First off, can I just say what a treat it was to finally have a good headliner for Extravaganza? Especially because this is my senior year. I can’t speak for the rest of the show since I only really went for Snoop, but I’ve seen good acts at previous Extravaganzas. What I had not seen until Sunday was a headliner that left me with absolutely nothing to complain about. Snoop was just Snoop, and there is no better way to describe it.
This week I want to talk about the designated hitter. I’m sorry, National Leaguers, but I don’t care if your way of playing ball came first. In this day and age, having a DH simply makes more sense and fits better with modern baseball. These days, even in the post-steroid era, baseball is about protecting ace pitchers, a rare commodity, and scoring as many runs as humanly possible. The DH lends itself well to accomplishing both of those goals. They protect pitchers from injuries that can result from batting, and their sole purpose is to create and score runs.
They also hold an important role in fantasy baseball. While defense really does not matter, it still does play a role. Many starters in the majors are starters more for their defense than for their offense. Unfortunately, major league starters, whether they are starting for their offense or their defense, are the only players that fantasy owners really have to choose from as starters for their fantasy teams. That’s why the DH is so important in fantasy baseball.
In a game that is entirely about producing more offense than your opponents, it’s always nice to know that you’ll at least have one consistent source of production. Designated hitters like David Ortiz or Michael Young are paid to focus on their hitting, which means odds are they will produce more consistently than hitters who also play the field. Now, obviously you need position players to fill out your roster, just like Johnny Depp needs a group of actors around him so that he can continue to be Jack Sparrow in every movie, but you should never try to get someone else to play Johnny Depp, by which I mean you should never get a position player to fill the utility role if you can avoid it.
Most fantasy teams have a slot for this so-called utility player. This spot can be filled by any hitter, but what it really represents is the designated hitter, and that is what you should try to fill it with. Its purpose is to allow you to draft at least one player purely for their offense and not for the position they play, and what better player to provide pure offense than a designated hitter? Now, there are only a few pure designated hitters in the major leagues, but there are many players who fill that role for their teams more often than they play their other positions. It is these players you should target for your utility slot.
If you can’t get a full-time DH, a part-time one will usually do just as well. If they were good defensive players, they would hold full-time defensive positions … yet they do not, and they still manage to keep their places on major league rosters. This is due to their offense. When drafting or searching the free agent list for offense, look for players who have a DH designation next to their names. Some of them may not have the best batting averages or may lack in another category, but every one of them will be able to help you out in one category or another, and in most cases they will help you in multiple categories.