Forget The DH, Forget The Pitcher Hitting, Lets Hit With 8! Also Teams Should Hit Best Players At The Top
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(The 8 hitters in lineup concept is my idea solely, I am agreeing with Sully on his lineup relevance for his approach for 1 and 2 hitters) – CB
I was listening to an archived show I did with James Acevedo, on our inaugural “2 And A Hook Podcast” show last March.
We were talking about the Designated Hitter position weakening by the year, and the Pitcher not doing any justice at the plate either.
In the show, I haphazardly referred to “they should just hit with 8 hitters.”
I forgot about the whole thing soon after saying it last year, but now I haven’t stopped thinking about for the last hour of today.
Baseball writers often will tell you it is best to write what is fresh on your mind.
Speaking of our Podcast Network of MLB Reports, we also have Sully Baseball’s 20 Min Daily Podcast, as he has posted 400 of his 500+ days in a row with us.
Paul Sullivan thinks about baseball so many hours of the day, I am surprised he is able to do anything else in this world.
Anyways, in my thought process the last hour, I thought about “Sully” explaining his idea of how the best hitters in the game should hit 1st or 2nd in the lineup.
Why you would do this? Sully brings forth many good points in his audio summation of how it is a bright concept.
Sully’s Podcast helped me make way for this written piece, so he gets much credit.
Bullet version is this..
1. The starting lineup only is for the 1st inning and nothing more than that. After the 1st inning, the lineup positions don’t matter at all.
2, Wouldn’t it stand to reason that having a player up with more AB in a game (when he is your best player) that he has more chances to win the game for your team.
3. Sully referenced Don Mattingly batting 2nd in 1985, as put forth by the coach Billy Martin, with the thinking that he should be up more in the game because he is the best all around hitter in the game right now.
(The Yankees had Rickey Henderson batting lead off that year, so he would have never batted 1st.)
For the record Mattingly had a historical year, batting .324/.371/.567, with 35 HRs, 48 Doubles, and 145 RBI that year in his AL MVP campaign.
Donnie Baseball netted 727 total Plate Appearances during the season with the extra PA’s from those extra 58 games, a number that would have been reduced had he hit 3rd or even 4th.
Remarkably he also only fanned 41 times for the whole year. The 145 RBI were the most by a LHB since Stan Musial in 1949 at the time.
Henderson scored more runs that year for a single year, than any other in his career, crossing home 146 times in just 143 Games Played. Only Jeff Bagwell scoring 150 times in 2000 has since scored more.
For the year, Mattingly still batted 3rd in 99 games as opposed to 58 games in the 2nd slot, but check out the production..
Batting 2nd: .355/.414/.674 – with 20 HRs and 50 RBI and 54 Runs in just 274 PA.
Batting 3rd: .304/.344/.505 – with 15 HRs and 92 RBI and 53 Runs in 446 PA.
Okay, so I got off track a little, but the point is the guy was the best hitter in the game back then, and the skipper hit him 2nd in the lineup.
So how is the pertinent to my blog?
It is my belief that a manager would never do this in the National League because of the Pitcher slot hitting 9th to start the majority of the games.
Th 8th hitter is also the weakest on the squad that is a non-pitcher, so having your best power bat batting 1st or 2nd in the NL is not as applicable as it is to the American League.
Without a Pitcher hitting in the AL (in lieu of the DH), the best guys should be hitting at the top of the order, and definitely before the #4 slot.
How many times does a guy bat with bases empty in the second inning – after a 3 up and 3 down 1st inning? Nobody other than Sully could say this better, so I implore you to listen to these podcasts.
Don Mattingly hitting 2nd debate (7 min and 30 second mark)
The Yasiel Puig hitting 1st in the lineup (Mattingly is choosing to do what Martin did for him in 1985 – hit high in the lineup)
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Anyways, I have written several blogs on the DH spot becoming weaker and weaker by the year, and if it weren’t for David Ortiz, we would have no superstars at the position.
I used to love the Designated Hitter in the game. I witnessed greats like Harold Baines, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, and of more recent guys of note, like Jim Thome, Mike Piazza, Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui ply their craft with ALL – Star like qualities.
Today, the slot is used for resting guys. Maybe I will give Billy Butler a passing grade for being a good DH too.
Okay, so we are talking about abolishing the DH.
The next thing that peeves me about watching games is the pitcher hitting. I am not a traditionalist, I grew up on baseball in the AL, for this, I love the offense in the game.
So Pitchers shouldn’t hit either.
We are left with my 8 is enough format once again.
Think about it.
Cons for 8 players hitting only.
1. Games would be longer in the NL than they are currently. National League games are about 14 minutes faster than American League Games as we stand right now (2:39 – 2:53).
2. It would go against tradition of batting with 9 hitters for all of these years.
My answer to that is: ” so does modern day nutrition, video research.” It is the natural evolution of a sport. I want Mike Trout to bat 80 more times in one year.
3. It would drive up players salaries with stats for a few years, before an index of what the new players should be paid.
4. You would have players have worse defense out in the field – as there is nowhere to hide their inefficient defenders. This was how they played the game until 1972.
Some pros for 8 hitters in the lineup (AKA every position player except for the Pitcher).
1. Awesome players will have around 11% more AB in a year. They could chase some of the historic records cleanly.
2. You only need to look at the ever-increasing ratings the NFL is experiencing with an increased offense output. This is a result from a helluva lot more offense with rules being enforced on the defense.
Offense sells with today’s youth.
In essence, you are only losing 15 hitters to the game of baseball out of 270 batters when all 30 teams are in action. 30 teams times 8 batters is (240).
Right now it stands that 270 hit (240 Position + 15 DH and 15 Pitchers.) Honestly, who likes watching the pitchers hit?
4. You would cut down the chance for any Pitcher to be hurt from acting as a Hitter.
So where do guys go that can’t play defense? You could still pinch hit them. Each team could still have 25 Man Rosters.
You could add another pitcher as the 25th roster spot. Maybe this could alleviate some of the tired arms you have in the Bullpens late in the year – with an extra reliever taking the new found roster spot.
I am so in with this concept.
When I am following a game in every capacity, sure I love the teams battling each other, but when you give me one of the best players in the game of MLB to hit, I pay attention when he is at the plate.
More excerpts from Sully’s podcast “Bat your best players 1st (not to make an out). Best opportunities throughout the new ‘MoneyBall’ are guys that have the highest OBP, to create the most runs.”
Of course if you decide not to take my idea, American League teams should implement Sully’s idea (championed 1st by Bobby Bragan.)
How many more HRs would Babe Ruth have had with 1st hitter AB?
Maybe some manager will take the philosophy and run with it?
Don’t worry people, it will never happen, but if just like a spaghetti cook, if you throw enough of it at the wall, maybe something will stick.
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Posted on March 11, 2014, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 1985 new york yankees, @chuckbooth3024 on twitter, @sullybaseball on twitter, American league, babe ruth, billy butler, billy martin, chris davis, Chuck Booth, david ortiz, designated hitter, don mattingly, edgar martinez, harold baines, James Acevedo, jason giambi, jeff bagwell, jim thome, jose bautista, Mike Trout, national league, new york yankees, Paul Sullivan, rickey henderson, stan musial, Sully Baseball. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.