Which NL Central Teams Benefit Most from the DH? Old Friend Tony Campana, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Which NL Central Teams Benefit Most from the DH? Old Friend Tony Campana, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I’m through the first two seasons of ‘Ozark,’ which has managed to be juuuuust good enough to keep me watching, but not close to good enough for me to earnestly recommend to folks. Watch it, don’t watch it, I have nothing for you at the moment. I’ve heard season three is really good, though, so I guess I’ll find out soon.

•   As I think about which teams would be most benefitted by the addition of a DH this year, it’s reflexive among Cubs fans to point to the ability to give Kyle Schwarber less time in left and more time at DH, but I’m not actually sure that’s the biggest performance leap in the NL Central. For one thing, Schwarber is not quite as bad in left as the tales make him out to be, and for another thing, if you’re DH’ing Schwarber, someone else still has to play left (and it’s not like it’s a sure thing that, for example, Steven Souza Jr. will have a great bat this year). For another thing, I’m not even sure Schwarber is the guy you DH frequently when you could instead opt to carry three catchers and let Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini both get in the lineup regularly. With an expanded roster likely, that’s the way I’d go anyway. 

•   But setting the Cubs considerations aside, I feel like I can see two teams in the Central that would be even happier about a DH: the Brewers and the Reds. For the Brewers, it means the ability to keep Ryan Braun’s still-well-above-average bat in the lineup every day without him torching you in the field/you having to displace someone else. For the Reds, it means the ability to get more of your glut of outfield bats into the lineup every day (and if that also means less Nick Castellanos on defense – with apologies to Nick – I’m sure they’d be happy about that, too).

•   The Reds also had the worst hitting pitchers in the division last year, worth almost a win less than the other four teams (which is pretty crazy when you think about it: the Reds, on paper, won about one fewer game last year because their pitchers, on the whole, were so much worse hitting than the other teams’ pitchers).

•   That is all to say, if there’s a season this year, and if it includes a universal DH as expected, I don’t think the Cubs necessarily stand to benefit more than their NL Central rivals. Well, at least those two. The Cardinals look to be in a similar boat as the Cubs (nice to have a DH, but not necessarily a transformative thing for them in particular), and the Pirates are aiming to win about 25 games (even if the season had been 162). 

•   Michael reminded me yesterday of this exceedingly fun play from former Cubs speedster Tony Campana:

•   Campana, who turns 34 this month, was with the Cubs for just two seasons, and they were among the worst of the last decade (2011 and 2012). He couldn’t hit (.262/.306/.300, 64 wRC+) with the Cubs, but in part-time duty over those two years, he still was worth 2.1 WAR thanks to his absurd baserunning and excellent defense. And by god, he was a 5’7″ish guy who’d beat cancer as a kid, was drafted in the 13th round out of Cincinnati, and then made the big leagues in under three years. I know people had their fun, but it was easy to root for him – and it was really enjoyable to watch him fly. 

•   Campana had just one home run in his big league career, in his first season with the Cubs, and it looked exactly like you’d imagine a Tony Campana home run to look:

•   Also? He’s still been grinding away. After the Cubs traded him to the Diamondbacks before the 2013 season, Campana spent the next few years splitting time between the DBacks, AAA DBacks, Angels, AAA Angels, rehabbing a torn ACL, AAA Nationals, and AAA White Sox. After that, he played indy ball, and then in Mexico, where he hit .319/.362/.430 just last season. He stole 29 bases, too. Naturally.

•   (If the MLB Draft were just 5 or 10 rounds back then, does a guy like Campana even reach professional baseball, let alone the big leagues?)

•   Throw in his postseason efforts and I co-sign:

•   That’ll require a deeper dive sometime, because I don’t know if I’m actually serious or just having some fun.

•   Old friend Dan Straily is crushing it as a new friend in the KBO, pitching for the Lotte Giants:

•   I will miss the entertainment of watching ‘The Last Dance’ when it’s over, but I will also miss the fresh meming content that it provides every week:

•   I just found this “style” section at Amazon with sneakers … and yeah, there are a lot of pretty darn stylish looking sneakers. I have never been huge on that, but maybe it’s the constant mention of Jordans because of the doc. I am liking looking at fancy sneakers at the moment.

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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.