH hit for any player you want. If you did that, there might be a few pitchers out there where it would make sense to let them hit and put a terrible hitting defensive player somewhere. Maybe that would be so infrequent it's not worth it.

When you replace that pitcher, there could be some kind of double switch type rule where you have to replace the pitcher and the DH so the new DH hits for the new pitcher.
I've always questioned this as well. Whether it's worth it or not would be determined by the teams and in most cases it wouldn't be, but we've seen cases in the NL where the pitcher is not always the worst hitter in the lineup and it's not unheard of to see pitchers at times slotted in the 8th or even the 7th spot in the batting order.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
12,017
Maine
I've always questioned this as well. Whether it's worth it or not would be determined by the teams and in most cases it wouldn't be, but we've seen cases in the NL where the pitcher is not always the worst hitter in the lineup and it's not unheard of to see pitchers at times slotted in the 8th or even the 7th spot in the batting order.
As I saw pointed out on Twitter the other day, Zack Greinke had a higher OPS last year than Bryce Harper (.888 vs .882). Of course, that's 56 PA vs 682 PA so it's totally meaningful as an argument for pitchers hitting. Not to mention Greinke is in the AL now anyway.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
As I saw pointed out on Twitter the other day, Zack Greinke had a higher OPS last year than Bryce Harper (.888 vs .882). Of course, that's 56 PA vs 682 PA so it's totally meaningful as an argument for pitchers hitting. Not to mention Greinke is in the AL now anyway.
Shohei Ohtani may be an extreme exception to the rule, but a good example/argument for allowing the DH to be used as a team sees fit. He typically has not hit on days that he pitches, but Joe Maddon has mentioned that he might be open to the idea of it.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
9,953
As I saw pointed out on Twitter the other day, Zack Greinke had a higher OPS last year than Bryce Harper (.888 vs .882). Of course, that's 56 PA vs 682 PA so it's totally meaningful as an argument for pitchers hitting. Not to mention Greinke is in the AL now anyway.
Just to add, it should be noted that 2019 was by far Greinke's best season at the plate. His career numbers are 0.225/0.263/0.337/0.600 with a career OPS+ of 61 and 9 stolen bases. And those are outstanding numbers for a pitcher (2 silver slugger awards).

While trying to take my mind off of world events, I did a quick calculation using data from b-ref for 2019:

NL pitchers batting: 0.131/0.150/0.166/0.316, 4 HR, 9 SB and 4 CS, with a 14.1:1 K:BB ratio in 4850 plate appearances.
AL pitchers batting: 0.111/0.146/0.140/0.286, 1 HR (Jared Walsh*), 0 SB and 1 CS (Greinke) with a 11:1 K:BB ratio in 417 plate appearances.

I put a * next to Jared Walsh as he hit his HR as a pinch hitter (for the catcher, no less).

MLB catchers batting: 0.235/0.313/0.403/0.715, 765 HR, 72 SB and 31 CS, with a 2.9:1 K:BB ratio in 21,828 plate appearances.

It's much easier to watch catchers at the plate than pitchers.
 

allmanbro

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
135
Portland, Maine
Just to add, it should be noted that 2019 was by far Greinke's best season at the plate. His career numbers are 0.225/0.263/0.337/0.600 with a career OPS+ of 61 and 9 stolen bases. And those are outstanding numbers for a pitcher (2 silver slugger awards).

While trying to take my mind off of world events, I did a quick calculation using data from b-ref for 2019:

NL pitchers batting: 0.131/0.150/0.166/0.316, 4 HR, 9 SB and 4 CS, with a 14.1:1 K:BB ratio in 4850 plate appearances.
AL pitchers batting: 0.111/0.146/0.140/0.286, 1 HR (Jared Walsh*), 0 SB and 1 CS (Greinke) with a 11:1 K:BB ratio in 417 plate appearances.

I put a * next to Jared Walsh as he hit his HR as a pinch hitter (for the catcher, no less).

MLB catchers batting: 0.235/0.313/0.403/0.715, 765 HR, 72 SB and 31 CS, with a 2.9:1 K:BB ratio in 21,828 plate appearances.

It's much easier to watch catchers at the plate than pitchers.

As I said initially, it's hard to imagine this coming up much in practice. But it's in-principle possible that DH flexibility could change roster construction: maybe there are catchers who would be called up as a third C (even if just for short stretches) for defensive reasons even if they can't hit at all. Or other defenders, but C seems most probable.

I'd guess the Rays would be the first to try it with McKay as a two-way player, before the Angels.