Baltimore Orioles: Could Universal DH Help the O’s in 2020?
The latest proposal from the MLB to the Players’ Association is to have a universal DH in the 2020 short season. While this doesn’t affect the Baltimore Orioles hitters, it could help their pitchers when facing NL teams.
Along with the universal DH, the short season offers a few other possible changes that Baltimore Orioles fans might or might not like as a result of the COVID-19 season.
Fans of both leagues have been arguing since 1973 whether or not to remove the DH from the AL or to add it to NL. Considering that it took almost 70 years to actually add the permanent pitch hitter to the AL, it’s impressive that the MLB gets to test out the universal version only 47 years after the AL version was introduced.
Yup, baseball doesn’t take change lightly. And, that’s ok.
The universal DH will happen because the idea with the 2020 season is to abolish the NL and AL for the time being. Instead, there will just be baseball, with a handful of geographically organized teams. And, since pitchers will be completely out of their routines, asking them to hit would put added strain on bodies that are already pushed to mind-boggling limits.
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So, this takes pitchers hitting out of the equation and equalizes all teams. NL teams will get to show off their batters, and AL teams won’t have to watch their pitchers look silly as the stand awkwardly at the plate resigned to lucky bunts or probably strikeouts.
In the East League, which will include NL teams like the Braves, Nationals, and Phillies, this means that teams will get to add extra batters to their daily rosters. Those teams are already dangerous with eight hitters on their roster.
The Braves have a thoroughly impressive young outfield, so they could put someone like Nick Markakis as their regular DH and let the young guys run around the outfield. The same goes for the 2020 Phillies, who have several “older” players like Jay Bruce and Andrew McCutchen who can swing a bat. McCutchen is currently recovering from knee surgery, and is expected to return in July (right around the proposed opening of the 2020 season) – a DH spot is a great way to get someone like him back into the game.
Adding the DH probably won’t affect the Orioles very much, but it could make the 2020 season a bit more challenging when the team faces the typical NL teams. Having the pitcher bat gives the opposing team an easy out. That easy out will no longer exist.