Thursday, September 3, 2009

The National League Designated Hitter

After writing about the Los Angeles Dodgers essentially trading for a Designated Hitter should they reach the World Series, I thought it would be fun to see the DH's the National League teams have trotted out in the two previous World Series appearances.

In Game 1 of the 2008 World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies trotted out Chris Coste. He played 98 games and had an on-base percentage of .325. Greg Dobbs started Game 2 of the series. While he got on base only 33.3% of the time, he did have some pop with a .491 slugging percentage in 128 games that year. Strangely, manager Charley Manuel pinch hit for Dobbs using the man with horrible slash stats, .217/.297/.297, Eric Bruntlett. What did Bruntlett do? Hit a home run of course!

To be fair, the Rays didn't pencil in a very good hitter in the DH spot for Game 1. Willy Aybar That said, his splits against left-handed pitchers aren't bad. He had slash stats of .266/.350/.444 against the lefties. Lefty Cole Hamels started Game 1 for the Phillies.

To be even fairer, Coste's splits against lefties (and the starting pitcher was lefty Scott Kazmir) was a nice .296/.363/.519. However, taking that into context, he had 92 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, and we're talking about a 36 year old who didn't make his first big league appearance until he was 33.

Cliff Floyd started Game 2 for the Rays. He hit a 109 OPS+ and sported a .349 OBP. Ho-hum, but at least he hit above average.

The odd thing about the Phillies is that they had a Designated Hitter, who happened to be playing left field. Pat Burrell is a good hitter and a horrible fielder. Why didn't they play Burrell at DH?

Ryan Spilborghs started Game 1 and Game 2 of the World Series for the Colorado Rockies in 2007. He had a 111 OPS+ that year, so he certainly is at least an above average hitter.

The DH for the Red Sox was David Ortiz. He was fourth in MVP voting and had a 171 OPS+. He also led the league in on-base percentage with a sparkling .445.

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