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September 19, 2013

Skewed Left

Danny Valencia and the Orioles' DH Merry-Go-Round

by Zachary Levine


Even as he did it for the fifth day in a row, Orioles manager Buck Showalter acknowledged that it still isn’t easy to simply hand the DH position to breakout performer and at times playoff-hopes-keeper-aliver Danny Valencia.

That’s understandable. Not necessarily because of any concerns over small sample size or the severe platoon splits that have helped create Valencia’s .323/.358/.623 slash line in 137 plate appearances, but because Showalter hasn’t been able to decide on a DH all year.

Wednesday night marked Valencia’s team-leading 34th start at designated hitter, which is the lowest total number of starts of anyone who leads his team. That’s certainly reflective of what has been a general trend to diversify the starters at the position and use it to give partial days of rest, work in a platoon advantage, or generally just rotate playing time. Only two players—Billy Butler and Delmon Young—started at least 100 games at DH last season, although contrary to the trend, four already have this year—Butler, Victor Martinez, David Ortiz and Kendrys Morales.

At the other end of that consistency spectrum are the Orioles, who have started six different players at DH double-digit times and 10 different players at least four times. In fact, until last night, Orioles DH had been the position with the least consistency in the entire American League.

Position

Starts leader

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (09/19)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Skewed Left: Three Nar... (09/12)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: The Canad... (09/26)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Painting the Black: Th... (09/19)

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