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  • Tim Burke

Fixing Baseball Part 3: Universal DH

Change happens slowly. Especially in baseball. Something that needs to be changed in baseball is the narrative of the Designated Hitter.

Edgar Martinez Hall of Fame

Edgar Martinez had a career batting average of .312 with a WAR of 68.0 and over 1,000 runs batted in. Somehow, Edgar Martinez was not voted into the Hall Of Fame until his tenth and final year on the ballot. Why? The argument against a Designated Hitter is a weak one. They’re limited, cannot help the team on defense, and are not all around players. Who cares? The DH lack of acceptance of a position is idiotic. They have been apart of American League baseball since 1973. Luckily, the BBWAA woke up and realized Edgar Martinez was a Hall of Famer. This took too long but thankfully Edgar Martinez's induction sets the precedent for David Ortiz to be inducted into Cooperstown when his time comes.

DH MVP cases

The second injustice Designated Hitters have faced is the lack of MVP consideration. I am a Red Sox fan, I have been lucky by having two great hitters in the DH spot. 

JD Martinez not being a finalist in 2018 was a joke. He was a triple crown candidate for most of the season. He was not even a finalist. A .330 batting average with 43 home runs and 130 RBIs. Martinez was not even a finalist for the American League MVP. Strictly for being a DH. Pathetic.

David Ortiz’s final season was nothing short of remarkable. The greatest final season we will ever see. Big Papi emptied the tank and went out on top. He led the American League in doubles, RBIs, Slugging and On Base Plus Slugging. He too was not even a finalist for American League Most Valuable Player. What more do you want for an MVP? He’s not a candidate because he does not play enough? Rollie Fingers won the MVP for making the last three outs in a game. Closers are considered a position. They only pitch an inning! They do even less than DH’s! This needs to change. How?  

The National League should implement a DH.

Pitchers who hit can be entertaining at times sure. I enjoy seeing Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner hitting home runs. I loved seeing Rick Porcello drive in 3 runs off of Max Scherzer in 2018. That is a rarity though. The majority of pitchers are not good hitters. Yes it gives managers more strategic options in later innings but it limits offense. As a group pitchers hit well below the mendonza line. Yikes. 

A universal DH does so much good for baseball. This creates more big league jobs and gives more opportunities for hitters to make National League rosters. This would result in more offense and more excitement for fans. Another positive may be less pitching changes due to them not hitting. This might help MLB with it’s pace of play issue. This would also create a bigger demand for hitters. This would benefit players in the free agent market. More NL teams would be suitors for JD Martinez for an example. A universal DH would accept the DH as a position and MVP candidates. Rob Manfred needs to implement the universal DH. It would make the game better.

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