For the first time since the 19th century, there will be no professional baseball played in April. We are still currently deadlocked between pandemic season and baseball season.
That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been discussions about what Major League Baseball will do when it returns. One of the more popular running ideas is that of a temporary universal designated hitter.
Yes, the DH could be coming to a National League team near you!
The Phillies, of course, are no exception. But unlike other teams, they should have a leg up on the competition. They already have their DH.
The Phillies happen to be blessed with the left-handed slugging Jay Bruce. If a DH were to be introduced, Bruce would be the Phillies’ best bet.
Being a lefty, Bruce would have an advantage against the majority of the majors. As it stands, about 88% of the human population is right-handed. Bruce’s career splits favor a right-handed match-up quite favorably.
In his career, Bruce has just over .100 point OPS advantage in facing righties compared to lefties (.814 compared to .713). He has had a slugging % over .500 in 3 of his last 4 seasons, making the DH spot even more fitting.
Most of all if Bruce were to be a DH, he wouldn’t have to worry about playing the field. A few too many times Bruce looked like Rhys Hoskins out in left field in 2019. Having Andrew McCutchen do the leg work would yield much better results.
Last season, Bruce clubbed 26 homers in just 333 plate appearances. If he were to repeat that feat, Phillies fans might actually clamor for a continued DH.
There leaves just one question? Who would DH against lefties?
He’s not a well-seasoned veteran, but his name is. Why not Kyle Garlick? If the DH is happening, likely expanded rosters would be happening. Garlick is one of the few interesting hitters actually on the Phillies’ 40-man roster.
Garlick played in just 30 games last year in his debut with the Dodgers. In that time, he had 33 plate appearances against lefties. He slashed .267/.333/.667 in those PA.
He had 8 hits against lefties. Three of them were doubles and three were homers. It’s going to be a weird season anyway, why not give him a shot?
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports