Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020
Tomorrow is the first day of “summer training.” The 2020 season will not look like any other baseball season in history.
From the beginning of his commissionership, Rob Manfred wanted to have the universal DH rule. This upcoming season Manfred got his wish. He thinks the universal DH rule will help to add excitement to the sport.
During Manfred’s tenure of being the Commissioner of Major League Baseball starting in 2014, he has wanted to generate more interest in the sport. Although Major League Baseball has had records of profits under Manfred, the new rules designed to increase the rate of the game are not popular with the sport purists.
Using the DH in the National League in 2020 does make sense. With the abbreviated “summer training,” pitchers in both the National and American Leagues need to build arm strength before Opening Day on July 23rd. These pitchers are prone to soft-tissue injuries. It would be a shame if a pitcher strains either a groin or hamstring while running the bases.
Unlike most National League teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ incredible depth will not be harmed when the team uses a designated hitter. The Dodgers have many choices for their DH.
The Dodgers should use Matt Beaty, a natural hitter, as their DH. Although in 2019, Beaty’s defense improved, his most comfortable position on the diamond is still the “batter’s box.”
Joc Pederson is another option for the Dodger DH. Although he is a great power hitter, he is a good defensive left fielder. If Pederson does not play left field, the Dodgers probably will play A.J Pollock there. Defensively, Pollock, who learned to play left field in 2019, is barely acceptable in his new position. Offensively, he is a liability. During the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, he did not have a hit. In March, Pollock looked bad in the batter’s box, the inability to make contact.
Of course, Kiké Hernandez and/or Chris Taylor can be great DHs. Both have shown their abilities to have a high batting average against Major League pitching. They also can play extraordinarily well at any position.
Having a DH gives Dodger manager Dave Roberts an opportunity to rest regulars, such as Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Corey Seager, without losing their offensive capabilities. These players have histories of injuries. If one of these Dodgers injures himself, their team will have difficulty winning their division.
Any Major Leaguer can opt-out of playing in 2020. Not yet, any Dodger has opted out, but Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, and/or Joe Kelly might take the option. Jansen might be considered high-risk since he has a history of irregular heartbeat. Kershaw’s third child was born in January. Kelly’s wife had twins in April. If any of these players chose not to play in the Coronavirus pandemic, the complexion of the Los Angeles Dodgers will be different. Replacing these players with the same caliber players will be nearly impossible.
Like everything in 2020, the baseball season will be unpredictable. Hopefully, having Major League Baseball will give people joy.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020