3 Phillies who would benefit from National League adding DH
1. J.T. Realmuto
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is coming off of the best season of his career.
At the plate in 2019, the Del City, Oklahoma, native set career-high marks in games played (145), plate appearances (593), at-bats (538), runs scored (92), doubles (36), home runs (25), RBI (83), walks (41), strikeouts (123), slugging percentage (.493), total bases (265), and sacrifice flys (8).
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Because of this, helped with his stellar defensive feats, Realmuto earned his second career All-Star nod and Silver Slugger Award, along with his first-ever top-15 Most Valuable Player Award finish (14). Not to mention, he earned his first-ever Gold Glove recognition.
Along with setting those career high offensive feats, Realmuto also caught his most-ever innings behind the plate (1,139 1/3). Imagine how much more offense he would produce, as well as his health (particularly knees), would benefit from not having the burden of fielding the backstop.
2. Bryce Harper
The designated hitter position is essentially a “pinch-hitter,” just that they come up to the plate as many times as a fielding starter normally would.
Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper will be 38 years old by the time his 13-year contract expires in 2031, so surely by then he will not be able to keep up with manning the outfield day in and day out.
In the immediate future, however, the Phillies might be able to get more offensive value out of Harper and his $330 million contract by him becoming an everyday designated hitter, as early as next season.
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Harper his 20 career pinch-hit plate appearances, and, of those 16 recorded at-bats, he has scored six runs and collected two singles, one double, two home runs, six RBI, four walks, three strikeouts, and slashed .313/.450/.750.
Glancing at Harper’s career stats as a designated hitter might cause alarm, given he has just two career hits through 21 plate appearances (.118/.286/.176). If anything, the Phillies slugger has shown he is able to adjust, and would be able to produce on an All-Star-caliber offensive level if moved to the designated hitter role.
3. Rhys Hoskins
Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins has only played two full seasons, 2018 and 2019.
The slugger has shown really Hall of Fame-caliber months, such as in June 2018 when he slashed .312/.400/.688 with eight home runs and 22 RBI across 20 games.
On a polar opposite, the Sacramento, California, native has produced months where he has struggled. For example, Hoskins collected just 15 hits across 121 plate appearances in August 2019, slashing .161/.342/.301.
Along with his inconsistencies at the plate, Hoskins has not been the best fielder, either. In 2019, he committed the fifth-most errors among National League first basemen (9), and a year prior, the most among National League left fielders (6).
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Perhaps Hoskins is the best candidate that would benefit from being the designated hitter every day, as early as 2021. Letting him focus on his plate appearances and establish some consistency throughout the season, while also putting another glove on the diamond, might be the most beneficial combination for both the team and player.
Say Hoskins becomes the designated hitter, and then the Phillies could move Realmuto to first base, helping prolong the careers of two players at once.
Clearly, no matter when the National League adds the designated hitter, the Phillies are currently well-equipped to adapt to the rule change.