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Allow pitchers to hit?


With the impending influx of pitchers who can also hit a little bit (Odorizzi, Lintz, Lasker...), does anyone think it would be a good idea to let these guys hit for themselves in the low minors? It's always bothered me that pitchers in our system don't hit at all until AA, and that's only when we're not playing at an American League affiliate. It's hard to expect them to handle the bat very well once they make the jump to the bigs when they've only been swinging for a year or so after a several year layoff. Clearly Gallardo and Parra have held their own despite these conditions, but it still seems like a disadvantage to go so long without hitting.

 

There are some obvious drawbacks I can think of:

a. Giving at bats to pitchers takes at bats away from position players, but those players are typically going to be non-prospects. Plus, if you only allow certain pitchers to hit (i.e. the ones you think will actually be hitting in Milwaukee one day), you could still save plenty of at bats for the DH over the course of the season.

b. Spurning the DH puts the team at an obvious disadvantage, but the minors are for developing players, not winning games.

c. Pitchers could be more likely to get injured swinging the bat or running the bases. This seems like the only reasonable argument against letting the pitchers hit, but it doesn't seem like Major League pitchers hurt themselves this way very often, so minor league pitchers shouldn't either.

 

Finally, you could argue that we just want our pitchers concentrating on their pitching and not wasting time worrying about hitting. But just as you work on pitchers' fielding practice and pickoff moves, I think you should work on hitting. It's not a pitcher's most important job, but it's part of being successful.

 

Given that Jack Z. appeared to target athletic pitchers who can hit, I wonder if the organization is looking to acquire/develop players who can succeed in all phases of the game, which might make them more inclined to do something like this. I doubt we have the next Micah Owings on our hands, but it would be pretty exciting if a couple of these kids could hit at least like Gallardo. Well, ok, I'd settle for them just pitching like Gallardo, but I still think it's worth thinking about.

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I like the idea in principle, but I'm not sure how you apply sit since every team has young bats that aren't getting enough ABs the way it is. When they hit AA, most of the "fluff" is gone, so they wouldn't be taking ABs from an Angel Salome, Taylor Green, and so on. Typically your better hitters DH on their "off day".

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I've thought about this before. I wouldn't advocate your plan, but suggest a slightly modified one. Say a starter starts on Monday, I'd consider DH'ing him on Tues, Wed, and Thurs.

 

I like the idea of increasing your expected return on a huge investment by letting a player specialize in one aspect of the game (hitting or pitching) while dabbling in the other. I think of how Van Benschoten could have been a stud hitter, but by not hitting for a few years, the holes in his swing have grown. He likely will never thrive as a pitcher now, thanks to his shoulder injuries, but he also has lost significant time developing his swing.

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Catching prospects (Lucroy & Salome) spend most of their off days as a DH.

 

It is certainly more important they they continue to get at bats than a pitcher.

 

However, watching Sheets bat is frustrating - so I see your point. Maybe more emphasis on batting for pitchers in practice, but no need to take it into the game.

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Almost always no, but I'd be up for finding creative ways to get a special talent into the lineup. JVB, as mentioned above, or any of the guys this year that were prospects both ways would qualify. Most pitchers though, no.
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However, watching Sheets bat is frustrating - so I see your point. Maybe more emphasis on batting for pitchers in practice, but no need to take it into the game.

 

Part of me still wonders how hard Sheets "tries" when he's up to bat. He's almost admitted in the past when he's up he's out. All I ask for is effort, but I do think there's something to said about the basics of batting. I'd be completely satisfied if the pitchers could lay down bunts on a somewhat consistent basis, but that might be asking too much.

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Yeah I would just let pitchers hit if they were stud hitters in HS and College and drafted as the possibility of being either/or. Otherwise, I couldn't really see that the injury risk would be work the benefit of having a .180 hitter over a .130 hitter. And I just threw those numbers out there. Who's to say giving them those extra AB's would even help.
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