Pittsburgh Pirates Could Be One Of The Biggest Losers From No Designated Hitter

Sep 24, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Colin Moran (19) congratulates first baseman Josh Bell (55) on his two run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Colin Moran (19) congratulates first baseman Josh Bell (55) on his two run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

If the National League does not have the designated hitter in 2021, the Pittsburgh Pirates could be one of the biggest losers from this

As the baseball offseason carries on, there is one major question that continues to loom. That question is, will the National League have the designated hitter in 2021? If the NL does not, the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely be one of the biggest losers from that ruling.

For the first time in MLB history there was a unviersal DH in 2020. While it seems like a no brainer to keep that for 2021, especially with a universal DH appearing to be a slam dunk to be included in the new CBA which will need to be agreed upon before the start of the 2021 season, it may not happen.

It was reported at last week’s MLB Winter Meetings that league officials are planning for no universal DH in 2021. Even though this is bad for the overall healthy of baseball, it would be especially bad for the overall health of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Last season, Ke’Bryan Hayes burst onto the scene. The organization’s top prospect took the bull by the horns at third base and ran with it. Moving forward, Hayes looks like not just the starting third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates but a budding superstar.

The emergence of Hayes led to Colin Moran and Josh Bell splitting time between first base and DH. Moran had a career year in 2020. His exit velocity (91.9 MPH) ranked in the 89th percentile in baseball, while his hard hit rate (47.2%) ranked in the 86th percentile in baseball. This led to Moran posting a career best .247/.325/.472 slash line, to go with a 114 wRC+ and a 11.2% extra base hit rate, both of which were career bests.

As for Bell, despite a 2020 slump, he remains one of the best hitters the Pittsburgh Pirates have. Despite struggling to a .226/.305/.364 slash line and a 75 wRC+ in 223 plate appearances in 2020, Bells exit velocity (91.7 MPH) ranked in the 87th percentile of baseball while his hard hit rate (42.9%) ranked in the 69th percentile of baseball. This was undoubtedly a breakout season for Moran.

If Bell continues to hit the ball the way he did in 2020, he will bounce back in 2021. Furthermore, his career still speaks for itself. Bell has a lifetime .261/.349/.466 slash line to go with a 114 wRC+. This includes a lifetime .205 isolated slugging. Bell remains a top tier power hitter in the National League.

With both Moran and Bell as two of the best hitters the Pittsburgh Pirates have, this is where a lack of a universal DH would make the Pirates one of the biggest losers in the NL. Moving forward, Hayes will be at third base. That is set in stone and then some. As for first base, things would be up in the air.

Bell is an atrocious defensive first baseman while Moran is average. Moran playing first base while Bell is at DH is what’s best for the Pirates. It is also in the best interest of the Pirates to have both Moran and Bell in their starting lineup every day.

dark. Next. Potential NL West Trade Partner For Joe Musgrove

If there is no universal DH in 2021, then the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be able to have Hayes, Moran and Bell in their lineup every day. These are three of the team’s four best hitters. Out of all the teams in the NL, few would benefit more from the universal DH than the Pirates.

facebooktwitterreddit