The universal DH is here and the Reds are in great shape.
On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Reds will report to Great American Ballpark and Prasco Park in Mason to begin training for the 60-game 2020 season. In both locations, for the first time in team history, a focal point will be the universal designated hitter.
For 150 years, the Reds have penciled a pitcher into the batting order. Whether securing the ninth or, most recently, the eighth spot in the lineup, a pitcher coming to the plate has meant striking out, bunting, double switches or pinch hitters.
There have been occasional highlights with a pitcher at the dish. In 2006, Bronson Arroyo hit two home runs in six days. In 2018, Anthony Desclafani hit the first grand slam by a Reds pitcher in 59 years. Last season, Michael Lorenzen hit became the first pitcher since Babe Ruth to hit a home run, play the outfield and earn the pitching victory in the same game.
While those moments were exciting, when the 2020 season officially begins on July 23 or July 24, they will cease to exist. Major League Baseball is adding the universal DH to the National League for the 2020 season.
The rule change will have huge implications for the Reds. While not having a pitcher bat could result in less strategic in-game moves, it will provide more offensive opportunities. Players that typically pinch-hit will now have the opportunity to bat multiple times in a game. When a player takes a break from the field, his bat won’t have to leave the batting order.
While some baseball purists abhor the idea, the universal DH is great news for this year’s Reds team. Let’s take a look at how the new position can provide opportunities for the team season during the upcoming season..