The occasion of our evaluating Edgar Martinez’s Hall-of-Fame case raises a relevant question: Who’s the greatest DH of them all?
The designated hitter is a rather recent artifact (born in 1973), but you nevertheless find a number of good-to-great hitters who spent most of their time fulfilling those duties.
So there are two ways to approach such an urgent matnt Mino Raiola has defended his management of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.Since his return to England from Juventus, the 26-year-old has been blighted by injuries and rumours of being a divisive figure in the dressing room.Speaking to Spoter. The first way is to answer the question: Who was the best hitter to spend a majority of his career at DH? If that’s the guiding query, then the discussion will be a brief one. It’s Frank Thomas (career OPS+ of 156), and it’s not a close call.
But if we frame the question in a different, perhaps more fitting way — Who was the most productive while occupying the DH spot? — then things get more interesting. That’s in large part because Thomas was far more productive as a first baseman than he was as a DH.
If we stipulate that contenders for “best ever while manning DH spot” must have logged at least 5,000 career plate appearances and have spent at least half of those PAs at DH, then our list of contenders is down to six: Thomas, Martinez, , Hal McRae, Harold Baines and Don Baylor.
Let’s compare some numbers, shall we? Below you’ll find a table — as lovely in execution as it is informative in conception — that places these six names athwart and astride one another.
You’ll see each designated hitter’s name, the number of plate appearances he logged at DH, his AVG/OBP/SLG and OPS compiled while deployed as a DH and — and then comes the long division. Actually, it’s pretty simple. Under the heading “OPS/Avg. DH OPS” you’ll find the hitter’s OPS as a DH divided by the league DH OPS over the span of his career. Ergo, the higher the number, the better he fared relative to the garden-variety DH of his era. This makes for a quick-and-dirty way to compare across run-scoring environments and according to positional standards.
To the digits …
Who is the greatest DH?PlayerPA as DHAVG/OBP/SLGOPS as DHOPS/Avg. DH OPSEdgar Martinez6,218.314/.428/.532.9591.21David Ortiz6,523.288/.384/.557.9411.16Frank Thomas5,698.275/.394/.505.8991.12Hal McRae5,917.294/.357/.463.8201.10Harold Baines6,618.291/.370/.467.8371.07Don Baylor5,391.259/.344/.449.7921.06Sorted by OPS/Avg. DH OPS
As you can see, Martinez, our candidate in question, distinguishes himself. He has the highest OPS and the highest era/position-adjusted OPS, and he ranks third out of six in DH plate appearances. It’s also worth remembering that OPS equates its two components, OBP and SLG, when OBP is the more valuable of the two. Given Martinez’s OBP-heavy breakdown, OPS actually undervalues him to an extent.
Park effects? Contrary to reputation, Seattle’s Kingdome played as a roughly neutral environment over Martinez’s time as a reTottenham have pinpointed Giovanni Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele as their primary transfer targets.Both players have impressed manager Mauricio Pochettino this season.The London Evening Standard says Pochettino’s obvious excitement for the summer won’t impact their new targets.Both clubs are widely touted as top talents.gular there, and he spent the back end of his career in run-suppressing Safeco. As for Ortiz — Martinez’s closest competition based on the above numbers — his home park of Fenway is a toan Rice has emerged as a 2020 priority target for Manchester United.Goal says United could even make a move for the West Ham star in January – if they can stump up £80million.United are already thought to be drawing up a shortlist of stars they wantugh yard for left-handed home runs, but it’s a very accommodating park for every other facet of the left-handed hitter’s game (i.e., singles, doubles and triples). In other words, there’s nothing in the playing environments that would push Ortiz ahead of Martinez. That’s to say nothing of the fact that Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs each rate Martinez as the better base-runner of the two.
Given all that, I’m comfortable saying that Martinez, in terms of value from the DH position, is the greatest designated hitter ever. How much that means when it comes to Martinez’s Cooperstown case is a matter for another EOB post.
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