baseball designated hitters
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How Baseball Fans Should Feel About Designated Hitters


The MLB has had designated hitters since 1973, but many people have argued for change. Today’s game has designated hitters in the lineup for games taking place at an American League team’s stadium. The games that take place at a National League team’s stadium have the pitcher as part of the lineup. All in all, this conversation is fluid, but there are a few things to consider before forming a point of view. 


First, the designated hitter produces more hits for the game. It’s not a secret that pitchers in baseball typically do not hit well. There are many exceptions, such as Madison Bumgarner, Michael Lorenzen, Clayton Kershaw, and Noah Syndergaard, but having a designated hitter will typically result in a more entertaining game. Most baseball fans want to see hits and runs, which the designated hitter position usually produces. Some of the best DH’s from last season include J.D. Martinez, Jorge Soler, and Nelson Cruz. Those players would most likely find a way to play regardless of the designated hitter rule, but that would mean one less natural hitter to produce runs.

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All three of the designated hitters I listed were responsible for more than 100 RBI’s last season. Moving them out of the lineup and having a pitcher take any of their places would result in a lot less RBI’s. Even if they find a way into the lineup, a pitcher will have to replace a natural hitter who is clearly more likely to produce more hits or runs for the team.

Many fans don’t consider getting rid of pitchers hitting for National League games, but the move would result in more entertainment for the league. Going that route extends careers and keeps some great hitters on active rosters. It also adds more strategy to a lineup. Placing a slow hitter with power as the DH would help the possibility of home runs, but the team would have to deal with his baserunning the entire game. Putting in an average hitter who’s a speed demon helps a lineup prevent issues like that, but he won’t produce as many runs by himself.

The DH brings a lot more strategy and entertainment, so fans who want more runs should lean this way. 


Another thing to consider before forming an opinion on this topic is if hitting should be part of the game for every player.


Most fans find an offensive game more entertaining, but many think every player should hit because hitting is part of baseball. This is a debatable topic with no statistics to back it up. Pitchers must go through a lot of playing time, as is. Having them bat makes their job more stressful. Relying on one position so much more than the others can either be a positive or a negative, depending on who you ask.

Some may think it will make the game more interesting to see a pitcher hit, even though they usually don’t get on base. If hitting must be part of the game of baseball, then the designated hitter should be removed. If offensive entertainment is more critical, then the designated hitter should stay, and even be included in every baseball game. It depends heavily on personal preference. 

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Another fact to consider is that the current rules are a middle ground. Some feel the designated hitter needs to go while some are supportive of pushing it even more. Finding a balance between that debate is what keeps things the way they are. 

Debaters from both sides of the problem get their way depending on what games they watch. If one likes designated hitters, they can watch more games at an American League team’s home. If one wants to see pitchers hit, they can watch games at a National League team’s home. This option is the least debatable and would result in a more straightforward solution for both sides of the argument.

Some feel the designated hitter is part of the game due to how long it’s been around. It’s been like this for so long, and pitchers still get to hit, so changing such an impactful part of the game seems unnecessary since the current rule is a middle ground for both sides.


Another reason this rule is the least controversial is because of the potential some pitchers have as hitters.


Completely removing pitchers from the game takes away from those who are good hitters. Completely removing designated hitters would result in some of the best hitters being removed from the game and handicapping some of the best lineups in the league. An example of this is former New York Yankees designated hitter, Edwin Encarnacion. He’s not fast, nor is he a good fielder, but he managed to hit 34 home runs to help with the Yankees power-based lineup, despite being hurt most of the season. 

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An oddball solution that nobody talks about is to allow each team to choose. This would be confusing or tradition-breaking for some fans, but doing so would let allow teams themselves not to take issue with the rules. The fans are important, but having teams upset at a rule is never good either. Having the team choose prevents conflict within the league, but some fans would still be left angry. Allowing the teams to choose would result in nearly all, if not all, the teams wanting the designated hitter since there would be no reason to let a typically worse hitter bat.

Fans would view it as pointless, but this strategy is the most stable for the teams themselves. Just giving the option for the teams to use a pitcher to hit will help them feel they have a choice, even if they barely utilize it. 

The amount is minimal, but there are fans out there who prefer what’s best for the teams rather than what’s best for themselves. 


With all things considered, it completely depends on the kind of fan watching. If one wants more offense and strategic possibilities, pushing the designated hitter for all games is the best option. If one feels hitting is part of the game so all players need to know how to do it, pushing pitchers to hit every game is the way to go. If one wants a balance between the two, the current rules should stay the way they are. If one feels the teams in the league should have the power, let the teams choose.

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-Kyle Randolph – Franchise Sports Media

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