Collette Calls: The Impact of the Universal DH

Collette Calls: The Impact of the Universal DH

This article is part of our Collette Calls series.

The 60-game season was a bit of a laboratory as both the league and its teams tried different rules, strategies and approaches to the abbreviated season. What can we learn from it?

First, the Universal DH may be here to stay. Baseball has a track record of leaving things in once they're introduced. The league has not yet announced whether it and the MLBPA have agreed on the path forward, but eliminating pitching did not have the type of massive impact hypothesized when the rule change was introduced this summer.

The final numbers for pitching in the National League show little difference from the 2019 numbers. 

STAT

2019

2020

K%

23.6%

23.1%

BB%

8.6%

9.3%

AVG

.247

.242

WHIP

1.32

1.33

BABIP

.295

.292

LOB%

72.7%

71.5%

FIP

4.44

4.46

ERA

4.39

4.48

HR/9

1.36

1.34

In 2019, 20 of the 162 games a National League team played were interleague opponents, but only half of those games would involve the DH, so six percent of NL games involved the DH whereas 100 percent of 2020 games involved it. In theory, we would absolutely see a rise in production from the ninth spot in the lineup, but we would also expect to see a noticeable change from the eight spot in the lineup. It is no secret NL pitchers tend to pitch around that spot in the lineup and take their chances facing the pitcher early in games, or forcing the opposing manager to go to the bullpen earlier than desired

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Collette
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. He covers the Tampa Bay Rays at theprocessreport.net. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Sleeper and the Bust podcast on iTunes. An eight-time FSWA finalist, Jason won the FSWA's Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year award in 2013 and the Baseball Series of the Year award in 2018 for Collette Calls.
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