At no position was the AL East as bad as they were collectively at the designated hitter position, especially with players with strong track records.
There was no other position in which the AL East performed worse than the designated hitter position, which was surprising given the track records of many of the hitters.
For example, Corey Dickerson and Tampa were fifth in the preseason rankings. They won’t be that low in this edition.
However, I also had Mark Trumbo and the Orioles fourth, wondering if Trumbo could repeat his strong 2016 season (he most definitely could not).
Those preseason rankings were:
5. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
3. Toronto Blue Jays
2. New York Yankees
1. Boston Red Sox
As with other positions, only those players who started more than 10 games at DH will be listed. For most teams that isn’t a large number, but there is an outlier you will see.
I’ll be honest, I did not realize how bad the DH position was in the AL East in 2017. These guys, with one exception, were abjectly not good. And that one exception only played 55 games at the position, as he was primarily a starting right fielder. I had to redo a lot of my original thoughts after looking at statistics. To think Mark Trumbo, Matt Holliday, Kendrys Morales and Hanley Ramirez would combine for a negative offensive WAR is unbelievable.
5. Boston Red Sox – Hanley Ramirez, Chris Young
Looking at the primary DHs, most of them have pretty good track records, depending on what you think of Corey Dickerson. Mark Trumbo at least has a power track record. But, a few of them are also getting close to retirement. Those guys are Hanley Ramirez, Matt Holliday and Kendrys Morales.
Well, HanRam comes in fifth, as his season was not very good. He hit .242/.320/.429 with 23 home runs, 24 doubles, 62 runs batted in and 58 runs scored in 133 games with 116 strikeouts. Again, not really good, and Young didn’t have a good year either.
Unlike others at this position, Ramirez actually can play a defensive position (first base), although 2017 was much worse defensively than 2016, and the sabermetrics judged Ramirez accordingly, with a -1.2 dWAR and some other ugly numbers too.
Ramirez actually had a negative offensive WAR as well at -0.1. I originally had the Red Sox fourth, but after considering the numbers and the secondary DHs, I had to switch Baltimore and Boston. Part of my bias may have been because I watched so much of Trumbo I saw how terrible he was.
A lot more will be expected from the Red Sox $22.75M DH in 2018.