Reviewing the AL East 2015 Projections: Designated Hitter


Sep 28, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) hits a solo home run during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In looking back at the Baltimore Orioles / AL East year-end review, as usual, we will look at people who started 10 or more games at DH.

This is sadly yet another area where the Orioles did not live up to hopes and expectations.

Preseason Rankings

  1. Boston Red Sox – David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Allen Craig
  2. Baltimore Orioles – Delmon Young, Steve Pearce
  3. New York Yankees – Alex Rodriguez, Garrett Jones, Chris Young
  4. Toronto Blue Jays – Dioner Navarro, Justin Smoak, Edwin Encarnacion
  5. Tampa Bay Rays – John Jaso, Brandon Guyer

End of Season Rankings

1 – Toronto Blue Jays – Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Chris Colabello, Dioner Navarro

Encarnacion started the majority of games at DH and he was as good as usual, despite dealing with a lingering injury at the end of the season: BA of .277, 39 HR, 111 RBIs, 31 doubles, 94 runs. Another great year from the Jays’ slugger.

And we have already discussed at length how good Jose was, as well as Colabello’s career year. So the Jays at number one is a very easy decision.

2 – Boston Red Sox – David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez

So, all those rumors about a down year for Ortiz? Yes, it started bad, but he ended up hitting .273 with 37 HRs, 108 RBis, 144 H, 37 doubles, 73 runs. I’d say that is pretty darn good for a “down year” from Ortiz.

The only reason that Ortiz is in second is because the Jays’ top two at DH both had very good seasons, better than Ortiz. Ramirez was a good fit at DH, as his defensive issues in left field were pronounced, as discussed here.

3 – New York Yankees – Alex Rodriguez

I wanted to put Rodriguez higher. Let’s be honest, no one expected what A-Rod put up this year. I said in my preview that no one knew what to expect, and Garrett Jones and Chris Young would keep the Yanks in third even if A-rod didn’t play much.

A .250 average, 33 HRs, 86 RBIs, 83 runs, 22 doubles. No, A-Rod can’t play the field anymore. And the legs aren’t there to run for a lot of extra bases. Rodriguez also wore down as the season went on, as his average was much higher earlier in the year.

But for a guy who many thought might just be a distraction, he had a very successful season. And he is currently on my TV set, working the World Series for FOX. Could you have imagined that when the season started?

4 – Baltimore Orioles – Jimmy Paredes, Chris Davis, Steve Clevenger, Matt Wieters

Jimmy Paredes started 81 Orioles games as the DH. Part of this is because of how well he was hitting to start the year. Part of it was because he was so bad in the field. Paredes hit .275 with 10 HRs, 42 RBIs, 17 doubles, 46 runs. Not bad numbers, but the fact that Paredes was setting the world on fire at first, and then slumped badly in the second half left a sour taste in the mouth of O’s fans.

Davis also saw some time at DH, as did Steve Clevenger when the team carried three catchers, which also allowed Matt Wieters to DH. In the end, the numbers for DH are pretty decent. But, the fact that almost all Paredes’ damage came in the first six weeks he played in 2015 bring it down a few notches.

5. Tampa Bay Rays – John Jaso, Joey Butler, David DeJesus, Tim Beckham, Evan Longoria, Grady Sizemore

The Rays had numerous players play at least 10 games at DH. Jaso had good numbers, as did a couple other of these players. But, when you are the Rays and are offensively starved, you need the RBIs from these guys.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Jaso hit .286, 5 HRs, 22 RBIs, 23 runs. Not bad numbers for someone who only played 43 games at DH. If Jaso would have been able to play a full season, the Rays would likely be higher.

But, DeJesus and Beckham are not DH types. Longoria only played a few games at DH, and Sizemore is on the waning years of his career. All in all, just not enough from the designated hitters for the Rays.

Orioles Outlook

Up in the air, just like so many other positions. The O’s prefer to not have one player who is the main DH, unlike the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. And so, it will be whoever their fourth outfielder is, or maybe their extra infielder.

Next: Orioles Right Field Review

The Birds were expected to use Delmon Young and Steve Pearce as primary DHs in 2015, but both had down years compared to 2014. They both also were forced to start in the field due to the major problems for the corner outfielders, and also injuries.

Pearce may be a DH candidate for the O’s in 2016, as he is expected to be re-signed by the O’s.