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  1. The Orioles are not giving Wilson Betemit 500+ PAs by any means. They’re going to use his .370 wOBA vs RHPs from last year while also using the spot as a way of giving guys like Reimold, Davis, etc. a semi-break.

    Comment by Luis Matos — March 20, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  2. “Smith, 30, is more weathered, but altogether this DH/OF trio is young, exciting, and better positioned than, though mathematically inferior to, more than one of the teams ranked above of them.”

    What does this even mean?

    Comment by Forrest Gumption — March 20, 2013 @ 9:33 am

  3. Which of these teams will Matt Adams out-DH this year?

    Comment by Uncle Randy — March 20, 2013 @ 9:35 am

  4. Carlos Santana projected at only about 457 AB across C, 1B and DH? Is this an actual projection or a FG play time allocation goof?

    Comment by Candy LaChance — March 20, 2013 @ 9:35 am

  5. Sorry, 457 plate appearances, no at bats. Seems odd to project that Balt will give more playing time to Betemit and Cle will to its best hitter.

    Comment by Candy LaChance — March 20, 2013 @ 9:46 am

  6. If Wilson Betamit gets 525 PA, I’ll eat every one of my Orioles hats… right after I tear up my Buck Fan Club membership card.

    Comment by KS — March 20, 2013 @ 9:48 am

  7. “his underwhelming 2013 bounce-back”

    You mean 2012? Maybe I misread, but this should be 2012 right?

    Comment by AJT — March 20, 2013 @ 9:55 am

  8. The only way Wilson Betemit gets 500 PAs is if the rest of the Orioles are abducted by aliens before May 1st and Boog isn’t willing to come in from the BBQ stand and DH. He’ll be platooning with someone likely Steve Pearce, maybe Danny Valencia or Conor Jackson. Even then he probably won’t get more than 2/3 of the ABs vs Righties.

    Comment by Freakshow — March 20, 2013 @ 9:56 am

  9. When the corpse of Travis Hafner is not in the bottom third of DHs, you know that the current DH crop is bad

    Comment by Jaack — March 20, 2013 @ 10:00 am

  10. It’s strangely worded, but it sounds like he’s saying ‘Smith is entering his 30’s, but that aside this trio (Smith, Reddick, Cespedes) is young and exciting. And while their WAR figure is lower than the teams above them their future is brighter than more than one of them.’

    Or at least that’s what I got out of it :)

    Comment by Ray — March 20, 2013 @ 10:05 am

  11. The average AL team will get 1.7 WAR from their DHs. This is not making a very compelling case to bring the DH to the National League.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — March 20, 2013 @ 10:06 am

  12. These rankings will be more interesting if and when Victor Martinez stops being the DH for the Detroit Tigers, whether that is this year due to injury or next year for contractual reasons, which will likely either move Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder to DH. Castellanos really is a wild card here since they’ll need to determine if he is playing 3B or LF long term. It is assumed Cabrera moves off 3B, but I’m afraid it won’t happen.

    Comment by Randy — March 20, 2013 @ 10:10 am

  13. Agreed, seems on the low end by at least 100 PA. Not sure those extra PA’s would fall at DH but a mix of extra C and 1B plate appearances seems more realistic given his history and other projected playing time figures on this site.

    Comment by Ray — March 20, 2013 @ 10:12 am

  14. Pathetic, I’d rather watch pitchers hit.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — March 20, 2013 @ 10:14 am

  15. On top of that, it tells me that the DH argument for AL superiority over the last decade is no longer a valid one–if it ever was. I’d imagine most NL teams could scrape together 1.7 WAR from bench parts, and given how little they have to use the DH I don’t think the AL advantage at that lineup spot is much of an advantage at all.

    Comment by Ray — March 20, 2013 @ 10:17 am

  16. Hey! The Mariners finally finish in the top 15 for a position! Take that, other teams! M’s rule!

    Comment by Bookbook — March 20, 2013 @ 10:17 am

  17. Is it safe to assume that the Marlins are 30th?

    Comment by Brian — March 20, 2013 @ 10:28 am

  18. Olt was optioned to the minors Tue.. Not that that affects the seasonlong DH possibility, but, could have been noted in the text

    Comment by Cidron — March 20, 2013 @ 10:29 am

  19. 2013 Cool Name Power Rankings: Designated Hitter
    1. Lance Berkman
    2. Kendrys Morales
    3. Albert Pujols
    4. Prince Fielder
    5. Mike Carp
    6. Andy Dirks
    7. Shelley Duncan
    8. Billy Butler
    9. Nate Freiman
    10. Wilson Betemit

    NOTES
    – Sorry I’m late. I overslept due to alcohol consumption.
    – I excluded Yoenis Cespedes from this category because I thought it would be ungentlemanly of Mr. Cespedes to be ranked #1 at two separate positions.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — March 20, 2013 @ 10:42 am

  20. Thankyou for the top ranking of big papi. He owes it all to his pharmacist who is always 2 steps ahead of mlb’s anti cheating committee.
    Now if he can cheat his way for a couple more years, 500 homeruns and the hof are not out of the question.

    Comment by big papi's pharmacist — March 20, 2013 @ 10:45 am

  21. Where is Ryan Theriot of the Giants?

    Comment by DJ Tofu — March 20, 2013 @ 10:55 am

  22. The difference in payrolls between AL and NL drives some of the talent disparity.

    Comment by Anon — March 20, 2013 @ 11:02 am

  23. Hi,

    I like your chart at the top of the article. I like it so much I think you should make one for each position and include each team’s logo in the circle along with the rank. This site is called fangraphs after all, so I suggest you make some more of those awesome graphs.

    Thank You Kindly for Reviewing My Suggestion,
    Evan

    Comment by Evan — March 20, 2013 @ 11:19 am

  24. Have you accepted Jesus (Montero) into your list? If Mark changes his name, as suggested by the author, to “Renyolds” where would he rank?

    By the by, in baseball we call hangovers “flu-like symptoms”.

    Comment by King of the Byelorussian Square Dancers — March 20, 2013 @ 11:32 am

  25. This genre is kind of boring, and I bore people for a living.

    Comment by King of the Byelorussian Square Dancers — March 20, 2013 @ 11:33 am

  26. Totally agree.

    This entry was one of the best presented and written, although one more polish might’ve avoided a few nits.

    Comment by GraphsFan — March 20, 2013 @ 11:36 am

  27. Not sure if there’s such a disparity anymore, with the free-wheelin’ Dodgers and the newly spendthrift (for them) Yankees.

    Comment by Jason B — March 20, 2013 @ 11:56 am

  28. So, since the current AL DH crop seems rather mediocre, you would rather watch abjectly worse hitters attempt to hit? Makes sense. Got it.

    Comment by Jason B — March 20, 2013 @ 11:57 am

  29. I can see why the simplicity (meant in this way like elegance or purity) of the 9 fielders and 9 hitters being the same players is appealing, but it doesn’t really add anything to the game. It doesn’t seem to do much of anything besides reserve a black hole in the lineup for 6 or 7 innings. An NL manager needs to make more substitutions, but these aren’t necessarily better or more strategic than the equivalent optional substitutions in the AL.

    Comment by David — March 20, 2013 @ 11:57 am

  30. Makes total sense! I had a hangnail so I cut my arm off at the shoulder. Took care of THAT little problem!

    Comment by Inexplicable overreaction guy — March 20, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  31. Could we have Positional Power Rankings for NL pitchers’ hitting? It’s not very important, but it is a bit important.

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — March 20, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  32. Because the oWAR for NL pitchers is so much better than 1.7???

    Comment by rbt — March 20, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  33. The Giants are way too low on this list. I think you guys hate the Giants.

    Comment by Grant Brisbee — March 20, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  34. Jeter will be the primary Yankee DH against LHP, not Boesch or Rivera/Johnson. Hafner will sit against all LHP and Jeter will move to DH to rest his ankle. That means more Nunez at SS. Ouch.

    Comment by Grover — March 20, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

  35. Fixed. Thanks.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — March 20, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  36. I went with number because I didn’t want to spoil the fun of scrolling down the page like mad until you found your team. I seriously considered going the logo route, though.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — March 20, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

  37. On his couch.

    Comment by Brian — March 20, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

  38. 457 plate appearances, no at bats?

    that’s a lot of walks.

    Comment by Steve — March 20, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  39. I know, it’s been a whole zero seasons since he had a 119 wRC+

    Comment by Steve — March 20, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

  40. And the DH drives some of the payroll disparity.

    So here we are in this quaint little moebias strip.

    Comment by Steve — March 20, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

  41. Tell me about it…

    Comment by Keith Olberman's Mom — March 20, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

  42. You’re right, but you won’t convince any pro-DH’ers. The fact that only one DH is worth much is irrelevant to them.

    Comment by Baltar — March 20, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

  43. The Mariners insane accumulation of DH-1B-LF “power hitters” this off-season resulting in this poor of an expectation from the DH’s again proves that no matter how high you pile crap, it’s still crap.

    Comment by Baltar — March 20, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

  44. Do it for a summary article for all positions? PLEASE? (I guess I could do it for funsies on my own)

    Comment by Evan — March 20, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

  45. Despite the jibes, with more inter-league games being played this year, it would be mildly worthwhile compiling the DH ratings for NL teams as well.

    Comment by Baltar — March 20, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

  46. Expert use of the word, “Voluptuous.”

    Comment by agdainoff — March 20, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  47. Are there actually more inter league games? Or are they just more dispersed? Maybe 3 more games per team?

    Comment by Keith Olberman's Mom — March 20, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  48. I think Butler deserves bonus points for “Country Breakfast”.

    Comment by rusty — March 20, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

  49. Yeah, let’s get rid of those 750-800 OPS dudes so we can watch some 500 OPS guys flail away. Makes total sense!

    Comment by Jason B — March 20, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

  50. If that’s the real Grant Brisbee, let me say that you excel at writing, and I am glad you cover baseball. I would read your coverage of Chinlone.

    Comment by GraphsFan — March 20, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

  51. Ugh, yes, pre-coffee typo bonanza in my posts.

    Comment by Candy LaChance — March 20, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

  52. Rumor is he’s been more concerned with his champagne side business during the offseason.
    Projection system probably took that into account in reducing his playing time.

    Comment by Timb — March 20, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

  53. Sad that the M’s spent so much of the winter, and possibly into last couple seasons, accumulating so many OF/DH, 1b/DH, C/DH, PH/DH types… and even among DHs in the AL they’re in the bottom third. Even the LOLstros rank signficantly higher.

    Sweet fancy Moses, do I ever miss Edgar.

    Comment by Chris from Bothell — March 20, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

  54. Excellent writing. Thank you.
    DH seems a little difficult to order, with all the playing time situations in flux. I am certain the Astros are too high. Carlos Pena looked completely finished last year. The Rays think James Loney is an improvement. Pena’s as likely as anyone in baseball to be a negative WARrior this year.
    I think the Indians and Mariners are both going to outperform their computer-projected ranking here. They’re largely unpopular players on these pages, but between Reynolds-Santana-Aviles-Giambi and Morales-Morse-Montero-Ibanez these teams seem likely to get better than bottom five production at DH.

    Comment by ben — March 20, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

  55. It does to me. The stupidity of having a gimmick at all is only tolerable if there is some massive gain to be had by doing it. The difference between having guys with .300 to .800 OPS vs guys with .700 to .850 OPS isn’t such a massive gain as to introduce a fundamentally silly idea as making each team play two half-players rather than one whole one.

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — March 20, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

  56. That would be only fair, since I plan to award Craig Stammen bonus points for his nickname, “Plant Sex.”

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — March 20, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

  57. “On pure hitting talent, I would take Lance Berkman over Billy Butler.”

    I found this odd. Billy Butler is in his prime, and while his prime isn’t as good as Berkman’s prime was there is no way Lance Berkman is a better hitter than Billy Butler today. There is also no way Lance Berkman is getting 490 PAs.

    Comment by Josh M — March 20, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

  58. Also, I think the DHs should get extra credit for being completely, absurdly terrible at their defensive positions (eg Big Papi, Luke Scott, does Travis Hafner even have a defacto defensive position?)

    Comment by Josh M — March 20, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

  59. you may not be aware of how bad at hitting pitchers are

    Comment by jim — March 20, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

  60. Big sloppy going to be that valuable with constant interleague play? Or am I overstating the affect that has? Also, if I used the wrong “effect/affect”, piss off.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — March 20, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

  61. Cabrera is actually more valuable at 3B than DH due to positional adjustment.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — March 20, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

  62. Ivan,

    The OPS of NL pitchers last year was .330 in 5594 PA

    The OPS of AL Designated Hitters last year was .787 in 11598 PA

    That is a “massive gain.”

    Comment by Yikes — March 20, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

  63. I like watching pitchers bat. I really like it when they get hits.

    I also like the strategy elements you mention: pinch-hitting, double switches etc. sure you have PH opportunities in the AL, but the NL has a much bigger potential gain in PH for the pitcher, and also greater cost, in that he cannot return to pitch in the next inning.

    maybe I am in the minority, but I like having pitchers bat in the NL. I also like having the DH in the AL, as it makes for a different style and I think the variety is nice.

    Comment by brendan — March 20, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

  64. Pitchers hitting probably costs a team 1-2 WAR per year.

    Comment by AL East Martyr — March 20, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

  65. Also: pitchers, hitting.

    Comment by AL East Martyr — March 20, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

  66. Piling on, piling on.

    Comment by AL East Martyr — March 20, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

  67. Along the same lines though. It’s unlikely that Boesch gets 210 PA at the DH with the Yankees. Early season he will be in the field everyday, then is still pronk/jeter at dh, and midseason Arod/Youk worked into that mix.

    Comment by Laz — March 20, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

  68. Part of it seems to be a move away from everyday dh, and towards rotating it.

    Comment by Laz — March 20, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

  69. But depends on roster construction and who is available.

    Comment by Laz — March 20, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

  70. You do realize that pitchers get a positional adjustment for oWAR just like every other position, right? The Nationals and Mets each got 0.7 oWAR from their pitchers in what amounts to a half season of ABs.

    Comment by Travis — March 20, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

  71. So, you rank David Ortiz and co. and would take Lance Berkman over Billy Butler. So, are you the same guy that pisses in the sink instead of the urinal at the ballpark, too?

    Comment by KCDaveInLA — March 20, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

  72. Pronk played some first base as recently as… 2007. That’s also the last time he played in more than 120 games.

    Also, Ortiz isn’t terrible. Most defensive metrics have him as just slightly below average for his career, and having watched most of his yearly cameos at first base with the Red Sox, I’m inclined to agree.

    Comment by Ian R. — March 20, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

  73. you do realize that .7 oWAR is less than the lowest projected DH production?

    Comment by commenter #1 — March 20, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

  74. butler is projected to out-WAR berkman…

    Comment by commenter #1 — March 20, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

  75. This is now one of my all-time favorite comments for the portion about Boog. Well done (and agreed).

    Comment by BSLJeffLong — March 20, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

  76. Also strategic pitching. Actual useful situations for bunts. 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in the 2nd inning, 8 hole up. Do you intentionally wall to get to the pitcher?

    Comment by Antonio bananas — March 21, 2013 @ 12:54 am

  77. Ortiz is all but certainly starting the season on the DL.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — March 21, 2013 @ 1:17 am

  78. You’re either being intentionally dense or you actually don’t know how interleague games work. Either way, weird that you’re getting credit for it; I guess fangraphs commenters are just very pro-DH.

    Comment by TKDC — March 21, 2013 @ 1:20 am

  79. It’s almost as if the very next sentence should read:

    “But Berkman is aged, is post-injured, and on the slippery side of the aging slope.”

    Comment by Steve — March 21, 2013 @ 9:00 am

  80. You are overstating it.

    Comment by Steve — March 21, 2013 @ 9:01 am

  81. Checks rankings…nope, Butler is still ranked ahead of Berkman.

    Comment by Steve — March 21, 2013 @ 9:02 am

  82. If Betemit gets as few as 324 plate appearances his 2014 option vests and the O’s are on the hook for $3.2 million. Either he rakes RHP hard enough to justify the playing time and the option next year, or he doesn’t and they release him. Even if he does hit, can Baltimore afford to spend $3.2 million on a platoon DH?

    Comment by Brandon — March 21, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  83. It doesn’t matter if it was a 600-point OPS difference, there will be no convincing the anti-DH camp. Nor would there be any convincing the pro-DH camp of the superior strategy and intricacy of letting the pitchers hit.

    It’s not unlike arguing religion and politics; people have their preconceived opinions and ignore any arguments to the contrary (on both sides). You never hear, “gee, that’s a really good point; I should reconsider!”

    Comment by Jason B — March 21, 2013 @ 11:08 am

  84. Your projections are selling my guy short!!! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    Sincerely,
    Fanboy

    Comment by Jason B — March 21, 2013 @ 11:14 am

  85. When I was looking at last year’s DH splits for the Mariners, I saw something that probably explains one of the more perplexing front office moves of the offseason: The Mariners trading their best hitter last season, a young LH cost controlled catcher under team control until 2016, John Jaso, for Mike Morse an over 30 outfielder who gives up with the glove quite a bit of what he provides with his bat.

    It wasn’t about not liking Jaso’s glove, or liking Morse’s hitting so much, it was about giving Jesus Montero 450AB at the catching position. It is pretty striking, and probably worth finding out whether there is actually something meaningful here:

    Jesus Montero
    POS PA Avg OBP SLG
    C 230 0.310 0.343 0.498
    DH 321 0.226 0.265 0.309

    We do know that there is a DH penalty, it may just be that Montero is an extreme outlier in terms of a DH penalty or its just an BABIP differnce:

    ISO K% BB% BABIP
    C 0.188 16.5% 5.7% 0.331
    DH 0.083 19.0% 4.7% 0.265

    Whatever the reason for his positional splits being so extreme, I think the M’s decided its worth seeing if he can put up those numbers playing catcher near full time, despite his defensive liabilities.

    Comment by Kazinski — March 21, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

  86. “In 2012, DHs added 220.4 hitting runs and -53.8 base-running runs. Pitchers added -792.1 batting and -34.3 base-running runs. WHAT NOW, BRO!?”

    It’s still a dumb rule. Dumb.

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — March 26, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  87. Projecting A-Rod for only something like 70 PAs all season (35 at 3B and 35 at DH) seems unrealistically pessimistic to me. More speculative than based on the evidence that we have.

    Comment by Ted Nelson — March 26, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

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