Comments on: The average age of designated hitters This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: MikeD Sun, 19 Sep 2010 05:35:14 +0000 I would guess the general decrease in the age of DHs could mean teams are simply rotating more of their regular players into the slot to rest them. The key question is who are getting the ABs when the regular is DHing. If it's a sub-replacement level player, then that's hurting the team. Are there charts showing the average production of a team's DH over the years? Is it going up, down, staying the same?

As for Jesus Montero and the Yankees, I could see a situation where they catch him 50 games, have him play first 20 games, and then DH another 70 or so games. That will leave at least half of the DH games open for another hitter, or for regular the Yankees want to rest and rotation inot the DH slot. Even if he only serves as a part-time catcher, by the time Texeira leaves the Yankees, Montero will still be all of about 26. He could take over first at that time.

By: MikeD Sun, 19 Sep 2010 05:06:36 +0000 @15, Rico Petrocelli -- A poll on Adam Dunn and the HOF could make for an interesting poll, but maybe in another three years if he maintains his production and is closing in on 500. Right now he's "only" at 351, so the answer would be easy. He's not a HOFer. The poll's become more interesting when the player is more borderline. He's not there yet.

By: Neil L Sat, 18 Sep 2010 22:30:43 +0000 @14
Double, you would get my vote for membership on the ML rules committee! Your detailed suggestion makes way too much sense to ever be adopted. {disses Bud Lite}

Seriously, wasn't the whole institution of the DH a reaction to the pitcher domination of the late sixties? It was an attempt to increase the fan appeal of the sport by injecting more offense into the AL game.

Rotating the DH between players or preventing it from becoming a full-time position would have run counter to the intent of MLB at the time, I think?

One could make the argument that, since 1973, very few AL teams have maximized the potential of the position. It has been used for a variety of things, to give players with aching knees a day off in the field, to ease an injured player back in to the lineup etc.

By: Jim Sat, 18 Sep 2010 21:24:36 +0000 I think it is also interesting that the average age of all players has increased by one year over this time... any thoughts on that? Longetivity, or players being bought up at older ages?

By: Rico Petrocelli Sat, 18 Sep 2010 09:53:13 +0000 Guys,

How about this for a good next poll -- "Is Adam Dunn a Hall-of-Famer"?
It is not a joke. I read a Fangraphs post that makes the case that Adam Dunn may end up in Cooperstown if he can stay healthy.

Adam Dunn is only 149 home runs away from 500, and heโ€™s averaged 35 HR per 600 PA in his career so far. Barring injury or a very early collapse of his skills, 600 homers seems possible.

Since โ€™04, Dunn has been one of the top 20 in batting WAR 5 times. Only 3 others can make the same claim: Pujols, Holliday, Miguel Cabrera. Not ARod. Not Manny. Not Teixiera or Berkman or Ortiz or Howard. Only Dunn, Pujols, Holliday, and Cabrera.

Worth a debate?

By: DoubleDiamond Sat, 18 Sep 2010 01:04:51 +0000 I didn't get a chance to weigh in on the Edgar Martinez Hall-of-Fame topic or even read much of it, but one thing that struck me, a fan in the other league and on the other coast, was how he was moved directly from third base to full-time DH while still relatively young (early 30's) and not coming off a serious injury. I would have at least expected the next move to be to 1B. Did this topic get posted here because of others making such a comment for that topic?

When the Blue Jays played that "home" series in Philadelphia, where the DH was used, I was surprised to see 26-year-old (since turned 27) Adam Lind as the DH. I wondered if he was getting a breather from another position, maybe coming off an injury, but it turns out he's been their DH for a while.

I was around for the beginning of the DH, in 1973. I thought it was going to be a spot for a team to switch a player around on a daily basis, but it soon became clear that a second reason for instituting the DH, besides substituting for the pitcher for the whole game, was to extend the careers of older players.

The way I would have implemented the DH, with only the original reason of avoid pitcher at-bats kept in mind, is as follows:

No player can be the starting DH for a team for more than [a certain number of] consecutive games. Each starting DH must make at least one plate appearance in a game. The same substitution rule that's in effect now is also in effect (if the DH enters the game defensively, the pitcher must bat in the spot of the vacated defensive player), with one exception. If the team carries only two catchers on its roster, and one of them is the DH, he may come into the game if the other catcher needs to leave the game due to a readily-apparent injury or illness (not due to ejection or game strategy). (Details on what constitutes "readily-apparent" can be worked out.) The DH making the substitution must still be the active DH in the game at the time of the substitution. He will continue to bat in his original position, while the new DH will take the starting catcher's spot. As with other double switches, the new DH must be designated at the time the catcher switch takes place, even if he is not due to bat for a while. (If the starting catcher is injured during an at-bat or while running the bases, the pinch hitter or pinch runner replacing him at that time may temporarily be named the new DH, but if this spot comes up again during the game, a different player may come off the bench to be the DH.)

Once the starting DH has made a plate appearance, a different player may substitute for the starting DH. The starting DH is not allowed to return to the game, even if he is one of only two catchers on the roster and the other catcher becomes injured or ill as described above.

An exception to the consecutive games as starting DH rule:

A player coming off a stint on the DL, regardless of whether or not there were minor league rehabilitation games, may appear in up to 10 [or a different number of] additional consecutive games as the starting DH. If a player ended the previous season on the DL or had an off-season surgery, injury, or illness that, had it occurred during the regular season, likely would have required the player to spend time on the DL, these extra 10 [or other number] additional consecutive games may come at the beginning of the season.

The purpose of the above rules, which I have carried around in my head for years but never wrote down before, is to keep the DH from being a permanent position for any one player. But I have come to realize over the years that the second objective of letting some guys stick around for a longer period of time or to provide a roster spot for a younger player who can hit but has never been good defensively anywhere (as I believe was the case with Jack Cust) is a more valid one than my idea was.

I think the minor leagues rotate the DH more than the majors. An exception may be in AAA, where an older player trying to work his way back to the majors may serve as a full-time DH.

I don't know what you are planning for your promising new series on "What if?", but two possible ideas I have are:

What if the National League had also adopted the DH in 1973 (or some other year since then)?


What if the DH had never been adopted at all?

By: Neil L. Fri, 17 Sep 2010 22:44:20 +0000 @3
John DF, isn't the reluctance you speak of fading? Although he may be the first baseman in waiting, Adam Lind with the Jays may still have a career at DH, making him one of the youngest career DH's.

Barkfart, I don't necessarily see relegating a player to DH at a young age as giving up on them in any way. The position is a reality of AL play so why not get the most out of it?

Perhaps a more important consideration is the effect of being a full-time DH on a young player's psyche.

By: Diane Fri, 17 Sep 2010 18:08:22 +0000 [10]

never mind ... I found the answer ๐Ÿ™‚

By: John Autin Fri, 17 Sep 2010 17:02:25 +0000 @3 / 7 / 9 --
I think the decline in the use of a "regular" DH, and the diminished opportunities for young hitters best suited to DH, is a direct result of the regrettable proliferation of reliever roster spots, especially "situational" lefties. In 2010 alone, I identified 19 lefty specialists who have taken up a roster spot virtually all year (min. 50 games pitched and < 0.9 IP per game). As a group, these 19 have averaged 62 games, 43-2/3 IP and 188 batters faced. How does their performance compare to the MLB relief average?
LOOGY / MLB Relief Avg.
-- WHIP: 1.37 / 1.37
-- OBP: .331 / .329
-- SLG: .369 / .390
-- OPS: .700 / .719

I can see carrying a lefty specialist if he's truly outstanding, like Arthur Rhodes or Joe Thatcher. But it seems like "lefty specialist" has become a roster spot unto itself; teams seem to carry one whether or not he's any good. I think any kind of empirical study will show that a lot of these lefty specialists are not justifying their roster spots.

By: Diane Fri, 17 Sep 2010 15:57:34 +0000 Are the average ages listed in the batting encyclopedia weighted by PA or games, or something else?