Jacob deGrom Was Just One of the Pitchers Who Outshone Their Teammates at the Plate on April 23
Had the universal DH been in place this season, there would have been much less offense on Friday night. Pitchers enjoyed a historical night at the plate, accumulating a batting average that is higher than all other defensive positions.
Aided by multiple hit efforts by Huascar Ynoa of the Atlanta Braves and Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, pitchers batted .250 on April 23. That clip is almost twenty points higher than the overall batting average in Major League Baseball, which is certainly going to eliminate pitchers from hitting after this season.
In 28 at bats that night, pitchers managed seven hits. Before barring them from hitting in future seasons, officials at MLB should consider how the pitchers at the plate compared to other positions.
The so-called offense-first position of first base, for example, fared much worse than the .250 batting average of the pitchers. In those same games in National League parks, first basemen went 9 for 48 for a cumulative batting average almost seventy points worse than that of the pitchers.
That mark of .186 can to some extent be blamed on the two best teams in all of baseball, as the first basemen in the Dodgers - Padres game went hitless in seven at bats. Also blanked in seven at bats were the cold corner members in the Braves – Diamondback games, including Most Valuable Player Freddie Freeman.
Think about the idea of pitchers outslugging All-Star mashers like Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, and Rhys Hoskins, which seems incredible until you consider the current trend in baseball. It is doubtful that by simply instituting a universal DH is going to fix America's pastime, which has come down to strike out or home run much too often.
While first basemen fared the worst that night, the other positions should be embarrassed as well. In what might be an indication of the sorry state of offense in today's game, pitchers on April 23 outhit every position except right field.
Notwithstanding the sad stats revealed that night in April, the universal DH will still be of tremendous benefit for baseball. Pitchers may have outhit their teammates, but it was a completely different story in American league parks.
In those arenas the designated hitters far outperformed their teammates, accumulating a batting average over .300. Overall they, including guys like JD Martinez and Nelson Cruz, went a combined 19 for 61.
We need offense like that, so by all means MLB should adopt the universal DH. Perhaps, though, they should not always replace the pitchers in the batting order but the weakest hitters which, at least for a night in late April, were the first basemen.