For a brief moment this winter, it seemed that the designated hitter could finally reach the National League. The union of MLB players proposed the idea at the commissioner's office as part of wider negotiations, but last month Rob Manfred pumped the brakes. The addition of the universal DH was not part of the agreement between the union and the owners, who reportedly reached Wednesday. The leagues will keep their rules different for now, although it is increasingly likely that the arrival of DH in the NL is inevitable.
While MLB continues to discuss its rules, we wanted to quantify what a universal DH would mean for the game. So we looked at the American League, where they have been playing with a DH since 1
What would a universal DH mean for offensive production?
The most obvious effect of the DH is that with it the pitchers give I must not beat. It is a truism of baseball that pitchers are terrible at the plate, but during the history of baseball, they gradually worsened. Now they are historically bad.
We can measure the offensive production of pitchers using a statistic called weighted runs created more, or wRC +. While most positions have produced more or less the same number of offenses during the history of the Major League, the pitchers continue to decline. Last season, the pitchers beat the sign of the previous year for offensive ineptitude, combining for a record low wRC + of -25, which means that they were 125% worse than an average batsman.
Not surprisingly, DH is better on the plate. Over the past three years, the DH have averaged a wRC + of 109. So it is natural to assume that the championship employing a designated hitter would total more than the league that instead uses pitchers as batters. And the AL has historically seen more runs per game. But recently, the difference in the race score between the two championships has been reduced.
Overall, the AL teams have combined an average of 4.59 runs per game over the past three years, while the NL teams have averaged 4.46 runs per game. From 1994 to 2003, the peak of the so-called steroid era, the AL advantage in races per game was on average 0.37. Over the past four years, the benefit has been 0.12 executions.
The pitchers are already beating less often
That the pitchers are fighting in BN will always mark the teams' ability to score, given the bad quality of the pitchers. But pitchers are getting less opportunity to be automatic outs. The innings recorded by the starting pitchers continue to decline, and the NL pitchers have combined for a low total of presences in the pot last season.
Would the NL starters have increased more if there was a DH?
It is easy to suppose that, since pitchers in the NL are sometimes pulled so that hitters can crush, they advance for shorter stints than AL launchers. However, the start of pitchers in the NL actually worked in depth in games last season, and the leagues were almost equal in innings to start from 2000. Perhaps the predominant factors are the number of pitch of the starting pitcher and how many times he worked through the opposite order.
How would the NL teams fill the DH position?
In adding DH, NL teams would be presented essentially with two choices: fill the spot with a player who commits an online foul every day, or use the spot to rotate and rest the players, improving the versatility of the roster and building a deeper bench.
In the AL, teams mostly employ players whose primary responsibility is to be DH. In each of the last three seasons, there were at least 12 AL teams with a player who made at least 50% of his over 350 plate appearances as DH.
One factor that could be part of the union's commitment to add DH to the NL is the hope for more lucrative jobs. The designated player is, by player, the highest paid positional group in baseball. The addition of a full-time DH, as many AL teams employ, could mean more lucrative jobs if the DH could replace a cheaper, stationary position.
Furthermore, DH would probably help around 30 – and older free agents find work – a problem in recent offseasons. If an elderly player is losing defensive skills but can still strike, the DH offers another way to enter the formation.
Regarding the cascading effect on the rest of the roster, the AL teams have combined on average 387.7 launchers used per season over the past six years. NL teams? 383.7. So, while adding the DH could eliminate an end-of-bank position, it may not have much effect on the number of launchers used during a season.
What would the universal DH mean for the pace of play?
Of course, any change to the rules can lead to unintended consequences. Manfred focused on the accelerated pace of the game, including reducing the number of trips on the mound and experimenting with a pitch clock this spring. But it is not clear what kind of effect adding the DH would have had the rhythm. The average number of seconds between last year's shots was 24.1, the second major break in the pitch-tracking era. The two championships weren't all that different: Pitchers in NL took 23.9 seconds between shots, while AL pitchers took 24.3 seconds. But when the pitchers beat, the game accelerated. The time between the launches was 20.1 seconds last season when the NL pitchers hit, but 24.2 seconds when all the other NL hitters were batting.
But given what we know about how often pitchers beat, it's not much. There were 18,344 pitches launched to pitchers last season, for a total of 20.9 hours saved between pitches over the course of a season, compared to the pace of league pitchers. Almost a full day of baseball! Except the fact that baseball is played in too many days for the savings of that time to be evident. Spread over an entire season, replacing pitcher bats with those of a DH would result in a relatively small slowdown of about one minute per game.
But adding DH could add time savings if [19459016
According to data provided to FiveThirtyEight by David Smith of Retrosheet, intermittent changes have increased by about 3 minutes and 15 seconds per game in 2018. But the BN had fewer mid-pitch changes last season (2,213 (A 2,452).
However, the overall net effect could be modest: the average duration of a nine-inning game in the last three years was 181.7 minutes. In the AL C & # 39; were 182 minutes.
The pitcher's jobs would become more difficult?
NL launchers may have to work a little. more if the DH arrives in the league When a pitcher faces another pitcher, the speed of his fast ball tends to decrease, which suggests that pitchers allow themselves a little respite.The average fastball speed in the NL last season was 93.7 mph, but when i pitchers beat, it was 92.8 mph. Moreover, the average NL for the use of fast-four four-seam was 39.1 percent last season, but when the pitchers were batting, that odds jumped to 51.8 percent – a record during the pitch-tracking era. This means the pitchers are saving the broken balls for the stronger hitters.
Which NL players will benefit the most?
A DH would mean all sorts of possibilities for the NL registers – but how could they appear if the teams could use DH this season? We asked our friends at Out of the Park Baseball, a strategic simulation game, to run a simulation based on NL 2019 teams playing with and without DH to find out which teams and players would benefit the most. (The simulation was performed before Bryce Harper accepted the terms with the Phillies.)
In the table below, you can see which player of each team would become the main DH under the OOTP simulations and which player would get the most appearances of the plate. Sometimes that player would be DH, and sometimes it would be someone else due to the cascading effect of the opportunity gained by adding DH.
|Team||Primary DH||Top gainer  No. Plate Appearances|
|Diamondbacks||Christian Walker||Christian Walker||295|
|Braves||Johan Camargo||Johan Camargo||343|
|Kyle Schwarber||Albert Almora||395|
|Reds||Jesse Winker||Jesse Winker||264|
|Rockies||Ryan McMahon||Ryan McMahon||396|
|Dodgers||Max Muncy||Alex Verdugo||400|
|Marlins||Pedro Alvarez||Pedro Alvarez||280|
|Brewers||Eric Thames||Eric Thames||359|
|Mets||Jeff McNeil||Keon Broxton||488|
|Phillies||Nick Williams||Dylan Cozens||282|
|Padres||Franmil Reyes||Hunter Renfroe||333|
|Giants||Anthony Garc ia||Cameron Maybin||541|
|Card inals||Jose Martinez||Jose Martinez||230|
|Nationals||Ryan Zimmerman||Ryan Zimmerman||400|
It is interesting to note that the top potential pot gainers on eight of the 15 NL teams were below average (wRC + 100) in offensive production in 2018. In the AL last season, 13 of the 15 teams enjoyed above-average production from the DH position. This means that a number of NL teams could benefit from the addition of effective hitters, which could lead to higher costs for free agents.
So what does all this mean for the endless debate about what a universal DH would do for baseball? The advocates could look at all this and say, "What's the big deal? The game would barely change! Why not officially officialize it?" The opponents, meanwhile, could look at all this and say "What's the big deal? The game is practically the same already! Why change it? "And perhaps this shows what the debate about DH really is: the culture of baseball. While the underlying evidence shows that alloys are increasingly the same, their identities are not. The DH changes and a baseball style would disappear forever. Even if the game itself could hardly change.