Contrary to the belief from the old school people who loved having the pitcher hit in the National League, thus far in 2022, the universal designated hitter (DH) has been a huge boon for the NL and it’s a huge boon for baseball. In fact, the NL is seeing more offense than the AL has through the first week and a half of the season from the universal DH.
Overall, by wRC+, four of the top five teams entering Sunday at the DH position were NL teams. Here are the top five teams that have benefitted from the universal DH.
5) The St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have benefitted from having the universal DH in a few ways. Without the universal DH, they were able to sign franchise legend Albert Pujols to a one-year deal so that he could end his career where it all started more than 20 years ago.
He could end up hitting a lot of milestones with the team this year as well.
In addition to adding him, he is platooning with veteran outfielder Corey Dickerson. With young outfielders Dylan Carlson, Harrison Bader, and Tyler O’Neill entrenched in the outfield, Dickerson (who isn’t as good of a defender as any of them) can still get in the lineup with the DH.
Dickerson and Pujols are platooning in the spot, with Dickerson starting in three games and Pujols in four (Lars Nootbaar started one game there too). Going forward, Dickerson will likely see most of the DH playing time against right-handed pitching and Pujols will mainly face left-handed pitching.
Overall, their wRC+ entering Sunday was 103, which is 12th-highest among the 30 MLB teams.