2014 Positional Power Rankings: Designated Hitter

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position. The author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

Also, keep in mind that these lists are based on rosters as of last week, so weekend transactions are not reflected in the rosters below. In some cases, teams have allocated playing time to different reserves than these depth charts show, but because they’re almost always choosing between near-replacement level players, the differences won’t move the needle much if at all.

And now, for the last crop of position players. Or position-less players, I guess.


Given the various uncertainties of projections, there is not much practical separation between the number seven team and the number 13 team on this list. One could even say there is not practical separation between the number five team and the number 15 team. Superstar DHs (in terms of actual value, rather than perception and marketability) are a rarity. It is not impossible for DHs to reach that level. David Ortiz (more on him in a bit) had a couple of superstar seasons years ago, and hitters like Frank Thomas and Edgar Martinez made careers as superstar DHs.

Some have argued this is because teams are not utilizing their DH spots properly. While that may be true to an extent, it seems a bit too simplistic. Finding a player who is worth two wins above average (which would make him a roughly average player as a DH) just on offense is hard enough, and finding one on the free agent market who is willing to not play the field (even if he should) is even more difficult. Moreover, even teams who have money often have older players signed to long-term deals who are no longer really able to play the field every day, and thus need some of the time at DH. This makes it impractical to commit to one player at DH. It is an advantage when teams are able to do so, but it is easier said than done.

#1 Red Sox

David Ortiz 560 .290 .380 .529 .383 25.5 -3.2 0.0 2.9
Jonny Gomes 105 .241 .337 .419 .333 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.2
Mike Carp 35 .259 .322 .440 .333 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .281 .371 .508 .372 26.4 -3.3 0.0 3.1

David Ortiz may not tower over his (non-)positional peers as Mike Trout does over center fielders, but he is clearly the best designated hitter in baseball. Part of that is that other teams simply do not use a full-time DH, but Ortiz is clearly still a very good hitter. Indeed, even a .383 wOBA might seem like a stingy projection given that Ortiz has averaged .409 over the last three years, fourth-best in baseball. None of those seasons is particularly BABIP-heavy, his power is still excellent, and perhaps most impressively given his age, his ability to make contact is better than ever. Age is the main concern with Ortiz, and he did manage only 383 plate appearances in 2012 due to injury. Things have to end some time, but after the past few seasons there is little reason to think Ortiz is due for a sudden crash. He has a platoon split, but pretty much everyone does, so he is not a candidate for being platooned. Gomes and Carp will get some playing time, and nobody is a sure thing, but for a big (if not as big as in the old days) guy in his late thirties, David Ortiz is about as sure as they come.

#2 Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion 315 .272 .362 .510 .375 13.2 0.0 0.0 1.7
Adam Lind 280 .264 .325 .458 .339 3.8 -0.6 0.0 0.6
Melky Cabrera 35 .288 .331 .432 .332 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1
Dioner Navarro 35 .259 .321 .411 .320 0.0 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Erik Kratz 35 .234 .295 .415 .308 -0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .267 .340 .475 .353 16.9 -0.8 0.0 2.3

The top of the Blue Jays’ DH depth chart is strikingly similar to the one for first base, where Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind are also heavily featured. Neither players is sterling at first base, but despite Lind’s resurgence and Encarnacion’s injury (both in 2013), Encarnacion is pretty clearly the superior hitter. If one considers Encarnacion as the primary DH, then the Blue Jays are in great shape here, assuming he can come back from his injury in something like his previous form. If one considers Lind as the main man, the Blue Jays are only okay. What they really need with Lind, wherever he spends most of his time, is a platoon mate, as his split is truly problematic.

#3 Royals

Billy Butler 630 .290 .366 .453 .355 16.5 -2.8 0.0 2.0
Alex Gordon 35 .271 .343 .435 .340 0.5 0.1 0.0 0.1
Justin Maxwell 35 .227 .303 .398 .309 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .286 .362 .449 .352 16.7 -2.7 0.0 2.1

If there is any player in the league other than Ortiz that is a truly competent and truly full-time DH, it is Billy Butler. Butler is not in Ortiz’ class as a hitter, and, at 28, it is very unlikely he ever will be. In 2012 Butler seemed to finally come into his own from a power perspective, with 29 bombs, but he then turned around and hit just 15 in 2013. However, Butler’s critics tend to focus on what he does not do at the expense at what he does do. He makes contact, takes walks, and gets on base. He is not a monster power hitter, but decent power is still in there. His projected wOBA of .355 may not recall vintage Edgar Martinez or Frank Thomas, but looking down this list, it favorably compares to other DHs, and is enough to make him a two-win player despite his lack of value in the field or the bases. Butler also has an excellent track record when it comes to health, an underrated aspect of his value.

#4 Tigers

Victor Martinez 490 .290 .344 .426 .334 4.6 -2.2 0.0 0.7
Don Kelly   119 .244 .312 .363 .301 -2.0 0.0 0.0 -0.1
Miguel Cabrera 91 .321 .409 .584 .420 6.9 -0.2 0.0 0.8
Total 700 .286 .347 .435 .339 9.6 -2.3 0.0 1.4

Here is the cliff, the drop-off point at which teams do not really have anyone slated to be their primary DH who can hit well enough to be an average (roughly two wins over a full season) player while doing so. Victor Martinez managed it in 2011, but he missed all of 2012 due to injury. His power was down when he came back in 2013, but it was already slipping in 2011. Martinez still does an excellent job making contact, and combined with an average walk rate still contributes on offense. He does not project as a sub-replacement player by any means, and Billy Butler shows than one can be a decent DH without incredible power. Martinez, even if he plays a full season, simply does not do enough (other than avoid strikeouts) well enough to be much more than an above-replacement DH. That clearly has value, but the Tigers’ position on this list has far more to do with other teams’ lack of decent personnel to man their DH slot than Martinez’ intrinsic value.

#5 Astros

Chris Carter 455 .227 .320 .454 .338 7.3 -0.7 0.0 1.1
Jesus Guzman 105 .251 .319 .409 .320 0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Jason Castro   70 .250 .331 .416 .328 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.1
Japhet Amador 35 .250 .301 .411 .312 -0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jon Singleton 35 .230 .321 .384 .313 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .235 .320 .438 .332 7.8 -0.8 0.0 1.4

Case in point: the rebuilding Astros’ Chris Carter-led mishmash at DH projects to have about as much value as the Tigers’ Martinez-heavy group. Carter is the anti-Martinez at the plate. Martinez is all about contact and batting average and not much power, while Carter takes tons of strikeouts, has a very low average, but makes up for it with excellent power enough walks to make his on-base percentage (and overall production) palatable. Carter is no great shakes a hitter overall, but given what nominally contending teams are paying for roughly equal or inferior production from veterans, the Astros are doing pretty well for themselves. It would not be totally shocking if the Astros traded Carter (who turned 28 during the off-season, so there is not really upside here), in which case the Astros could have a pretty hilarious DH situation.

#6 Orioles

Nelson Cruz 490 .256 .314 .465 .338 5.7 -0.9 0.0 0.9
Henry Urrutia 175 .286 .325 .415 .325 0.2 -0.2 0.0 0.2
Chris Davis 35 .267 .340 .536 .373 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.2
Total 700 .264 .318 .456 .336 7.3 -1.1 0.0 1.3

Nelson Cruz loomed as a pretty big off-season free agent landmine, but when he finally signed with Baltimore, his deal was pretty safe: one year and $8 million. Even with the draft pick, that is pretty safe for a team in the Orioles’ position. Sure, you do not want to see him in the field regularly. His walk rate is average at best, and his contact abilities are clearly below average. There are the injury and PED worries. He is in his mid-thirties. He will not be in Texas any more. But he hits home runs, and it is not as if Camden Yards is Safeco Field when it comes to power. Sure, the Astros are paying Chris Carter a fraction of what the Orioles are paying Cruz for roughly the same projected production, but Carter wasn’t available, was he? If the Orioles are going to make another run at this, they do not want to be wishing on a big year from Henry Urrutia.

#7 Indians

Carlos Santana 231 .254 .367 .444 .355 7.5 -0.6 0.0 0.9
Nick Swisher 133 .248 .342 .419 .336 2.3 -0.3 0.0 0.3
Ryan Raburn   140 .237 .300 .413 .312 -0.1 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Jeff Francoeur 112 .237 .281 .375 .285 -2.6 -0.2 0.0 -0.2
Jason Giambi   84 .214 .311 .369 .303 -0.7 -0.4 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .242 .328 .412 .325 6.3 -1.5 0.0 1.1

You know it may not be Cleveland’s year when an injury to Zombie Jason Giambi throws off their projected DH rotation. Okay, that is not really fair. The team is probably just counting on Giambi for a few DH appearances, a little pinch-hitting, and a whole lot of clubhouse leadership. This picture at this position is muddled for Cleveland because of the ambiguities of Carlos Santana’s role. If he were a full-time DH, Cleveland would rank second or third on this list. However, for some strange reason the team seems intent on winning games rather than doing well in these power rankings. Where are their priorities? Perhaps the team would be better off simply would be better off playing Santana at DH full-time rather than shuffling him between first, third, and catcher as well, but those spots also need to be filled. Still, among teams that appear to plan on shuttling various position players through DH, Cleveland does relatively well, as Santana, Nick Swisher and (against lefties) Ryan Raburn are all credible options.

#8 Athletics

John Jaso 385 .250 .357 .375 .330 4.5 -0.4 0.0 0.8
Coco Crisp 70 .262 .328 .414 .326 0.6 0.4 0.0 0.2
Nate Freiman 70 .246 .302 .386 .303 -0.6 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Alberto Callaspo 70 .260 .335 .367 .312 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Yoenis Cespedes 70 .261 .320 .456 .337 1.2 0.0 0.0 0.2
Stephen Vogt 35 .249 .299 .378 .297 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .253 .340 .388 .324 5.0 -0.3 0.0 1.1

Oakland also does relatively well for a team that is mostly shuttling different position players through the DH spot. In the As’ case, it probably has to do with their relatively deep group of position players. John Jaso, like Santana, is not much behind the plate. Despite a lack of power and a horrible 2011 performance with the Rays, Jaso still has the plate discipline to be productive at the plate. A .330 wOBA may not be what one envisions from a DH, but given trends in league run environment and the As’ park, it is not bad, comparatively. Jaso will not DH every day, but, as with Cleveland, Oakland’s other options are not bad, either, especially if they continue to platoon as efficiently as they have the last couple of seasons.

#9 Rays

Matt Joyce   420 .245 .337 .429 .336 7.8 0.2 0.0 1.2
Logan Forsythe 140 .233 .316 .351 .298 -1.5 0.2 0.0 0.0
Wilson Betemit 140 .234 .298 .371 .295 -1.9 -0.3 0.0 -0.1
Total 700 .240 .325 .401 .320 4.5 0.2 0.0 1.1

Matt Joyce is not a terrible choice at DH, particularly given the Rays’ lack of monetary resources. He is okay in the outfield, but with the emergence of Wil Myers and other decisions, the Rays have (at least for now) plenty of outfielders, and Joyce has enough value that he could be just set aside. And again, look at the other primary DHs on this list — Joyce is hardly terrible in comparison. Joyce seems to simply be a low batting average hitter. It is not as if his strikeout rate is especially poor, and he walks at a decent rate. His BABIP has simply always been low, and after more than 2000 major-league plate appearances, it is probabl more than just random variation. The Rays are probably hoping someone like Logan Forsythe will be a productive platoon partner for the left-handed-hitting Joyce. If so, Joyce’s rate of production probably will not be much higher than it already is, as he has already been pretty heavily platooned.

#10 Yankees

Alfonso Soriano 385 .240 .292 .454 .322 -0.1 -1.0 0.0 0.2
Carlos Beltran 245 .274 .336 .481 .352 5.6 -0.5 0.0 0.8
Ichiro Suzuki 35 .278 .308 .373 .297 -0.7 0.1 0.0 0.0
Brian McCann 35 .259 .339 .460 .346 0.6 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .254 .311 .459 .333 5.4 -1.6 0.0 1.0

The Yankees are yet another team who will probably shuffle a number of pretty good position players through the DH spot, even if Soriano seems to be the primary DH going into the season. Soriano basically just hits home runs at this point in his career, but he is remarkable consistent in doing even as every other peripheral declines. Projection systems look at those peripherals and see a looming decline, but if Soriano has not been anything like a star since at least 2008, his bat is still useful. As a full-time DH rather than left fielder, the overall not thrilling, even if one thinks the projections are unfair to him. Still, he will also probably see some time in the outfield, giving better hitters like Beltran and McCann a chance to rest their legs a bit while contributing on offense. It is not a bad setup for the Yankees, given the personnel on hand.

#11 Rangers

Mitch Moreland   420 .254 .317 .442 .329 0.6 -0.5 0.0 0.4
Prince Fielder 105 .283 .384 .502 .381 4.4 -0.5 0.0 0.5
Geovany Soto   35 .225 .307 .399 .312 -0.4 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Adrian Beltre 35 .296 .343 .498 .361 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.1
Michael Choice 35 .268 .334 .412 .329 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
J.P. Arencibia 70 .223 .269 .419 .299 -1.6 -0.1 0.0 -0.1
Total 700 .256 .324 .448 .335 4.0 -1.3 0.0 0.9

Ah, the clubhouse politics of the paycheck. Most observers would probably agree that, objectively, if you have both first base and DH open, and the two players set to fill those spots are Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder, the best on-field arrangement would probably be Moreland at first and Fielder at DH on most days. Even if Fielder were to see something of a drop off due to hitting off of the bench, it would probably not not be enough to balance the fielding difference. That is an ideal world, not the real world. The difference is not likely to make or break the team in any case. The point is not that Moreland would suddenly be super-valuable as a first baseman rather than a DH — he wouldn’t be. It is simply interesting in simply looking at these rankings in isolation might skew perceptions a bit. If the Rangers could find a platoon partner for Moreland, that could make a difference. Probably not a one win difference, but in matters like these, a few runs is a pretty big difference. Michael Choice might be the guy for that job in the short term sicne the starting outfield spots are all taken at the moment.

#12 Mariners

Logan Morrison 385 .245 .331 .413 .326 2.3 -0.3 0.0 0.5
Corey Hart   140 .254 .315 .438 .328 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.2
Justin Smoak 70 .236 .325 .406 .323 0.3 -0.3 0.0 0.1
Nick Franklin 105 .246 .318 .391 .313 -0.5 0.1 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .246 .325 .414 .324 3.1 -0.5 0.0 0.9

The hope here was probably for Logan Morrison to finally shake off the injury bug and remember how to hit home runs again now that he is out of the Marlins’ home run-killing park, but Corey Hart’s lingering health concerns means that he may spend more time at DH than the Mariners planned, so it isn’t clear how both Hart and Morrison will get regular at-bats on this roster. Positively, Morrison is only 26 and has always had good walk rates and decent strikeout rates. Negatively, 26 is not all that young for a hitter these days and his BABIP has been consistently low over more than 1400 major league plate appearances. And then there’s those pesky injuries. The Mariners are probably hoping for enough decent health and performance to at least get a platoon out of Morrison and Hart at DH while Justin Smoak is adequate at first (this would be a feat in itself). Maybe two of the players will emerge to give them a decent first base and DH set. Morrison has been discussed. Hart has a decent record with the Brewers, and has not played since 2012, and is in this thirties. His main offensive weapon was power, something Safeco will not help. Justin Smoak had a 109 wRC+ last year, not bad in Safeco, but as a first base/DH type it is not amazing, which is sort of sad considering it was his best season to date. This seems to be a case of the team having “if everything goes just right” as their plan.

#13 Angels

Raul Ibanez 455 .236 .296 .424 .313 0.0 -1.4 0.0 0.2
Josh Hamilton 70 .257 .318 .447 .329 0.9 0.1 0.0 0.2
Albert Pujols 105 .278 .348 .494 .357 3.6 -0.2 0.0 0.5
Chris Iannetta 35 .217 .337 .361 .315 0.0 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Hank Conger 35 .243 .303 .380 .301 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .244 .308 .431 .321 4.2 -1.7 0.0 0.9

If there is a team that needs to use their DH spot as a place to give their highly-paid veterans a place to “rest” every once in a while, it is the Angels. Still, Raul Ibanez projects to get most of the plate appearances here. And if Ibanez’ projection does not exactly scream “get this bat in the lineup,” who are we to dismiss him? In 2011, he finally seemed to hit the wall many expected him to hit years before, but in 2012 and 2013 he remade himself into something of a left-handed version of Soriano — home runs and not much else. That is overly simplistic (Ibanez actually has history of a decent plate approach, though his strikeouts spiked alarmingly in 2013), but Ibanez, despite on-base percentage just north of .300, has managed to have above-average offense value each of the last two seasons. This is not to simply dismiss the value of the projections, simply to note with wonder how Ibanez is still plugging away with some sort of usefulness. Maybe the Angels could have done better, and a platoon partner for Ibanez might help, but at just under $3 million, Ibanez is okay as a stopgap. It would not be totally shocking if he outhit Josh Hamilton in 2014 (as happened in 2013), but at this rate, that may not necessarily mean Ibanez had a good year.

This would not necessarily mean disaster for the Angels, though, as Mike Trout might always put up a 20-win season en route to his third straight second place finish in the AL MVP voting.

#14 Twins

Jason Kubel 280 .232 .306 .391 .304 -3.1 -0.8 0.0 -0.2
Chris Colabello 140 .250 .314 .420 .323 0.4 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Joe Mauer 112 .296 .383 .426 .354 3.1 -0.1 0.0 0.4
Josh Willingham 77 .232 .341 .427 .339 1.2 -0.2 0.0 0.2
Chris Herrmann 56 .221 .288 .317 .272 -2.0 0.0 0.0 -0.2
Chris Parmelee 35 .243 .318 .380 .309 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .245 .323 .400 .317 -0.7 -1.3 0.0 0.4

It’s ugly, but at least the Twins are not putting out a bunch of extra money at this position in a rebuilding year. Kubel is on a minor-league deal that is worth only $2 million if he is in the majors, and Colabello, recently of the independent leagues, is making the minimum. Hey, Joe Mauer can only be in one lineup spot per game. Kubel is probably better than he showed during his disastrous 2013, but he was so bad (and is so terrible in the field, too), that it is still fair to ask whether he is ever worth $2 million in the majors. Calabello would be a fun story, but right now he’s far better as a story than hitter.

#15 White Sox

Adam Dunn 350 .207 .318 .420 .324 0.0 -1.3 0.0 0.2
Paul Konerko 280 .261 .333 .408 .326 0.4 -1.9 0.0 0.1
Dayan Viciedo 35 .262 .311 .432 .324 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Conor Gillaspie 35 .251 .314 .386 .308 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .234 .323 .414 .324 -0.1 -3.3 0.0 0.3

If you thought it could not get worse than the Twins at the DH spot, you have the White Sox, who primarily feature a couple of guys who not only are roughly average with the bat (replacement level for a DH), but are both very old and in Dunn’s case, highly paid. Dunn’s deal notoriously went south faster than just about everyone could imagine, and I suppose giving Konerko one last (relatively) inexpensive farewell tour will not kill the team. Jose Abreu is the plan at first base, so Konerko and Dunn have to play somewhere. Practically speaking, the Twins and White Sox are projected to be in pretty much the same boat. The White Sox are paying far more money for roughly replacement level production from the DH slot, though.

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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.

73 Responses to “2014 Positional Power Rankings: Designated Hitter”

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  1. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    The Second Annual
    Part One: Hitters

    The Top Sixteen
    16. Norichika Aoki
    15. Ehire Enrique Adrianza
    14. Irving Falu
    13. Yoenis Cespedes Milanes
    12. J.B. “Tuffy” Gosewisch
    11. Adeiny Hechavarria Barrera
    10. Darin Cortland Ruf
    9. Munenori Kawasaki
    8. Yasmani Grandal
    7. Yonder Alonso
    6. Yasiel Puig Valdes
    5. Xander Jan Bogaerts
    4. Japhet Isidro Amador
    3. Cheslor Jesly Cuthbert
    2. Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton
    1. Jurickson Barthelomeus Profar

    Special Awards and Accolades
    Name Most Unfortunately Similar to a Nazi Thing: Max Stassi
    Most Effeminate Hypothetical Combination of the Names of Two Catchers: Tuffy Flowers
    Most Likely to Play for the Hiroshima Carp: Mike Carp
    Blandest Team Infield: St. Louis Cardinals (Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Mark Ellis, Jhonny Peralta, and admittedly excellent Kolten Wong)
    Name That Sounds Like a Horribly Insulting Nickname: Jedd Gyorko
    Name Everybody Else Loves Because of the Irony But Always Makes Me Feel Kinda Meh and I Guess I Should Apologize but Nah: Angel Pagan
    Lyingest Initialism: Jerome O’Bryan “L.J.” Hoes
    Name That, If You Moved One Letter from the First Name to the Last Name, Would Obviously Be the Best Name in Baseball: Ryan Goins – Yan Groins

    +78 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • pudieron89 says:

      Not sure how proud Jewish baseball player Max Stassi enjoys your labeling him “similar to a Nazi”, or why this belongs on FanGraphs in the first place.

      -27 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bip says:

      Has anyone actually offered to publish this on Notgraphs? This deserves an official fangraphs URL as much as any of that drivel.


      +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • tz says:

      With Profar injured, maybe just slide his potential replacement straight into the #1 slot:

      Rougned Roberto Odor.

      +25 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • KCDaveInLA says:

      It’s probably Lil’ Jerome Hoes.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • O's Fan says:

      Jonathan Rufino Jezus Schoop would like a word with you.

      And yes, it’s with a “z”.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        This was down to a flaw in my methodology – I sorted out my top 20ish names and only then began looking up middle names. I suggest he refer to himself as Jezus Schoop in the future!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Salt N Pepa says:

        Schoop, Schoop-ay-doop-ay-doop-ay Schoop!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • kardo says:

        The Dutch Antillean players have some great names

        Rogearvin Argelo Bernadina
        Kenley Geronimo Jansen
        Jonathan Rufino Jezus Schoop
        Sharlon Romans Emederio Schoop
        Pedro Angel Stroop (which means syrup)
        Andrelton A Simmons (I cannot for the world find out what the second A stands for)
        Xander Jan Bogaerts
        Jair Francoise Jurrjens
        Jurickson Barthelomeus Profar

        and as a bonus the mainland Dutchy
        Mariekson Julius “Didi” Gregorius

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Los says:

      I think you need an eclectic mix name too: Travis Ishikawa!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jamie says:

      Seriously, no Angel Pagan. Maybe it is too obvious, but he clearly beats out at least a few on that list. Otherwise, I love the cool names power rankings.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • skmd says:

      no cool names list is complete without Rock Shoulders and Coco Crisp, I demand a recount.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • matt w says:

      Where is Kole Calhoun? I suppose his middle name, “Alan,” really drags him down.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason B says:

        He is in the “also receiving votes” of the top 25. He is the Manhattan Jaspers of cool names list; worth a vote or two, but not a threat to crack the top 20-25 anytime soon.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bombers Fan says:

      Might I give honorable mention to three names in camp for the Yankees?

      Zealous Wheeler
      Yangervis Solarte
      Zoilo Almonte

      Maybe these guys have to have played in the bigs, in which case only Zoilo qualifies, but I’m mildly surprised that none of these, though really just the first, cracked your list.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Hobbes says:

      There is a man currently playing in the Cuban League named Yoariselvis Panama Castro. I really hope he defects, because his name tool is through the roof.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • YABooble says:

        In any name score that Fangraphs would develop, +1 for being named “Elvis” and +3 for having “-elvis” as a subcomponent of your name.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Spit Ball says:

    No Billy Butler probably will never become David Ortiz. Weird thought though; David Ortiz was only 6 months younger on opening day 2003 than Billy Butler will be on opening day 2014.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • carl says:

      Yeah, even David Ortiz didn’t become David Ortiz until he was 28. I wouldn’t rule out Butler because of his age; and he’s been better than Ortiz was up til now.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jruby says:

      Weird thought though; Raul Ibanez was only 6 months younger on opening day 1982 than Billy Butler will be on opening day 2023.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Jeff Webber says:

    Ibanez isn’t exciting, but he’s going to produce a sizable chink of the all power, nothing else output Trumbo would have for a fraction of the price. Add in Skaggs and Santiago and that deal was just criminal.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • DubbCity says:

      Are you referring to the current HR and RBI leader Mark Trumbo ?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Steve Holt!! says:

        Tied with Scott van Slyke??

        Interestingly, I was at the games and van Slyke hit is double to left field one helluva lot harder than Trumbo hit his homer to left field. The wind was blowing in the opposite direction for Trumbo. If van Slyke had hit his double to left the same day that Trumbo hit his, it would still be travelling.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Boris Chinchilla says:

      “a sizable chink of the all power, nothing else output Trumbo would have for a fraction of the price”


      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • yuniform says:

        U and I are right next to each other on the keyboard, so get offended over typos.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Ian R. says:

          I don’t think the typo is the issue here. It’s more that the sentence he quoted is borderline incomprehensible. Let me take a shot at rewriting it:

          “For a fraction of the price, Ibanez will produce a sizable chunk of Trumbo’s all power, nothing else output.”

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Jason B says:

          That’s where quotes can really come in handy–

          …produce a sizable chunk of Trumbo’s “all power, nothing else” output. Instantly comprehensible!

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  4. Cool Lester Smooth says:

    You should probably give those spare DH at bats to Jeter, not Ichiro. I can’t imagine a scenario in which the Yankees put him an his 70 wRC+ at DH.

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    • Preston says:

      Agreed. Considering that they’re rumored to be willing to eat money to trade him, I doubt that they view him as a serious DH candidate.

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  5. isavage30 says:

    The WAR numbers for DH just seem … wrong. David Ortiz being in the lineup instead of Logan Morrison, I have a hard time believing that is only worth about 2 wins.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Their wOBA forecasts are .383 and .326 respectively, for a 57 point gap. You can translate wOBA into runs per plate appearance by dividing the difference by 1.28, so another way to state the difference would be that Ortiz creates an additional 0.044 runs per PA than Morrison does. Multiply that by 600 PAs, and you get 26.7 additional runs. Morrison eats into that gap even further by being a better baserunner, and then once you consider park factors, the 20 run/+2 WAR gap is entirely correct.

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      • kinda hard to call a forecast entirely correct. You’re just reiterating that Ortiz’s forecasted WAR is consistent with your model and the model’s many assumptions (why divide by 1.28? Why multiply both players by 600 PA? etc)

        For example, if a model of gravitational wave results with a particular kind of “inflation” suggests the exponential expansion of the dimensions of space in the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang, some 13.82 billion years ago, well, very few sane people would call the multiverse theory “entirely correct”, they’d just say their model makes that implication most likely.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          1.28 is the translation of wOBA to runs by linear weights. That is entirely correct.

          The playing time and outcomes of the projections can be argued. The translation of wOBA to runs can not.

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        • DNA+ says:


          Cistulli’s criticism of Dave is correct:

          isavage: The WAR seems wrong.

          Dave: These are the numbers that go into WAR, therefore the numbers are entirely correct.

          Rest of world: WTF?!

          Dave is defending the WAR projection by describing the projected components. That is what isavage had issue with!

          Also, the 1.28 figure is definitely NOT entirely correct. That is a model parameter that is estimated from past data. How well that will describe the coming season remains to be seen.

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    • Jamie says:

      2 WAR is the difference in being a replacement level scrub or an average starter, or that average starter and a star. A 2 WAR swing from one player to the next is pretty big. Throw in that DHs are a smaller part of the game than other players and yeah, the difference between Papi and Morrison is probably about 2 WAR.

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      • isavage30 says:

        Yeah, in that example, I think the thing that’s weird is Morrison’s (strangely) optimistic projection. Since he’s been a below-replacement-level scrub for the past 2 years. It is odd though that there’s such a small spread for DH, part of that is projections being projections, but it does seem to odd that pretty much across the board everyone’s at 1 WAR. Even the Tigers, with Victor Martinez and one of the best hitters in baseball getting most of the at bats, are only projected for about 1 WAR. Matt addressed this in the opening, but it makes me wonder about replacement-level offense in general. If Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera’s offensive contributions are only worth 1 WAR, a replacement-level hitter must be a pretty good hitter.

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        • Preston says:

          A replacement level DH is a pretty good hitter. Looking at these projections a replacement level DH batting line seems to be something like Raul Ibanez is going to put up (.313 wOBA). The Morrison projections maybe overly rosy. But it’s hard to project a guy who’s had so many injuries. 2011-12 he had 812 PAs and posted a .355 wOBA. Since then he’s posted a .310 wOBA, but it’s only been 667 PAs. Even though recent seasons are weighted more heavily, the majority of the sample size is from 2010-11 when he was actually good. So the projection puts him at a .326, if the sample size of him sucking had been for full seasons rather than partials, he’d probably be lower. But that .326 wOBA still comes out lower than his career number of .335. And seeing as he’s only 26 pegging him ten points lower than his career average is being pretty down on him.

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        • isavage30 says:

          Preston, but do Raul Ibanez’ really grow on trees like that? I mean, that’s my point, Raul Ibanez is a replacement level hitter … really? It has seemed to me like WAR hasn’t adjusted properly to the current offensive environment. The idea that Victor Martinez is slightly above replacement level and Ibanez is replacement level, just doesn’t seem right. Sabermetrics at its best does take things that SEEM true and turn them on their head, so maybe this is accurate. If so, teams like Detroit are wasting a lot of money to get 1 win when they could be paying some scrub league minimum to hit slightly worse than Martinez.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Preston says:

          Of players getting 200 or more PAs last season, 197 posted a wRC+ of .313 or better. Considering that guys in that range like Delmon Young and Juan Francisco, only got MiLB camp invites and aren’t likely to make a team this year, and another Brett Wallace isn’t expected to get playing time with the lowly Astros, I’d say that there are definitely some players like that floating around to be had. Everyone else in this range seems to carry some positional value or have significantly more upside. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=200&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=16%2cd

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        • Eric Feczko says:

          Logan Morrison’s optimistic projection is driven almost entirely by Steamer here, or more precisely, driven by the disagreement between steamer and ZIPS (I’m including non-DH time here as well, but I think the comparison still holds):

          Steamer: 6.0 batting, -0.3 BSR; 0.9 WAR
          ZIPS: -0.7 batting, -0.6 BSR; 0.3 WAR

          According to ZIPS, the difference between Ortiz and Morrsion is 2.8 WAR, according to steamer its 1.4 WAR:

          Steamer: 16.9 batting, -4.4 BSR; 2.3 WAR
          ZIPS: 25.0 batting, 0.0 BSR; 3.1 WAR

          My guess is that ZIPS weighs recent history more, whereas steamer relies more on career average/aging curve. I tend to prefer ZIPS to Steamer myself.

          In any case, I wouldn’t pooh-pooh a 2 WAR difference in players. In this case, Ortiz is nearly 2 wins more valuable than the average DH. In terms of W-L projections, that would take the Red Sox from an 88 win projected team to an 86 win projected team.

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  6. Max says:

    I was like ‘Oh hey, the Mariners are in the top half!!’

    and then….

    oh. right.


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    • Bip says:

      At least they don’t have negative WAR projected for DH. Then they perhaps could be said to have the dubious achievement of having a worse DH than all the NL teams.

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      • Westside guy says:

        Well, just like last year – given the number of DHs they put on the roster, you’d hope the Mariners should be able to find at least one semi-decent hitter somewhere in the pile.

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      • Dingbat says:

        Not when you compare it to pitcher hitting!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Joewho112 says:

    Do these projections take into account platoon advantage? While Konerko and Dunn pretty much suck, they have complementary platoon splits (last year: Dunn wRC+ 111 vs R, Konerko wRC+ 153 vs L [SSS warning but it was 127 in 2012]). Project those out and the Sox could be non-terrible, maybe

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  8. K says:

    No DH time for B Moss?

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  9. Nick says:

    24 HR in 494 AB

    David Ortiz against LEFTIES 2011-2013

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  10. diegosanchez says:

    There have been numerous articles this offseason about the Rays using a DH by committee. I would anticipate Joyce getting no more than half the DH AB’s with Dejesus, Jennings, Myers, and Forsythe somewhat evenly splitting the other half (with Longoria having 30 or so)

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  11. potcircle says:

    anybody else think barry bonds would still be no worse then the 4th best dh in the league?

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    • Preston says:

      I don’t know man. Here’s what I know, Bonds would still control the strike zone, I’m talking at least 12% walks, and he’d still hit mistakes out of the park, maybe a .200 ISO. The question would be how much of his once were elite contact skills he could maintain. He’s been out of the game six years. I think he’d probably strike out a ton now. So basically I’m saying he’d be Adam Dunn.

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    • walt526 says:

      So basically would Bonds still project to be at least a 1 win player as a DH?

      Possible, although six years is a long time. And in his last season or two with SFG, he was taking a game or two off every week, so I don’t know that you could really rely on him for more than 400 PA or so. I will say that if a comeback attempt, even if just half a season, might be worth the effort on his part if it can restart his HOF clock.

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  12. river-z says:

    Angels fans are hoping CJ Cron gets called up mid-season to supplement Ibanez at DH.

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  13. Preston says:

    I think the Soriano projection is a little low, the last four years he’s posted wRC+ of .352, .326, .350, and .340. So this season they project him to be at .322? I get that he just turned 38, has below average walk rates and contact rates. But the one thing he’s got, power, he’s pretty exceptional at (10th in MLB last year in ISO). Anecdotally I think being in Yankee stadium has really helped him too, as it allows him to have power to all fields. I don’t expect him to replicate the .252/.325/.525 line he put up as a Yankee last season. But I think it’s reasonable to think he’ll be better than .240/.292/.454.

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    • walt526 says:

      Those numbers that you’re citing are wOBA, not wRC+.

      But anyway, it does seem a little low, but PECOTA is actually a bit more pessimistic about Soriano than either Zips or Steamer.

      PECOTA’s 80th percentile is about .300/.465; it also estimates his chances of attrition at just above 20% (attrition is likelihood that he gets less than 50% of his expected PA). In other words, PECOTA projects him as about likely to be out of the lineup as it does to hitter better than .300/.465, FWIW.

      Very few one dimensional players continue to be valuable everyday players into their late 30s. And the dropoff from solid contributor to rapidly decaying carcass can happen very, very quickly.

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        But ZiPS’ projection of a .336 wOBA and 109 wRC+ seems a lot more likely than steamers .309/90 projection, which is predicated on his BABiP dropping another 20 points from its below-usual number last year, along with a .050 drop in ISO as he plays a full year in YSIII and the AL East.

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  14. snack man says:

    I’m happy to see the Twins crack the top 20 at two positions.

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  15. Ira says:

    No way in hell JP Arencebia gets 70 PA’s at DH for the Rangers. Wash never lets his catchers DH on off days. if the backup plays, the catcher either sits or plays first. Plus Arencebia hits like my grandma (who’s dead). no reason to DH him unless 11 other guys get hurt first.

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  16. Big Daddy V says:

    If Don Kelly gets over 100 PA at DH, I’ll eat my hat. That projection is just completely baffling to me.

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  17. Erik says:

    Re the Angels – I expect Grant Green to see SIGNIFICANT DH at bats this year. Probably second most on this team. He is the 10th man on this team right now, so he’s getting the at bats for just about every infielder & DH taking a day off.

    I’d also expect Kendrick and Freese to see more DH at bats than either catcher.

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