I have been a vocal opponent of the designated hitter coming to the National League because it removes some of the interesting managerial moves, such as late-game double switches. But the universal DH is clearly coming in 2020, and it will probably not go away again in the future.
So, bring on the MLB season and the universal DH. The St. Louis Cardinals – my favorite team – will be a beneficiary of the new rule. The DH will put another bat in the lineup for the Cardinals, creating more offense. This is good news since the Cardinals struggled to score runs in 2020.
The Redbirds have a number of players to plug in at DH, and I don’t expect any one player to fill that role regularly. Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas were battling out for the starting left field job. Either one of them could fill the DH spot in the lineup, leaving the other one to start in left field.
Another beneficiary could be utility man Tommy Edman. Edman didn’t have a firm position entering 2020. He saw most of his starts at third base last year, but the Cardinals are paying Matt Carpenter too much to leave him on the bench. How about Carpenter at DH and Edman at third?
If that’s not enough, how about another possibility. The Cardinals recently signed Brad Miller, a utility man who was swinging the bat very well for the Phillies last year. He hit 12 home runs in just 118 at bats in Philadelphia and had an OPS of .941. There’s some serious pop in his bat.
There’s even another dark horse who might see some time in the DH role. The dark horse is Rangel Ravelo, who became one of Cardinals manager Mike Shildt’s favorite pinch hit options late last season. Ravelo showed promise during his three years playing AAA ball in Memphis.
Regardless of who fills the role, the Cardinals will benefit from a universal DH. The Redbirds have plenty of depth, and putting another solid hitter in the lineup may be just what the Cardinals need to make it back to the National League Championship Series. I can only hope.