Projecting the DH for Every National League Team

If and when a 2020 Major League Baseball season takes place, a universal DH is expected to be implemented. Subsequently, every National League team will add a position player to their lineup. Here is the projected DH for those teams.

Washington Nationals: Howie Kendrick

The Nationals used Kendrick as their designated hitter in the 2019 World Series, and there’s no reason to think they’d change course this season. With free agent signees Eric Thames and Starlin Castro manning the right side of the infield, Kendrick can DH while Ryan Zimmerman platoons with Thames at first. Kendrick hit .344 while posting a .966 OPS last season.

Atlanta Braves: Marcell Ozuna

The Braves have a glut of outfielders, a surplus that can be spread out with the DH. Ozuna is a respectable fielder who’s coming off a rough postseason in left field. His bat is what corrals the paycheck. Ozuna has totaled 89 home runs and 301 RBIs over the last four seasons. With Ozuna serving as the Braves’ DH, Ronald Acuna Jr., Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte, Adam Duvall, and Austin Riley can rotate in the outfield with Riley making appearances at third base.

New York Mets: Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith is blocked by Pete Alonso at first base. The universal DH offers Smith the chance to flaunt his bat on an everyday basis. Last season the left-hander totaled 11 home runs and 25 RBIs while posting an .881 OPS across 89 games. He has struggled in the field, but as a DH he will add a power bat to a compelling Mets offense that features Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Robinson Cano.

Philadelphia Phillies: Jay Bruce

Bruce would typically be a pinch hitter for the Phillies with Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Haseley, and Scott Kingery on the team’s depth chart. Now Bruce can be an everyday hitter. He provided the Phillies with a midseason power outlet last season, hitting 12 home runs across 51 games. The veteran can also serve as a fourth outfielder.

Miami Marlins: Garrett Cooper

The addition of first baseman Jose Aguilar voided Garrett Cooper of a concrete job. Now he can boast his power left-handed bat as the Marlins’ DH. Last season Cooper totaled 15 home runs and 50 RBIs across 107 games. With a slightly improved offense (the Marlins added Aguilar, Jonathan Villar, Corey Dickerson, and Francisco Cervelli in the offseason), Cooper’s run production could spike from an efficiency standpoint.

St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Carpenter

The Cardinals have a bevy of infielders, and Carpenter has been without a definitive position the last couple seasons. The lifelong Cardinal will be a natural DH. He’s a clutch hitter and a threat to go yard whenever he steps in the batter’s box. Carpenter’s everyday presence will add comfort and another big swinger to a high-profile offense.

Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun

Avisail Garcia, Lorenzo Cain, and Christian Yelich is the Brewers’ best 2020 outfield. Ryan Braun is not a first baseman, making him their DH. Last season the lifelong Brewer posted an .849 OPS while totaling 22 home runs and 75 RBIs. Braun swings away, everyone plays their best position, and Milwaukee gets more situated in the field.

Chicago Cubs: Kyle Schwarber

This is the biggest given in the NL. Schwarber has started but been a shaky force in left field. The Cubs have continually played him in left because he destroys baseball. Last season Schwarber was in the top one percent in MLB in hard-hit percentage (51.2 percent), top three percent in average exit velocity (92.7 mph), and top six percent in barrel percentage (14.5 percent). The Cubs can start Jason Heyward, Albert Almora, and Ian Happ, improving their outfield defense and adding another bat to the mix.

Cincinnati Reds: Aristides Aquino

Jesse Winker is a respectable left fielder who plays all three outfield positions, Nick Senzel is a defensive highlight reel, and the Reds signed Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year, $64 million deal in the offseason; Aquino is the ideal DH. Last season the young outfielder wowed the baseball world, hitting 11 home runs across his first 16 games and demolishing baseballs. Next season he can do as such while the Reds get all their outfielders on the grass.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Jose Osuna

Osuna has been blocked from a starting role with the Pirates in recent memory. That said, he impressed at the plate in his first considerable playing time at the big-league level last season, posting a .766 OPS while totaling 10 home runs and 36 RBIs across 95 games. Osuna adds another young bat to an underrated offense that includes Colin Moran, Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds, Adam Frazier, and Gregory Polanco.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Joc Pederson

The Dodgers have the sport’s deepest depth chart, which works in their favor with the DH. Pederson totaled 36 home runs last season and didn’t have a set position. Now he gets to clean up the bases or set the table for a lineup that includes the 2019 NL Most Valuable Player Award recipient, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy. This results in one of Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor, and A.J. Pollock starting in the outfield.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Jake Lamb

The D-Backs are set at every position around the diamond and can utilize their former third baseman, Jake Lamb, as their DH. Lamb has a lot of pop in his bat but has been limited over the last two seasons due to injuries. From 2016-17 he totaled 59 home runs and 196 RBIs while posting an OPS above .830 in both seasons. Lamb merely swinging a bat and not playing the field improves his chances of staying on the field.

San Francisco Giants: Wilmer Flores

The Giants starting infield figures to be devoid of Wilmer Flores but their lineup doesn’t. Flores is a contact hitter with line-drive power. Last season he hit .317 while posting an .848 OPS across 89 games with the D-Backs. He’s difficult to strikeout and a proven player. He’ll add a swift bat to a stagnated Giants offense.

San Diego Padres: Brian Dozier

The Padres signed Dozier to a minor-league deal, but things have changed; he can now be an everyday player. While he’s coming off a couple less-than-splendid seasons at the plate, Dozier is still a respectable power hitter. He hit 20 home runs and posted a .771 OPS with the Washington Nationals last season. Plus, if Jurickson Profar struggles at second base, Dozier is an exceptional fielder who can step in and start on a dime.

Colorado Rockies: Daniel Murphy

Murphy is persistently critiqued at second base; the Rockies have the resources to mask that part of his game, as youngsters Ryan McMahon, Brendan Rodgers, and Garrett Hampson can rotate in the right side of the infield. When healthy, Murphy is one of the best pure hitters in baseball. He has a steady, line-drive swing, is difficult to strikeout, and a smart baserunner. The Rockies improve defensively.

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