The DH is Changing

by Bill M on November 15, 2012 · 1 comment

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I’ve always felt that the AL had the advantage with the DH.  When teams meet in interleague or the World Series, in they use the rules from the league of the home team.  In an NL park, sure, there are some NL pitchers that don’t embarrass themselves with the lumber; but let’s face it, they’re all pretty bad regardless.  In the AL park, AL teams were paying a top hitter to play full time at DH while the NL team used a 4th outfielder or utility infielder.  Not exactly an even matchup, with far more of an advantage between full time DH and bench player than between pitchers.

To this point, in 2007, just five seasons ago, there were 6 players who played over 100 games at DH.  There were 11 players who played over 60 games, and these players played on average 84.3% of their games at DH.

In 2012, only 2 players played over 100 games at DH, although Big Papi undoubtedly would have if not for injury.  Still, that’s half the number as 2007.  There were 12 players to play 60 or more games at DH in 2012, but their average percentage of games at DH was only 66.2%.

What has happened is that teams have recognized having a guy that cannot play in the field is a significant detriment to flexibility.  Second, they’ve found that in the 162 game grind, it’s not a bad thing give all of their position players a little rest with a few games at DH.  To be able to make this happen, they will keep a guy who can play 1B and OF and a high quality utility player to spread the wealth.  In other words, they start to look a lot more like NL teams, thus negating what was once a major advantage.

I’m not saying this is the reason the NL has won three straight World Series, but the last time the AL team had a really strong DH was 2009 when the Yankees had Godzilla…and the Yankees won.

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Joe P November 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

The NL needs to adopt the DH. It’s ridiculous that during the most important competition of the season, on the biggest stage in the sport… the rules change! “Uh, hey guys, during the NBA Finals 3-pointers will be worth 1 point and each player only gets one foul.” Or, more to the point, it would be as if during the NFL Big Game (TM) the QBs had to take a few snaps at LB. Is the AL’s DH likely going to be more productive than Chuck From the Bench? Probably. But at least Chuck has seen, held, spelled… bat at some point in the last 15 years! Besides, no one wants to see a pitcher try to hit a baseball.

(*Disclaimer: lifelong Detroit Tigers fan)

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