Tagged: DH

The Case For and Against the Designated Hitter

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It’s not secret that the designated hitter is the most controversial position in baseball. The American League uses the DH in place of the pitcher in the batting order whereas the National League lets pitchers take hacks. Fans and the brass of baseball are trying to decide what to do with the DH. Do they leave it the way it is where one league has is and the other doesn’t? Do they implement the DH in the National League? Or do they completely get rid of the DH and make American League pitchers bat?

We’re going to present the case for and against the DH. We aren’t going to give our opinion on the matter, but rather just give the best points of each argument and let our readers decide how they feel about it. If you think we missed an important point, comment on it, we’d love to hear your opinion on this controversial issue.

FOR the DH:

  • Most teams have bench player who they turn to for pinch hitting who could fill the role of DH.
  • The DH is used from little league to college ball, should continue it through the Majors if they are going to teach that there is a position where all the player does is hit. 
  • Pitchers are an easy out and look awful at the plate.
  • Baseball has better ratings during games that are slugfests rather than pitcher’s duels. The DH would help add offense to games which could increase the popularity of a sport many regard as boring.
  • The two leagues are playing different games which ruins the appeal of interleague play, implementing the DH would put an end to that.
  • “Good hitting pitchers” win more games because of their pitching skills than their “above average hitting for a pitcher” skills.
  • The active roster can be expanded to 26 teams so that players can accommodate for the DH rather than having to cut a bench player or shrinking the bullpen.
  • Bill James argued that the DH doesn’t decrease strategy because bunting the pitcher with a runners on is almost second nature to managers now.

AGAINST the DH:

  • Adds a “10th” player to teams’ salaries. Normally there are 8 position starters and the pitcher, 9 salaries on the diamond that are probably pretty hefty. The DH would add another salary that some teams might not be able to afford.
  • The DH is the most nonathletic position in sports. It keeps older and larger players in the game.
  • Creates one-dimensional players who get paid to do one thing whereas every other player has multiple jobs.
  • The DH cuts managerial strategy because the manager doesn’t have to worry about taking a pitcher out if the pitcher’s spot comes up when the team needs a good AB.
  • Why doesn’t MLB expand the DH rule to nine men to play defense and nine designated hitters? If it is all right to have one man exclusively hitting and not fielding why not nine?
  • Since pitchers are replaced because they are bad hitters, can the shortstop be hit for if he is a bad hitter but good fielder?
  • Comic relief when American League (And sometimes National League) pitchers go to swing and look like little leaguers (just kidding)
  • Bunting is an important part of a baseball game and can advance runners into scoring position for the next batter.

We’ve given 8 arguments for each side. Now it’s your turn to weigh in. You’re the commissioner of Major League Baseball, you look at all the facts and hear all the arguments, what do you do?