2010 in Review: Designated Hitter

Welcome back, Pronk.

Posts in this series:

Team Offense Team Pitching
Team Defense
Catcher First Base Second Base
Shortstop Third Base Designated Hitter
Left Field Center Field Right Field
Starting Pitching Relief Pitching

 

 

Part I: Review

Travis Hafner appeared in over 100 games for the first time since 2007, and posted his highest OPS+ since his fantastic 2006 campaign. Shelley Duncan was Hafner's primary backup, making 18 starts at the position.

Offense

The Indians ranked in the middle of the pack as far as DH production was concerned:

 

Rk 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 BOS 40 1 32 91 151 .263 .364 .503 .866 .302 119 130
2 BAL 30 3 31 67 125 .277 .358 .505 .863 .302 144 128
3 MIN 25 3 31 94 132 .264 .368 .488 .856 .288 124 127
4 TEX 29 1 28 34 76 .304 .347 .489 .836 .306 119 121
5 NYY 31 1 25 68 152 .256 .338 .440 .777 .303 98 107
6 CLE 36 1 21 61 148 .252 .333 .428 .761 .302 117 102
7 KCR 31 2 22 59 120 .252 .329 .426 .755 .280 106 101
8 CHW 24 3 18 65 113 .247 .332 .396 .728 .279 94 94
9 OAK 30 1 15 75 172 .246 .338 .386 .724 .325 106 94
10 TBR 32 1 17 66 150 .238 .322 .391 .713 .292 94 90
11 DET 35 5 8 74 104 .259 .341 .373 .713 .299 92 92
12 TOR 34 4 22 43 153 .237 .291 .417 .709 .281 85 87
13 LAA 27 1 17 71 122 .231 .316 .374 .690 .264 98 84
14 SEA 20 1 21 55 169 .194 .269 .340 .609 .234 91 62
TOT 424 28 308 923 1887 .252 .332 .425 .758 .290 106 101
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/18/2010.

As I've looked at these positional standings, it's become painfully obvious how awful Seattle's offense was. Their Designated Hitters only managed a .609 OPS. If not for Russell Branyan's second-half .801 OPS, they might have broken some records.

12 Indians saw time as DH, but only 6 accrued more than 10 at-bats. Here they are:

 

 

Rk G PA ▾ AB 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 Travis Hafner 109 453 390 28 0 13 49 93 .279 .373 .451 .824 .334 100 120
2 Shelley Duncan 18 59 53 2 0 2 6 20 .132 .220 .283 .503 .161 37 34
3 Jayson Nix 9 37 35 2 0 2 0 12 .229 .222 .457 .679 .273 94 76
4 Matt LaPorta 8 32 29 0 1 1 3 4 .172 .250 .345 .595 .167 77 57
5 Jordan Brown 7 28 27 3 0 0 1 4 .222 .250 .333 .583 .261 99 55
6 Carlos Santana 5 22 20 1 0 1 2 6 .250 .318 .450 .768 .308 76 103
Team Total 153 652 575 36 1 21 61 148 .252 .333 .428 .761 .302 117 102
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/18/2010.

Whenever Shelley Duncan wasn't playing left field, he was horrible at the plate. Same with Jayson Nix; he was good at the plate while starting at second, and awful at third and DH. Hafner is no longer a 140+ game player, so the Indians should be able to utilize the at-bats for LaPorta (if Santana plays some first) and Duncan.

Part II: Looking Towards 2011:

Coming Back

Travis Hafner (Signed Through 2012)

Now that there's two years left on Hafner's contract, the Indians could manage to deal him if they had to, but Pronk is still a nice offensive player if his playing time is managed carefully, and the Indians don't have the offensive production on hand to replace his bat. Even though Pronk hit just 13 home runs in 462 plate appearances, he hit 29 doubles and walked 51 times. He's not near as selective as he used to be, but still good enough to work himself into good hitter's counts.

Shelley Duncan (Pre-Arbitration) - No Option Years Left

His range in left is marginal, so it would make sense to let Duncan be Hafner's primary understudy. With left-handers in the outfield and at DH, Duncan should get at least two starts a week.

Jayson Nix (Pre-Arbitration) - No Option Years Left

He should be  fighting for the second base job, but I have a sneaking suspicion he's the default option at third. The free agents pickings are thin at best, so the Indians may fill other holes instead, content to live with Nix learning on the job.

Matt LaPorta (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Year Remaining

Matt might get some at-bats at DH if he's hitting and the Indians start working Carlos Santana in at first base.

Jordan Brown (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 Option Years Remaining

A left-handed gap hitter with little defensive ability doesn't fit on this team, nor many others.

Carlos Santana (Pre-Arbitraion) - 1 Option Year

The Indians are more likely to give Santana "off days" at first base, since at this point first base is the weaker offensive position.

 


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