For years there has been talk of the designated hitter being adopted by the National League. While some still remain against it, it is only a matter of time until it happens. The increase of pitchers getting injured batting, the lengthening of careers for aging veterans, and the increase in runs are just some of the reasons it will eventually become universal. With talks heating up that it could be happening very soon, the Milwaukee Brewers are one team that would benefit from having a DH in the National League.
Good and Bad of Pitcher Hitting
Yes, the Brewers have had many good moments with pitchers batting. Yovani Gallardo showcased power when he came to the plate. Last October, Brandon Woodruff had one of the team’s biggest moments as he homered off Clayton Kershaw in the National League Championship Series.
There is also the downside. Jimmy Nelson was lost for the final month of 2017 sliding back into first base while running the bases. Chase Anderson missed time from injury while batting as well that season. Though pitchers have been occasionally successful, even the best hitting pitcher cannot compare with the bats that could be available. Heading into 2019, the Brewers would have plenty of options to use at DH.
Braun is one bat that would definitely benefit from the move. At 35-years-old, Braun has continued to prove that he can still hit. But while he continues to have success, nagging injuries continue to creep up on him. By adding a DH to the lineup, Braun would still be able to hit during his scheduled days off. This benefit could help to greatly increase his production.
Thames would also see the field much more if a DH was added. Last season after losing his job at first base, Thames struggled to get going at the plate. Coming off of a season where he hit 31 homers in 2017, his power numbers and plate appearances were almost split in half last year. With first base taken and his struggles in the outfield, this would give him more than his one at-bat in a pinch-hitting role.
Looking into the future, a final bat that adding a DH would benefit is Corey Ray. Ray, the former No. 1 draft pick in 2016, had a career year playing for Double-A Biloxi last season. The young outfielder homered 27 times and had an .801 OPS to showcase his power potential.
This year he is expected to begin in Triple-A, but with a good showing he will be on his way to Milwaukee. Having the DH added would allow Braun to move more often and help Ray to see consistent playing time when he is ready at the big league level.
Until it eventually happens, adding a DH to the NL will always be met with controversy from fans. But if it is added, there is no reason for anyone in Milwaukee to be upset. The Brewers lineup is currently loaded with talent, even with the pitcher hitting ninth. If and when the DH is brought to the NL, the Brewers will be greatly benefited.
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