The DH is coming to the National League! Teams that aren’t built to accommodate a DH will now have to find a DH. Today we’re going to be looking at the teams that are the most — and least — prepared for the DH coming to the National League.
National League East
Nationals: Howie Kendrick was a great player last year that can play multiple positions, but the Nationals are stacked when it comes to position players. He can finally find a home at Designated Hitter.
Braves: In a crowded outfield with Ronald Acuna Jr, Marcell Ozuna, Austin Riley, and Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte has no full time position. And that’s too bad for Inciarte, who’s a good hitter. Since Ozuna is dead average and Inciarte is a bit above average at fielding, look for Inciarte to play CF while Ozuna plays DH — with Adam Duvall taking a start at LF/DH occasionally.
Mets: The Mets have so many good position players — but one really stands out. Yoenis Cespedes could play at DH after missing all of 2019 due to an injury, but then he made things worse in an incident with a wild boar. Dominic Smith and Brandon Nimmo xould also benefit from time at DH.
Phillies: Andrew McCutchen is a former dominant player that in his older years has fallen off. A DH could benefit him a lot, and it would also allow fellow outfielders Jay Bruce and Roman Quinn to get some playing. I’ll pick him as the Phillies’ DH.
Marlins: After how bad Lewis Brinson was last year, I’ll bet that he won’t play a lot. But Matt Joyce has consistently been one of the most underrated players in the league. Matt Joyce and 1B Jesus Aguilar could split time at DH — with Joyce also playing in the field and Aguilar taking DH while Garrett Cooper would move to 1B.
National League Central
Cubs: Finally the Cubs have found a use for the newly signed Steven Souza (why?) and UT Ian Happ and David Bote. Look for those 3 — plus Victor Caratini — to rotate at the DH spot with Bote and Caratini mainly taking the big load.
Brewers: With Jedd Gyorko coming to town, the Brewers finally have a place to put the offensive minded Keston Hiura. Ryan Braun could also play significant time in the DH spot as he is a poor fielding OF in a crowded outfield.
Cardinals: In a crowded infield where getting playing time will be tough, look for Tommy Edman and Matt Carpenter to switch off at 3B/DH. Other players could switch in and out depending if Edman or Carpenter are hurt — and that could include players like Brad Miller and others.
Reds: For a while, Jesse Winker has been dragging this team down because of his poor defense. Well, fear not because Winker could very well end up in a positions that suits him. Nicholas Castellanos and Shogo Akiyama could also end up with a significant portion of time at DH.
Pirates: Josh Bell was the Pirates’ main offensive producer last year, but he was horrible at 1B. In the American League he would likely end up at 1B/DH, but now he can keep his offensive numbers while not worrying about defense. This was an easy pick.
National League West
Giants: With a shortened season, Joey Bart will likely make the opening 30 man roster. That’s a problem for Buster Posey — an all time great catcher — who would likely be forced to replace Brandon Belt at 1B so Bart could play C. That would be too bad for Brandon Belt, but with this DH Posey, Bart, and Belt could all take some time at DH. Look for the defensively stellar Posey to take more time at C/1B than DH. Wilmer Flores could also play his way into some time at DH.
Dodgers: No team is more stacked than the Dodgers. The OF and IF are both crowded, with more than 3 players deserving of a starting role in each. AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor will spend some time at DH, along with Matt Beaty and Kike Hernandez. Players like Max Muncy and Mookie Betts could take off days at DH.
Rockies: The Rockies have two players — Daniel Murphy and Ian Desmond — that are geared to be DH. Murphy had a decent offensive year at the plate last year but his defense was horrible. Desmond wasn’t too good at the plate last year — although I think that he could rebound — but he’s also bad at defense and could take some time at DH.
Diamondbacks: This DH rule helps Kevin Cron more than anyone can imagine — he hit 38 HR at AA last year in 450 AB — but the D-Backs already have Christian Walker at 1B. Look for Cron to shoulder the load at DH with Kole Calhoun and Ketel Marte also taking some time at DH.
Padres: The Padres have two overpaid veterans in Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer — both horrible at defense — who the Padres could use at DH. Tommy Pham could also take some time at DH, but it will mainly go to Myers and Hosmer.