Ranking The AL East Position By Position: Designated Hitters
This was a difficult “position” to rank, as there are really only two true DH’s in the AL East in David Ortiz and Edwin Encarnacion. Most other teams will use a revolving door at DH to give their players some rest, but I’ve compiled the candidates to spend the most time there.
July 13, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
1. David Ortiz- Boston Red Sox: If Ortiz is healthy, there’s no denying he’s the best DH in baseball. Before hurting his ankle rounding second in July, Ortiz was an absolute stud for the Red Sox as he batted .318/.415/.611 with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs in 90 games. After Ortiz’s injury, the offense basically failed for the rest of the year, lending credence to the fact that he is the plug which makes the offense go. The Red Sox re-signed Ortiz to a 2 year/$26 million contract this winter, rewarding him for his excellent play the last two (and hopefully next two) years.
Sep 20, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) singles during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
2. Edwin Encarnacion- Toronto Blue Jays: It’s unrealistic to expect Encarnacion to play like he did in 2012, but oh boy did he have a good year. Encarnacion batted .280/.384/.557 with 42 home runs and 110 RBIs, finishing second in the league in home runs and becoming one the league’s most feared hitters. Encarnacion also adds value in the fact that he can play first and third base as well, although he shouldn’t need to if all goes according to plan. It will be very interesting to see just how many home runs Encarnacion can hit in 2013, but he won’t be a surprise this time around.
Apr 17, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Baltimore Orioles left fielderNolan Reimold
hits a two-run home run during the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
3. Nolan Reimold- Baltimore Orioles: Reimold was injured for nearly all of the 2012 season, but when he was healthy, he raked for the Orioles. In just 16 games, he batted .313/.333/.627 with 5 home runs and 10 RBIs. Reimold will likely play a role as the fourth outfielder and designated hitter in 2013, and hopefully his potential will finally pan out. As a prospect, he was projected to hit for power and some average and 2013 will be a very important year in deciding whether or not he’ll reach said potential.
Oct 14, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees third basemanAlex Rodriguez
hits a single against the Detroit Tigers in the 9th inning during game two of the 2012 ALCS at Yankee Stadium. The Tigers won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
4. Alex Rodriguez- New York Yankees: Rodriguez would likely be ranked ahead of Reimold if he wasn’t scheduled to be out until the All-Star break in July. When healthy, he can still be an effective (if not good) player as he batted .272/.353/.430 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs in 122 games. Once he returns, he and Kevin Youkilis will probably switch off between third base and DH. At this point in his career, it’s not likely for Rodriguez to get any better, but he will need to cut down on his strikeouts and do better in the clutch to keep a starting job.
August 17, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstopSean Rodriguez
(1) hits an RBI single in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
5. Sean Rodriguez- Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are another team who is unlikely to play with one main DH. However, when nobody in the lineup is in need of a rest, that man looks to be Sean Rodriguez. Rodriguez had an awful year in 2012, batting .213/.281/.326 with 6 home runs and 32 RBIs in 112 games. However, offense never really has been the mantra of the Rays.