Photo: Moto Miwa, CC-BY 2.0
Photo: Moto Miwa, CC-BY 2.0

The better option is the better hitter

November 17, 2021

In Major League Baseball, there are 2 divisions: The American League and the National League. The American League uses a designated hitter while the National League requires that the pitcher hits. A designated hitter is an all-offense player that bats in place of the pitcher. 

Many people take the stance that because the pitcher is a player, they should hit the same as the rest of the players, but I personally believe that the designated hitter, better known as the DH, is the better option as it allows teams to have a more productive offense. Historically, pitchers have the worst batting average out of their teams and the league as they do not practice hitting as often. The pitchers’ focus should be on what their job actually is, and it is just that, pitching. Of course, there are exceptions to this with pitchers such as Shohei Ohtani who hit 46 home runs this season. 

Although the National League pitchers lack success overall, they know they have the responsibility to hit in the line-up; however, the American League pitchers are set up to fail for when they play a National League team as they now have the responsibility to hit. American League pitchers never have the expectation to hit in the majority of their games, but when they have to pitch at a National League field, they have the pressures of not only having to pitch a phenomenal game but also having to produce offense at the plate. 

The designated hitter was designed to increase a team’s offense and give them the best chance of winning. Imagine this: a team is down by 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning. The first batter hits a solo home run and lessens the deficit to only 1 run. The next two batters fail to get on base and get out, but the next three batters load the bases, and it all comes down to the last hitter of the lineup. The fans are shaking with anticipation as the game comes down to this one batter, and out from the dugout walks the pitcher with a bat in hand. The pitcher strikes out on three pitches, and they lose the game. The blame for the disappointing end is placed on the pitcher which is so unfair to him as the pressures of a game clinching win should be placed on him in his area of expertise rather than his weakest. 

Let’s talk about injuries. Pitchers tend to get injured more as they have to throw above 90 mph for hours straight at a time. They need to be able to protect their arms as much as possible as it is what keeps them in a job. When having to hit at the plate is thrown in the mix, the chances of a pitcher getting hurt almost doubles. Not only must they worry about keeping their arms healthy, but now they would have to worry about not tearing anything in their legs or their abdomen. Although injuries are always going to be a major concern for pitchers, the Major League Baseball Organization should implement the designated hitter into both leagues in order to minimize the number of injuries as much as possible. 

There is really only one solution to the offensive and injury problems in the Major Leagues, and that is to make the designated hitter be universal in both leagues. By implementing the designated hitter rule in both leagues, the number of injuries regarding pitchers would decrease and the amount of offense teams produce would inevitably increase as well. The designated hitter is the solution the League is looking for and they need to take action to implement the rule in both the American and National League.

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