NL teams that would benefit most from a universal DH
Major League Baseball has floated several ideas for starting the 2020 season, but one concept that has remained throughout these plans is the implementation of the designated hitter rule in both leagues.
Though anathema to baseball purists, the DH will serve as a way to keep hitters in the lineup without requiring them to play the field during what’s expected to be a highly-compressed schedule with built-in doubleheaders.
Here are three National League teams that would benefit most from the DH rule.
The Brewers’ puzzling decision to ink outfielder Avisail Garcia to a two-year, $20 million deal in the offseason looks brilliant in hindsight.
Milwaukee is now free to make Ryan Braun, whose skills in left field are rapidly diminishing, the permanent DH in their lineup. Braun can still hit, as he mashed 22 homers while driving in 75 runs in 144 games last year (.285 average).
Having Garcia (.796 OPS in 2019) along with 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich and 2019 Gold Glover Lorenzo Cain gives the Brewers one of the best outfields in baseball, and Ben Gamel is a fine player to have in reserve.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The rich get richer.
Joc Pederson has become invaluable to the Dodgers despite their best efforts to trade him to the Angels this offseason. His power (career-high 36 homers in 2019) but lack of fielding ability make him the obvious choice to be the everyday DH.
MVP candidates Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger will be in L.A.’s outfield on a regular basis, with A.J. Pollock, Chris Taylor, and Kiké Hernandez all capable of holding down the fort when their number is called.
Nicholas Castellanos’ defensive ability has been called into question lately, making him a prime candidate to serve as the Reds’ DH in 2020. He earned a four-year, $64 million contract this offseason by hitting .289 with 27 homers and 73 RBI in 2019.
Nick Senzel (.742 OPS) and Aristides Aquino (19 homers) hinted at talent as rookies last season and should be part of a big rotating cast of outfielders that includes newly-acquired Japan Pacific League hitting machine Shogo Akiyama, part-timer Jesse Winker, and lefty specialist Phil Ervin.