The American and National Leagues are two distinct leagues in name only. They act more like conferences than leagues, with no league presidents, relatively newfound player mobility, and now constant interleague play. But they continue to operate under a different set of rules, and to some that makes no sense. The DH debate must be settled, the argument goes. Standardize it in, say the progressives, and standardize it out, say the traditionalists, but standardize it soon.
It’s among the most difficult problems facing the union and management over the coming years, as it impacts rosters and player salaries. While the role of full-time designated hitter may someday wash away completely, the average primary designated hitter in 2011 made $8.3 million.
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Jesus Montero, Jose Altuve, and Jimmy Rollins lead off for this week's Keeper Reaper.
Jesus Montero| Seattle Mariners Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): Yes Deep (90 Keepers): Yes AL-Only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
Some players are willing to accept a designated hitter role on a team, yet others see their production suffer (sometimes greatly) when they don't play the field. It's very early in Montero's career, but he appears to be in the latter camp. Montero received 321 plate appearances as a designated hitter and 230 plate appearances as a catcher last year, and the difference in his slash line was staggering. As a designated hitter, Montero hit a paltry .226/.265/.309 with five home runs. Conversely, he crushed the ball as a catcher, hitting .310/.343/.498 with 10 home runs.
Russell proposes a simple solution that might resolve the DH debate to everyone's satisfaction.
It's January. The holidays are over. The Winter Meetings are over. Hall of Fame voting is over. They even solved that fiscal thing. The MVPs and Cy Youngs and Rookies of the Year have been given out.Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton have signed. And frankly, I can only read so many "Where will Michael Bourn sign?" pieces. Baseball is officially stuck in a rut. Well, when you need to start a conversation going on baseball, there's always the old reliable flint in the matchbox: the designated hitter.
With his Value Pick roster all having good weeks, Michael adds another VP while looking at the roster shakeups from last week’s trades and injuries among corner infielders.
The non-waiver trade deadline is almost upon us, and the most predicted corner infield swap doesn’t look like it will come to pass, but there’s been plenty of other action on my Value Picks beat, even if it has erased more VPs than it created. Take last week’s significant hot corner injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Pablo Sandoval, for example. Kung Fu Panda’s replacement will be Marco Scutaro, who’s more valuable as a fantasy middle infielder and who moves to a park that will hurt his production, and VP Eric Chavez actually graduates from the list due to A-Rod’s broken wrist. The trades of Chris Johnson and Ryan Roberts aren’t all that significant either; neither player is a good VP, for reasons you can read about in Playing Pepper. Fear not, however, since the list had a fine week, and there are still other options to help your fantasy team as the final two months of the season begin.
Pitchers continue to get injured while batting, so should baseball continue to require NL pitchers to hit?
I'm not known around the Internet as the world'sbiggestA.J. Burnettfan. During last Wednesday's BP roundtable, I even dusted off an old Simpson's riff: "I'm a well-wisher in that I wish him no specific harm." Now, to set the record straight, any voodoo dolls I may have referenced over the past decade or so for any player exist only in my breathlessly hyperbolic narratives, and I would never actually wish injury on a ballplayer, particularly not such an injury as befell Burnett later that day. The recent trade that sent the enigmatic righty from the Yankees to the Pirates mandates that he practice his hitting and bunting, and unfortunately, a less-than-stellar bit of work on the latter sent a ball into his own face, fracturing his right orbital and necessitating surgery. Fortunately, it does not sound as though he suffered a detached retina, which could have threatened his career.
Remembering the late Don Mincher with a look back at the first part of his BP interview from last year.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
First baseman Don Mincher died on Sunday at age 73. In his memory, we'll be re-running David Laurila's two-part interview with him, which originally ran as a two-part "Prospectus Q&A" column on January and 11th and 12th, 2011.
What to make of fantasy players shifting across the diamond? Michael looks at the fallout of the Fielder signing, plus potential position moves by Miguel Cabrera, Mark Trumbo, and the already-certain moves of Hanley Ramirez
For fantasy owners, the difference between first- and third-base eligibility is huge—at least in leagues that ignore defense. That defensive liability can still have repercussions in real-world baseball, however, which trickles down to fantasy if a player can’t stick at the hot corner. Last week’s news featured several players going from the right side of the diamond to the left, but not all of those moves may be permanent and not all may be beneficial.
Michael looks at several keepers to be handled with kid gloves, or not at all, including Casey Blake, Jesus Montero, Edwin Encarnacion, and Mark Reynolds
Keeper debates are some of the best discussions in fantasy, livening up the offseason and revealing the strategies—and possibly the personalities—of owners and analysts and the leagues we play in. For example, I tend to stick with more established players rather than hot young rookies, but my keeper leagues have shallow keeper rosters to improve year-to-year parity.
But I know other owners who love to take long shots and deep cuts, just so they can brag about the depth of their baseball knowledge. Other owners use keepers to anchor in-season strategy, locking up certain categories before Draft Day even begins. This week I’ll look at a few players that appeal to various keeper strategies, starting with the one signing of note since my last column. If you’ve got a keeper you’d like to hear about, leave your suggestion in the comments section.
What can Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli tell us about the dangers of valuing backup catchers inappropriately?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Jonathan Bernhardt is a freelance writer born in Baltimore who lives and works in New York City. He is an occasional contributor to the Et tu, Mr. Destructo? blog.