Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The path of choosing a Designated Hitter

So now that it's a slam-dunk that the Astros will be in the American League, they'll have to figure out who will be the Designated Hitter. Who should it be? Let's run a list, eh?

First, let's see who Designatedly Hat in the 2011 road interleague series:

Carlos Lee (5x25).

Okay, so let's rule that out, since 2013 is the first time since dinosaurs roamed the land that the Astros won't pay him gajillions of dollars.

Who should the Astros use as their DH, assuming that this whole "let's not pay anybody" business model holds until Jim Crane can afford to buy random crap out of SkyMall again? Remember, we'd be looking for someone whose defense is shaky or can't exactly cover ground.

In 2011, DHs hit .266/.341/.430 (the 2nd-highest OPS by position, behind 1B). That .771 OPS is higher than any Astro with more than 300 PAs (who also ended 2011 on the Astros), except for Carlos Lee.

Brian Bogusevic has a laser of an arm, which would be a shame to negate. Matt Downs may prove valuable in the field, especially if Barmes does walk. J.B. Shuck doesn't quite fit the DH mold (perhaps the laziest thought I'll ever have). Who does that leave? For me, anyway, it leaves J.D. Martinez.

It's pretty clear in the short time that Martinez has been a pro that he can hit. There have been questions about his defense. I'm trying to find the link, but Martinez may also have a pre-arthritic condition in his knees. So why not use him as the DH, at least for 2013, and see how it goes, before going out and getting Berkman to be the DH - which I can totally see the Astros doing.