A thought ocurred to me during this interleague stretch.
Why don’t pitchers hit?
The best argument for the DH seems to be that no one wants to watch a lineup with an automatic out. But, I never actually questioned why pitchers are presumed to be terrible hitters. There is no specific quality about a pitcher that makes them an obviously bad hitter. Aren’t these guys really good athletes? Can you be a Major League pitcher and not be athletic? Also, they probably played a position as an amateur. Didn’t they hit then?
I remember when we drafted Josh Hamilton in 1999. The consensus among all scouts was that Hamilton was absolutely the #1 pick whether he wanted to pitch or play outfield in the big leagues. (Remembers, Josh Beckett was the #2 pick that year. That’s how much of a stud Hamilton is. He was a better pitching prospect than Josh Beckett.) So, if Hamilton chose to be a pitcher, does that mean he would have been a bad big league hitter?
Seems to me the only logical answer to this question comes in the minor-league player development system. All minor league teams, including those affiliated with a National League parent club, use a DH. I suppose this is to make sure the position-player prospects get as many at bats as possible. So, professional pitchers don’t hit unless they start a game in the National League. That means they aren’t good Major League hitters beacuse they are inexperienced, not because they are incapable.
Look at our starting rotation. These guys are stud athletes. And, based on their interleague BP sessions, they obviously love to hit. Are you telling me that David Price couldn’t be a better pinch-hit option late in a game than Will Rhymes? Are you telling me Jeremy Hellickson wouldn’t make more sense against a lefty out of the bullpen than Molina?
If we teach our pitchers to hit, we automatically make our team that much deeper than every other team in baseball. We have the athletes to do it. In fact, we have the athletes in the minor leagues to start developing right now. Isn’t that right in Joe Maddon’s wheelhouse? Lets break the mold on this stupid notion that pitchers are incompetent at the plate.
What am I missing?