What’s the point of pitchers batting? Ever since the formation of the National League (NL) in 1883, the league has had pitchers hit in ballgames (the American League (AL) instituted the Designated Hitter rule in 1973.) There has been some chatter lately about the NL instituting the DH, too. The AL dominates the NL in inter-league play because the team from the NL is missing a potentially good hitter by having to include the pitcher as a batter.
Since inter-league play was formed in 1997, the AL has had the most wins in 11 of the 15 years, resulting in a brutal beating by them with a 1939-1773 record coming into the 2012 season. Currently, the AL is leading the NL this year in wins. The National League should really put the Designated Hitter rule into place to build an equal platform for Major League Baseball.
Pitchers hitting doesn’t do anything for baseball. Most pitchers don’t even practice batting, as they focus exclusively on pitching. Every time a pitcher comes to bat, there’s a pretty good chance he will either fly out or strike out. If runners are on base with less than two outs, there are few doubts that a manager will tell a pitcher to bunt. On top of that, pitchers run slow because they don’t want to risk injury. And what is with the ball boy bringing a jacket out to a pitcher while on base? Pitchers don’t want to get cold while running the bases? Pitchers often can’t go an extra base when the opportunity arrives because they are told to take it easy on the base paths. When a pitcher comes to bat when a team has a threat in the making, it immediately cuts down on the chance to score. Often there’s a lull in a game because they rarely do anything productive.
During the 2011 regular season, Major League Baseball saw pitchers hit a .128 batting average (AL with .112 and NL with .142) with an average of one home run and 10 RBIs. Also, on average, pitchers recorded just 24 hits throughout that season. Baltimore’s pitchers were the best at hitting in 2011, where they combined for 9 hits and 2 doubles in 22 at-bats going .409. The worst hitting pitchers were in Oakland, where they did nothing in 18 at-bats. The Twins pitchers had a batting average of .150 with 3 hits and 1 double in 2011. To view stats from 2000 until now about how pitchers hit, please click here.
Some reports have indicated that the NL could start using a Designated Hitter in 2013, which is the same year that Houston is scheduled to move to the AL. I firmly believe, overall, that pitchers don’t contribute enough on offense. The Designated Hitter will give both leagues an equal opportunity to win an All-Star Game or World Series. Pitchers should be focusing on pitching and hitters on hitting.
Written by: Michael L. Sack