The History of Pitchers Hitting Strongly Supports the DH in the NL and Other Bullets

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The History of Pitchers Hitting Strongly Supports the DH in the NL and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

mlb logo featureWe watched an old, semi-kid-friendly version of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ yesterday as a family, and The Little Girl actually really liked it (The Little Boy mostly just fidgeted and played with my hand). There was one minor hiccup about halfway through when she turned to me with an ear-to-ear grin and said, “I can’t wait until they get to the fairies!”

Unbeknownst to me, there is some low budget Disney straight-to-video Tinkerbell affair called ‘Pixie Hollow’ or some such thing, and she thought that’s what we were watching. Or at least that it was the same hollow the characters were traversing.

  • I defy you to read this piece at The Hardball Times and not come away convinced, perhaps more than ever, that it’s really stupid that the National League doesn’t just adopt the Designated Hitter. Obviously I’d long been convinced for pragmatic reasons that it was time, but when you look at the history of pitchers hitting, and see how long ago they became offensive black holes rather than “complete players” (literally over 100 years ago), you become even more convicted. Pitchers specialized as purely pitchers back in the first decade of the 1900s, and we’ve been pretending that they should also be expected to hit – while simultaneously totally not expecting them to do anything at all at the plate – ever since. That’s just stupid. Accept the reality: the game of baseball evolves, and pitchers haven’t really been hitters for decades. If we really cared about pitchers as hitters, we’d expect them to be better at it. We’d expect to seem them practicing it as much as the positional guys. But we don’t expect that, because pitching is hard. That’s what they do. That’s their focus. And then we say, oh, by the way, go take a couple hacks at the plate against Clayton effing Kershaw. That’s not a desire for strategy – it’s the slavish attachment to “tradition” … a tradition that has had pitchers as automatic outs for 100 years. That’s not a “tradition” I have any interest in upholding.
  • I’m pretty sure Bill McClellan is brutally trolling Cardinals fans in their own paper just days after they were bounced from the NLCS.
  • MLB is increasingly incorporating its new StatCast technology (FanGraphs), and it’s likely to be all over the place next year. There are already quite a few videos to watch. As we’ve discussed before, this isn’t just about fun videos – if the data produced by technology behind Statcast is made available to the public for analytical work, we’re going to see a fundamental shift in the way we value players’ defense and baserunning (among other things). Our efforts in those areas are likely to become MUCH more accurate, which would be incredibly useful.
  • So far, the pitch clock in the Arizona Fall League – implemented only for games at Salt River Fields – hasn’t bothered pitchers ( That’s pretty key, given that if it were causing huge problems for them, there would be zero chance it gets put into play in the big leagues in 2015. Tentatively, I’m expecting all of the other pace of play changes to come to MLB for 2015, with the pitch clock discussed in the next CBA (post-2016).

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.