The Designated Hitter finally made it to the National League in 2020, and it was everything MLB fans could have dreamed of. It should stay forever.
The death of pitchers hitting in the National League has been long overdue. And finally, in 2020, MLB fans stepped into a world without automatic outs in the lineup. And what a beautiful world it was.
Sure, we’ll miss the occasional pitcher home run. Bartolo Colon‘s first home run was nothing short of a miracle, providing Mets fans a reason to continue watching baseball. And pitchers who can actually hit, like Madison Bumgarner, created a huge edge for their team on start days.
However, allowing pitchers to hit in the 21st century was absolutely ridiculous. Sure, when the game started and relief arms were moonlighting as plumbers, athletic pitchers stood a chance in the box. But these days, every pitcher on the roster and their mother can throw into the upper 90s. And even if they don’t have that velocity in their bag, they have ungodly breaking balls that bring the best hitters in the game to their knees.
It quite simply isn’t possible for pitchers to practice hitting often enough to keep up with their counterparts. Which is why they’ve basically become an automatic out or a sacrifice bunt 99% of the time.
So finally, we got to see a world with nine professional hitters in an MLB lineup every day. There is absolutely no reason why the National League should get rid of the Designated Hitter. Sure, it has to be bargained for in the next CBA. But this seems like a slam dunk for both the league and the players’ association. I don’t think anybody will complain if the timeline on agreeing to the permanent universal DH gets moved up.
But even if it needs to wait until the next CBA agreement, it’s a no-brainer move. The age of pitchers hitting is over. Long live the universal DH.