“Yankees catching instructor Tanner Swanson told FiveThirtyEight that an automated zone would completely change the position: “It would be almost a second DH.’”
As far as the future of catching is concerned, the art form itself could be lost with an automated zone. “Catchers have been among the worst hitters in baseball—and sometimes the very worst offensive performers in a given season.” Their advanced prowess behind the plate could justify a less productive bat, but that prowess could hit a wall if an automated zone takes away their pitch framing skills.
If catchers actually end up turning into a “second DH,” this would put top hitting catchers at a premium—even more valuable than they already are.
The Rockies may have already seen how scarce the position can be this offseason. General manager Jeff Bridich expressed interest in acquiring a catcher this winter, and a right-handed-hitting backstop would complement the left-handed bat of Tony Wolters. The switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal could have fit the bill, but the price tag may have easily been too high.
Colorado signed catchers Elias Díaz and Drew Butera this offseason, both as spring non-roster invitees. Both do bat right handed, and Díaz appeared in over 100 big league games for Pittsburgh last year. He slashed a .429/.458./.571 during spring training.
Blackmon: “I love the strategy of, ‘What am I going to do about this pitcher hitting? Am I going to send him back out there? What’s my matchup? Who’s left on my bench?’ I mean, I think that really changes the game.”
As far as Charlie Blackmon’s playing preference is concerned, “I personally don’t like DH’ing a whole lot. I feel like I’m not like a legitimate part of the team that day.” A Denver Post article from May 15 said the “most obvious choices to be the [Rockies’} main designated hitters in 2020 would be [Daniel] Murphy, Blackmon and Ian Desmond.”
Major League Baseball will likely utilize the universal DH if play is to resume this year. This may be the precursor to a permanent change, as a new collective bargaining agreement in the coming years could finalize it.
Bud Black said in that same Denver Post article that everyday players like Arenado, Story, Blackmon, Dahl and Murphy don’t like to DH. “They’d rather play.”
MLB.com released an article addressing the great random seasons from non-Hall of Famers over the last 40 years. Each team has a representative; Kyle Freeland in 2018 was Colorado’s nominee.
“This might be the best pitching season in Rockies history.” By WAR, it was. 2010 Ubaldo Jiménez is second; 1999 Pedro Astacio is third.
Today is Tuesday—that means we have another proposal the league will present to MLB players.
An initial ‘return proposal’ was presented to the players’ union two weeks ago, so today’s new proposal suggests that progress is being made toward a return. The extent of said progress could easily be reflected in news headlines throughout the day, once the proposal specifics are released.
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