2023 Positional Power Rankings: Designated Hitter

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

We conclude our rankings of the game’s position players with a deep dive on designated hitters.

Does anyone miss seeing pitchers hit? My guess is that the vast majority of you don’t, and for good reason. Pitchers have become increasingly dominant, which only increases the value of quality hitters, many of whom are utilized at the DH position. Some, like 42-year-old Nelson Cruz, fit the 1973 Orlando Cepeda mold, while others, like Shohei Ohtani… well, there are no others like Shohei Ohtani. If there has ever been a baseball unicorn, the Angels’ two-way superstar is just that.

Not all of players who see time at DH are defensive liabilities. Some clubs are blessed with positional depth and are looking for a way to fit a player into the lineup — Giancarlo Stanton and AJ Pollock are examples — while for others, it’s a matter of safeguarding health. Byron Buxton and Tyler Stephenson stand out in this regard.

And then there are platoons, matchups, and simply giving players days off from the field. As you scroll through the rankings, you’ll see a variety of profiles, including hitters who will more often that not be wearing a glove for the majority of their games. To a large degree, DH is the most flexible position in the game.

Now, on with the rankings!

2023 Positional Power Rankings – DH
1. Angels
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Shohei Ohtani 630 .261 .353 .520 .369 29.3 -0.1 0.0 3.5
Anthony Rendon 35 .264 .359 .442 .350 1.1 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Mike Trout 21 .267 .374 .556 .392 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.2
Brandon Drury 14 .244 .299 .426 .315 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .261 .353 .515 .367 31.9 -0.1 0.0 3.8

The best baseball player in the world is a pitcher/DH who hails from Japan. Five years into his major league career — this after the same number of seasons in NPB — are there any superlatives left to describe Shohei Ohtani? The 28-year-old superstar has not only revolutionized the game — along with Angels teammate Mike Trout, he is part of the conversation when the subject turns to the best players in baseball history. Dominating both on the mound and in the batter’s box is the reason why, but for this writeup we’ll just cite some of his offensive bona fides. Per Statcast, Ohtani ranks in the 97th percentile for average exit velocity and in the 100th percentile for maximum exit velocity. Over the past two seasons, he’s banged out 80 home runs while logging a 146 wRC+. Oh, and he also just happened to help lead Team Japan to the WBC title. Again, are there really any superlatives left?

The Angels’ other superstar is also in line to log DH time, and there isn’t much left to say about his greatness either. Trout is a shoo-in first-ballot Hall of Famer, and it will be a crime if he isn’t unanimous. Anthony Rendon, who has played just 95 games the past two seasons due to injuries, will also see time in this bat-only role.

2. Astros
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Michael Brantley 308 .287 .351 .420 .337 7.5 -0.7 0.0 0.9
Yordan Alvarez 210 .293 .384 .577 .406 16.6 -0.2 0.0 1.9
José Abreu 63 .276 .348 .449 .347 2.0 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Jose Altuve 42 .277 .353 .470 .357 1.7 0.0 0.0 0.2
J.J. Matijevic 28 .222 .290 .407 .303 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Yainer Diaz 28 .259 .298 .423 .313 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Alex Bregman 14 .269 .376 .470 .368 0.7 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Kyle Tucker 7 .280 .349 .519 .371 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .283 .357 .473 .359 29.0 -1.1 0.0 3.4

Michael Brantley is often cited as an exemplary teammate, and he’s just as often referred to as “a professional hitter.” The former is impossible to quantify, but to the extent the latter can be, the numbers support the claim. Since 2014, the son of former big league outfielder Mickey Brantley has batted .300 or better five times (six if you count 2020), and his mark over that nine-year period is .307. Only Jose Altuve (.313) has a higher average. More importantly, Brantley has a .370 OBP and a 129 wRC+ over that stretch. ZiPS projects a 124 wRC+ this year for the 35-year-old veteran outfielder.

Yordan Alvarez is on the short list of the best left-handed hitters in the game. The 25-year-old outfielder has a 160 wRC+ over the past two seasons — only Aaron Judge ranks higher — and last year, that number was 185. Moreover, Alvarez has hit 70 homers in his two full seasons, plus five more in postseason action. José Abreu, signed as a free agent in November, has averaged 31 home runs over his nine big league seasons and was the AL MVP with the White Sox in 2020.

3. Phillies
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Bryce Harper 252 .273 .377 .514 .379 13.1 -0.3 0.0 1.6
Kyle Schwarber 175 .234 .339 .496 .359 6.4 -0.2 0.0 0.8
Nick Castellanos 154 .261 .313 .442 .326 1.6 -0.1 0.0 0.3
J.T. Realmuto 49 .257 .326 .441 .333 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.1
Jake Cave 35 .232 .299 .396 .303 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Darick Hall 14 .226 .298 .435 .317 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Alec Bohm 14 .273 .324 .409 .320 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Trea Turner 7 .292 .345 .471 .353 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .257 .343 .477 .352 22.0 -0.4 0.0 2.9

Injuries are threatening to derail Philadelphia’s chances of returning to the World Series, muddling their DH plans in the process. The team was already set to be without Bryce Harper until around the All-Star break as the former MVP works back from offseason Tommy John surgery. Then last Thursday, Rhys Hoskins suffered a torn ACL that is likely to sideline him for the year, necessitating further lineup shuffling. Harper is expected to initially DH once he returns later this season (the exact ETA is still TBD) but until that time, any one of Nick Castellanos, Darick Hall, or Kyle Schwarber (just to name three) could end up filling the role. All are fully able, but just who plays first base, the corner outfield spots, and the bat-only position is a question that Dave Dombrowski and Co. will need to answer soon. Dombrowski being Dombrowski, a deal to bring another hitter on board is very much a possibility.

The current situation could give the 27-year-old Hall, this whether he plays first or DHs, an opportunity to prove himself as a middle-of-the-order bat. A proven power hitter in the minors — he has 89 home runs over the last three full seasons — he went deep nine times in 42 games after making his big league debut at end of June.

4. Blue Jays
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Brandon Belt 238 .237 .337 .445 .340 6.4 -0.5 0.0 0.8
Alejandro Kirk 168 .276 .360 .445 .352 6.1 -0.6 0.0 0.7
Danny Jansen 133 .236 .315 .447 .331 2.6 -0.2 0.0 0.3
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 119 .288 .364 .533 .383 7.3 -0.2 0.0 0.8
George Springer 35 .261 .343 .484 .357 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.2
Cavan Biggio 7 .224 .336 .371 .316 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .256 .343 .462 .349 23.8 -1.6 0.0 2.8

The Blue Jays have one of the best offenses in baseball, with Brandon Belt now a part of that equation. Inked to a free-agent contract in January, the erstwhile San Francisco Giant comes to Toronto with a track record that includes six seasons with 17 or more home runs, including 29 in 2021, as well as a 124 wRC+ for his career. As is the case for a number of players on these rankings, he is an established hitter joining a new team while coming off of a down season. ZiPS expects him to return to, if not slightly exceed, his previous norms. That projection includes 19 jacks and a 132 wRC+.

Alejandro Kirk, who possesses some of the best bat-to-ball skills in either league, is slated to split time between catcher and DH. The 5-foot-8, 245-pound right-handed hitter has an 11.1% strikeout rate in 755 big league plate appearances and a 124 wRC+. He’s also got some pop, as evidenced by last season’s 14 fence-clearers. Kirk also had 14 infield hits last year, although you might want to bet the under on that number going forward. Danny Jansen and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will also get DH time on days they aren’t wearing gloves.

5. Yankees
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Giancarlo Stanton 441 .244 .328 .481 .349 15.0 -1.5 0.0 1.7
DJ LeMahieu 98 .274 .350 .397 .331 1.9 -0.1 0.0 0.3
Gleyber Torres 63 .261 .326 .441 .333 1.3 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Aaron Judge 42 .279 .385 .568 .402 3.2 0.0 0.0 0.4
Josh Donaldson 35 .225 .320 .402 .318 0.3 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Anthony Rizzo 14 .244 .346 .448 .346 0.4 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Willie Calhoun 7 .243 .313 .400 .313 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .251 .334 .465 .346 22.2 -1.8 0.0 2.6

The Bombers will be looking for a rebound season from their most physically imposing slugger. That’s not to say that Giancarlo Stanton had a particularly bad season — many players would gladly take his numbers — it’s more that 31 home runs and a 115 wRC+ is below the Brobdingnagian slugger’s standards. Stanton has a 140 career wRC+, and his home run totals in his fully healthy seasons include a 59, a 38, a pair of 37s, and a 35. A pair of relatively minor injuries landed him on the shelf last year, limiting him to 110 games. Next to Aaron Judge, there might not be a bigger right-handed power threat in baseball.

Exactly where DJ LeMahieu best fits on the Yankees roster is hard to determine, but wherever he plays, you can expect him to hit. The 34-year-old infielder won a batting title with the Rockies in 2016 and another with the Yankees in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. His average has dropped to .268 and .261 in the past two seasons — a foot fracture was a contributing factor last year — but his OBP has remained near his .356 norm, his wRC+ rebounded to 116 in 2022, and he reliably puts together — excuse the cliche — professional at-bats. Gleyber Torres, whose future role is in question with Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza arriving on the scene, should also get DH opportunities.

6. Padres
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Nelson Cruz 350 .244 .321 .407 .318 3.3 -1.2 0.0 0.5
Matt Carpenter 133 .218 .327 .403 .322 1.8 -0.4 0.0 0.3
Fernando Tatis Jr. 84 .274 .355 .569 .391 5.7 0.4 0.0 0.7
Juan Soto 77 .278 .430 .512 .406 6.1 -0.1 0.0 0.7
Manny Machado 21 .267 .340 .472 .347 0.7 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Xander Bogaerts 14 .268 .346 .428 .339 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.1
Rougned Odor 14 .220 .291 .401 .302 -0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Luis Campusano 7 .239 .299 .383 .300 -0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .247 .339 .438 .338 18.0 -1.3 0.0 2.4

Nelson Cruz is the clock that keeps ticking. It took the 42-year-old slugger awhile to get rolling — he had 140 hits and 22 home runs through his age-27 season — but once he did, he became a stud. Since establishing himself with Texas in 2009, Cruz has homered 437 times, the highest total in baseball. How much longer he can outlast father time is the question. Cruz is coming off of a career-worst season as a full-time player, as he went yard just 10 times while logging an 85 wRC+ with the Washington Nationals. San Diego signed him with hopes that he can turn back the clock, and maybe he can — offseason eye surgery could be the panacea — but that might be a bit much to ask given his age.

Matt Carpenter is no spring chicken either. While almost a babe in arms compared to Cruz — the longtime Cardinal is 37 — he is likewise looking to defy father time. He did so last year in a small sample. After retooling his swing in the offseason, Carpenter was signed off the scrap heap by the Yankees in late May — he’d been released by the Rangers a week earlier — and proceeded to slash a stupendous .305/.412/.712 in 154 plate appearances. He then fractured his left foot in early August and missed the remainder of the regular season.

7. White Sox
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Eloy Jiménez 441 .270 .326 .488 .351 14.9 -0.6 0.0 1.8
Gavin Sheets 77 .246 .307 .423 .318 0.6 -0.2 0.0 0.1
Jake Burger 63 .232 .290 .403 .302 -0.3 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Andrew Vaughn 49 .266 .331 .467 .346 1.5 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Yoán Moncada 35 .249 .328 .410 .323 0.4 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Oscar Colas 21 .245 .292 .410 .304 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Luis Robert Jr. 14 .278 .324 .467 .342 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .262 .320 .465 .340 17.4 -1.0 0.0 2.2

The White Sox were arguably the majors’ most disappointing team last year, and not having Eloy Jiménez available for the full season contributed to that disappointment. Injuries limited the Santo Domingo native to 84 games, which is actually 29 more than he’d played in 2021. An impact bat when healthy — he had a 144 wRC+ and 16 long balls in 327 plate appearances last year — Jiménez is now dealing with a bruised rib and cramping in his right calf. The extent to which the defensively-limited outfielder/DH should be labeled injury prone is subjective, but one thing seems certain: The White Sox offense is a lot better when he’s in the lineup.

Gavin Sheets, Jake Burger, and Andrew Vaughn likewise have bat-first profiles. Most notable among that trio is Vaughn, who was drafted third overall in 2019 out of Cal-Berkeley and entered pro ball with sky-high expectations. Much like the more recently drafted Spencer Torkelson, he has yet to live up to them — which isn’t say he won’t. The right-handed swinger rebounded from a meh rookie season to slash a competitive .271/.321/.429 with 17 dingers last year. He still has a chance to be a star. Neither Sheets nor Burger has that potential, although both have the ability to contribute to a big league lineup.

8. Rays
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Harold Ramírez 280 .273 .316 .404 .314 3.0 -0.4 0.0 0.5
Yandy Díaz 161 .277 .374 .418 .350 6.3 -0.5 0.0 0.7
Brandon Lowe 84 .245 .329 .470 .346 3.0 0.1 0.0 0.4
Randy Arozarena 70 .259 .334 .439 .336 2.0 -0.0 0.0 0.3
Isaac Paredes 42 .234 .328 .442 .336 1.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Luke Raley 21 .224 .304 .383 .304 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Jonathan Aranda 21 .247 .319 .388 .311 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Wander Franco 21 .284 .343 .455 .346 0.8 0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .265 .334 .421 .330 16.6 -0.9 0.0 2.2

The Rays have a way of finding hidden talent and Harold Ramírez is a prime example. Previously with the Marlins, Guardians, and Cubs, the 28-year-old outfielder/first baseman quietly slashed .300/.343/.404 with a 119 wRC+ in 435 plate appearances last year. A member of Team Colombia, Ramirez went 2-for-15 in the WBC. Tampa Bay hopes he can match last season’s production, though ZiPS is skeptical, projecting him to slash .266/.307/.392.

If you don’t follow the Rays closely, you might not realize that Yandy Díaz had an All-Star-quality season in 2022. Playing at both corners and occasionally DHing, the Sagua la Grande, Cuba native slashed an eye-opening .296/.401/.423 (146 wRC+) with 33 doubles and nine home runs. Regardless of whether you’ve noticed, the dude can hit. So too can Brandon Lowe, who struggled through an injury-marred 2022. A year earlier, he slugged 39 home runs.

9. Twins
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Byron Buxton 210 .250 .315 .517 .356 8.4 0.5 0.0 1.1
Trevor Larnach 147 .231 .312 .376 .303 -0.3 -0.3 0.0 0.0
Royce Lewis 119 .263 .323 .440 .332 2.5 0.1 0.0 0.4
Carlos Correa 63 .274 .353 .466 .355 2.5 -0.1 0.0 0.3
Matt Wallner 49 .215 .307 .384 .303 -0.1 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Jose Miranda 35 .276 .330 .443 .336 0.9 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Joey Gallo 28 .195 .325 .414 .326 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.1
Alex Kirilloff 21 .253 .313 .411 .316 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Christian Vázquez 14 .255 .304 .374 .298 -0.1 -0.1 0.0 -0.0
Donovan Solano 14 .278 .331 .393 .318 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .248 .320 .444 .332 14.6 0.0 0.0 2.0

Byron Buxton is an elite defensive center fielder when he’s healthy. Unfortunately for the Twins, those times have been all too rare, which is why the supremely talented 29-year-old is slated to at least start the season as the club’s DH. The hope is that Buxton can avoid the injured list, thus allowing him to more frequently take advantage of offensive skills that have produced 47 home runs and a 150 wRC+ over the past two campaigns. That he’s put up those numbers in 47% of the games Minnesota has played over that span is, of course, the issue at hand. Having Michael A. Taylor — himself an outstanding outfielder — available to handle center makes the plan plausible, but at the same time, Buxton would ideally be out there. Acknowledging the elusiveness of that ideal, the Twins are reluctantly resorting to a Plan B… at least for time being.

Trevor Larnach has a more traditional DH profile, as well as potential that exceeds his production to date. A 25-year-old left-handed hitter whom the Twins drafted 20th overall in 2018 out of Oregon State University, Larnach had a modest 102 wRC+ in 180 plate appearances last year. Royce Lewis, who was drafted first overall in 2017 out of a San Juan Capistrano high school, has an injury history that rivals Buxton’s. Assuming he can stay healthy, his ceiling is high.

10. Red Sox
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Justin Turner 357 .276 .353 .432 .344 8.1 -1.2 0.0 1.0
Rafael Devers 126 .286 .351 .523 .371 5.6 0.0 0.0 0.7
Trevor Story 91 .247 .318 .445 .329 1.0 0.3 0.0 0.2
Jorge Alfaro 49 .245 .287 .389 .295 -0.8 -0.1 0.0 -0.1
Triston Casas 35 .249 .347 .435 .342 0.7 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Bobby Dalbec 21 .221 .292 .422 .310 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Masataka Yoshida 21 .302 .379 .484 .370 0.9 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .270 .342 .448 .343 15.5 -1.0 0.0 2.0

Justin Turner replacing J.D. Martinez as Boston’s designated hitter is in many ways fitting, as both are aging sluggers with well-earned reputations as hitting nerds. Each has diligently studied his craft and reconstructed his swing, and to good effect. In Turner’s case, the result has been a 136 wRC+ from 2014 onward. Many view him as a future hitting coach. As for the here and now, Turner is heading into his first Red Sox season with ZiPS projecting him to approximate the 123 wRC+ and 13 home runs he had a year ago. He’ll also head into the season having received 16 stitches after taking a fastball to the face earlier this month. Fortunately for Boston’s new DH, there were no fractures or lost teeth, and he was back in the batter’s box two weeks later.

The Red Sox are hoping that Trevor Story can log a fair number of DH plate appearances by season’s end. The infielder is rehabbing from elbow surgery with hopes of returning at some point this summer. If he does, the plan is to utilize him almost exclusively as a hitter, with a full return to the infield not expected until next year.

11. Dodgers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
J.D. Martinez 525 .253 .322 .443 .331 9.2 -2.0 0.0 1.2
Will Smith 112 .255 .346 .475 .354 4.1 -0.3 0.0 0.5
Max Muncy 35 .229 .350 .439 .346 1.0 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Miguel Vargas 14 .262 .331 .419 .328 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Trayce Thompson 7 .216 .297 .430 .316 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Mookie Betts 7 .271 .354 .498 .368 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .252 .327 .447 .335 14.9 -2.4 0.0 2.0

Back when Mookie Betts won the AL MVP award while playing for the Red Sox in 2018, there were some who believed that he wasn’t the most impactful player on his own team. While Betts was clearly the top performer statistically — it’s hard to argue with 10.5 WAR — J.D. Martinez was lauded by several of his teammates for helping them become better hitters. New to the team that season, the influential outfielder/DH did more than just serve as a hitting guru; he put up a monster year of his own, slamming 43 home runs and registering a career-best 170 wRC+. Martinez is no longer that kind of slugger, but at age 35 he still has the ability to impact a baseball. He had 43 doubles and 16 home runs in the last of his five Red Sox seasons, and the Dodgers can reasonably expect much of the same in 2023.

Will Smith, who has developed into one of the top catchers in the game, will get DH at-bats when he’s not strapping on the tools of ignorance. That’s what good-hitting catchers (not that there are many of them, mind you) do in today’s game. The days of backstops strapping on the gear for 140-plus games a season are behind us.

12. Guardians
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Josh Bell 308 .254 .347 .421 .336 7.0 -1.0 0.0 0.9
Josh Naylor 217 .265 .329 .451 .337 5.1 -0.2 0.0 0.7
Oscar Gonzalez 56 .267 .300 .443 .319 0.5 -0.1 0.0 0.1
José Ramírez 56 .271 .354 .505 .363 2.5 0.2 0.0 0.3
Bo Naylor 42 .211 .301 .367 .297 -0.4 0.0 0.0 -0.0
Will Brennan 21 .265 .321 .385 .311 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .258 .335 .434 .334 14.7 -1.1 0.0 1.9

Josh Bell might be the key to Cleveland’s offense this season. Essentially a league-average unit last year, the Guardian’s offense was highly reliant on superstar third baseman José Ramírez, rookie sensation Steven Kwan, and Andrés Giménez, the last of whom had a career year that ZiPS doesn’t think he’ll come close to replicating. As for Bell, the 30-year-old switch-hitter comes to Cleveland via free agency on the heels of a 123 wRC+ season where he hit 17 jacks in stints with the Nationals and the Padres, though his bat swooned upon his arrival in San Diego (143 wRC+ vs. 79). ZiPS projects Bell to produce a bit less in 2023, while the Guardians are hoping he can replicate the 37 home run, 135 wRC+ output he had with Pittsburgh in 2019. If he does, Terry Francona’s pitching-rich club could far surpass last year’s run total.

Josh Naylor, who will hold down first base, has been one of the team’s few legitimate long-ball threats. The 25-year-old Mississauga, Canada native left the yard 20 times in 2022, and ZiPS likes his chances of doing essentially the same in 2023. The Guardians will once again rely primarily on contact and speed, but they will get power from their designated hitters.

13. Giants
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Joc Pederson 252 .246 .328 .452 .338 5.9 -0.3 0.0 0.8
Mitch Haniger 140 .252 .327 .443 .334 2.8 -0.3 0.0 0.4
Michael Conforto 126 .250 .346 .420 .337 2.8 -0.1 0.0 0.4
LaMonte Wade Jr. 70 .234 .331 .395 .321 0.7 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Blake Sabol 49 .234 .302 .377 .298 -0.4 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
J.D. Davis 35 .249 .338 .414 .330 0.6 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Wilmer Flores 21 .255 .327 .422 .328 0.3 -0.1 0.0 0.0
David Villar 7 .228 .316 .409 .320 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .246 .330 .430 .332 12.8 -1.0 0.0 1.9

Joc Pederson played center field for Team Israel in the WBC and has been working out at first base in spring camp, but his primary role this season will be to serve as a DH versus right-handed pitching. Tommy Pham’s fantasy football adversary is more than equipped to handle that job. Swinging from the left side, Pederson produced a 144 wRC+ last year while slugging 23 home runs, and most of his damage was done against opposite-handed hurlers. That was par for the course. Of Pederson’s 171 career long balls, just 13 have come versus southpaws.

Mitch Haniger, who handles both sides well, will get the majority of reps when a lefty is on the mound — when he’s healthy, that is. Currently dealing with an oblique strain, the 32-year-old erstwhile Seattle Mariner has dealt with multiple maladies over the years. He’s swung a productive stick when able. Haniger has a 122 wRC+ since breaking into the bigs in 2016, and ZiPS projects him to put up a 117 mark in the season to come. Michael Conforto, who signed as a free agent this winter, will also factor into the DH mix. Ditto LaMonte Wade Jr., who is returning from an injury-marred season and, as a coach mentioned to me last week, is working on a better load at the dish.

14. Brewers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jesse Winker 315 .250 .361 .423 .347 8.7 -1.4 0.0 1.1
William Contreras 126 .245 .317 .437 .328 1.7 -0.3 0.0 0.3
Christian Yelich 84 .247 .355 .411 .336 1.6 0.3 0.0 0.3
Brian Anderson 63 .230 .316 .388 .310 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Tyrone Taylor 49 .238 .299 .424 .315 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1
Rowdy Tellez 42 .249 .330 .479 .346 1.1 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Abraham Toro 21 .244 .318 .405 .317 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .246 .341 .424 .336 13.3 -1.6 0.0 1.9

Jesse Winker might be one of baseball’s best bounce-back candidates. Acquired by the Brewers from the Mariners over the offseason, the 29-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder is coming off of a career-worst year that saw him slash .219/.344/.344 with a 108 wRC+ while never quite fitting in with Seattle. In his five previous seasons, all with the Cincinnati Reds, he’d slashed .288/.385/.504 with a 132 wRC+. Assuming that he’s happy and healthy in his new home, Winker could easily surpass the 124 wRC+ that ZiPS is forecasting.

Keston Hiura had been pencilled in as the right-handed complement to Winker, but the club announced on Friday that the former first-round pick won’t be on the Opening Day roster; the team will explore a trade and if one can’t be found, Hiura will be placed on waivers, as he is out of minor league options. That opened up a spot for Luke Voit, who was inked to a minor league deal in February, but he opted out of his contract on Saturday. If the six-year veteran doesn’t subsequently sign a big league contract with the Brewers — which he might — William Contreras will likely slot into this role. The 25-year-old catcher came to Milwaukee in a three-team, nine-player trade in December after posting a 138 wRC+ in 376 plate appearances with Atlanta.

15. Marlins
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jorge Soler 420 .232 .322 .441 .333 8.4 -1.1 0.0 1.1
Garrett Cooper 126 .258 .335 .409 .328 2.0 -0.5 0.0 0.3
Luis Arraez 70 .304 .366 .407 .340 1.8 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Jazz Chisholm Jr. 42 .249 .313 .456 .333 0.8 0.1 0.0 0.1
Yuli Gurriel 21 .269 .319 .402 .315 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Avisaíl García 14 .245 .302 .387 .302 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Jesús Sánchez 7 .245 .312 .428 .322 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .247 .328 .431 .331 13.2 -1.6 0.0 1.8

Jorge Soler’s greatest asset is the Marlin’s biggest need, which isn’t necessarily great news for the Miami offense overall. Soler possesses plus raw power on a team that finished with the second fewest home runs in the National League last year; the one-time Kansas City Royals basher went deep just 13 times. That does come with a caveat. Soler dealt with back issues and came to the plate just 306 times, batting a paltry .207/.295/.400. Expecting the batting average and OBP to climb markedly is a reach — his career marks are .241 and .327 — but there’s a chance that the power numbers will jump. Soler slugged 48 homers with KC in 2019, a total he’s otherwise never come close to. The power-strapped Marlins would happily settle for half that number.

Garrett Cooper, who had a team-high 56 games at DH last season, flies under the radar as a quality big league hitter. There is nothing sexy about his game, but he does put together solid numbers. Over the last four campaigns, Cooper has quietly slashed .274/.350/.444 with a 119 wRC+ and 13 home runs annually. Much as Soler’s seasons are volatile, Cooper’s are consistent.

16. Royals
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Franmil Reyes 245 .243 .303 .444 .323 2.2 -0.6 0.0 0.3
Salvador Perez 175 .262 .304 .483 .337 3.5 -0.6 0.0 0.4
Vinnie Pasquantino 147 .276 .357 .475 .359 5.5 -0.3 0.0 0.7
MJ Melendez 105 .240 .323 .446 .334 1.8 -0.2 0.0 0.2
Nick Pratto 21 .219 .312 .405 .315 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Matt Beaty 7 .251 .322 .366 .306 -0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .254 .318 .459 .336 13.0 -1.7 0.0 1.7

Which player ends up spending the most time as Kansas City’s DH is a question that will be determined by a number of factors. Individual performance is obviously one of them, and so too are the health of outfielder Drew Waters and whether the Royals carry two or three catchers. MJ Melendez, who is a bat-first backstop by trade, is slated to begin the season in left field while Waters recovers an injury; once that happens, how much will KC trust his defense? Salvador Perez can only catch so many games, and the extent to which Freddy Fermin can be a reliable third catcher is TBD. As such, Melendez could end up DHing more often than this depth chart currently predicts.

Those things said, Franmil Reyes will carry the bulk of the load if he hits as well as the Royals hope. Reyes has monster power, but doesn’t always get to it. He’s coming off a season where he left the yard just 14 times and fanned 157 times while playing with the Guardians and Cubs.

Vinnie Pasquantino, who is close to establishing himself as Kansas City’s long-term first baseman, is also slated to see time at DH. The entertainingly verbose Team Italy talent swings a sweet bat, with his .295/.383/.450 rookie-year slash line a sign of things to come.

17. Mets
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Daniel Vogelbach 315 .221 .348 .401 .333 7.6 -1.1 0.0 1.0
Tommy Pham 133 .226 .315 .359 .301 -0.2 0.2 0.0 0.1
Darin Ruf 70 .222 .319 .392 .315 0.7 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Eduardo Escobar 63 .235 .294 .413 .306 0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Brett Baty 49 .251 .325 .415 .326 0.9 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Pete Alonso 21 .261 .348 .514 .366 1.1 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Jeff McNeil 14 .290 .351 .420 .338 0.4 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Francisco Álvarez 14 .219 .313 .401 .314 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Starling Marte 14 .267 .326 .417 .325 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0
Omar Narváez 7 .243 .323 .362 .304 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .229 .331 .398 .322 11.0 -1.3 0.0 1.7

Daniel Vogelbach had a career-best 128 wRC+ in last year’s pitcher-dominated season, and while ZiPS projects seven points less from him in 2023, anywhere in that range will suit the Mets just fine. Being 20 or so points above league average would make the slugger plenty valuable, especially if he continues to punish righties. While he’s never been much of a threat versus same-sided hurlers, Vogelbach has an .822 OPS and 61 of his 67 career home runs versus the opposite hand. All 18 of last year’s dingers came off of righties.

The well-traveled Tommy Pham — he’s played for five teams in the past five seasons — will be counted on to produce versus southpaws. His splits aren’t nearly as severe as Vogelbach’s, but he does do more of his damage against them. Unlike his presumed platoon partner, Pham isn’t coming off of a strong season. The outfielder had a 89 wRC+ last year, a number ZiPS thinks will climb nine points. The Mets are hoping for something closer to his 116 career mark.

Darin Ruf and Brett Baty merit mention here. The former is a reliable bat-first veteran with power, while the latter is an up-and-comer looking to supplant Eduardo Escobar as the starting third baseman. The loser of that position battle could fit into the DH mix.

18. Orioles
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Kyle Stowers 231 .235 .307 .415 .315 1.4 -0.3 0.0 0.3
Anthony Santander 154 .252 .314 .460 .335 3.4 -0.2 0.0 0.4
Adley Rutschman 133 .259 .359 .444 .352 4.8 0.1 0.0 0.6
Franchy Cordero 63 .234 .308 .406 .312 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.1
Ryan Mountcastle 56 .261 .317 .462 .336 1.3 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Ryan O’Hearn 28 .228 .294 .401 .303 -0.1 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Ramón Urías 21 .250 .319 .409 .319 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Terrin Vavra 14 .245 .335 .357 .310 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .246 .320 .431 .327 11.3 -0.5 0.0 1.6

The Baltimore Orioles have some of the most promising young talent in the game, and it extends well beyond ballyhooed phenoms like Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, and Grayson Rodriguez. Notable among the less-hyped is Stanford product Kyle Stowers, who debuted last season at age 24 and homered three times while slashing .253/.306/.418 over 98 plate appearances. As modest as those get-your-feet-wet numbers are, it bears noting that he also put up a 130 wRC+ with 19 home runs in Triple-A, and he’d raked at Double-A in 2021. The 2019 second-rounder quietly continues to square up baseballs.

Anthony Santander has largely flown under the radar — at least on a national level — for much the same reason: he doesn’t get hyped as a big part of Baltimore’s future. But he arguably should. The 28-year-old switch-hitter produced a team-best 33 big flies last year, and ZiPS projects him to go deep 29 times with a 124 wRC+ in the coming season. A 2016 Rule-5 acquisition from Cleveland who was never viewed as a top prospect — even when the Orioles farm was far less formidable — Santander has developed into an offensive force.

19. Cardinals
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jordan Walker 154 .243 .302 .387 .302 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.1
Alec Burleson 126 .268 .313 .425 .321 1.5 -0.1 0.0 0.3
Nolan Gorman 119 .234 .297 .437 .319 1.2 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Juan Yepez 105 .255 .310 .461 .333 2.3 -0.2 0.0 0.3
Willson Contreras 105 .239 .333 .429 .335 2.4 -0.3 0.0 0.3
Brendan Donovan 35 .260 .356 .365 .324 0.5 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Paul Goldschmidt 28 .274 .359 .482 .364 1.3 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Nolan Arenado 21 .271 .336 .481 .351 0.7 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Paul DeJong 7 .211 .287 .385 .296 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Total 700 .250 .315 .425 .323 9.4 -0.7 0.0 1.5

Juan Yepez being optioned to Triple-A on Saturday caught many by surprise, as the 25-year-old outfielder was expected to be St. Louis’s DH this year. Comped to Franmil Reyes by our own Eric Longenhagen back in July, Yepez is a free-swinging power hitter who homered 12 times with a 109 wRC+ over 274 plate appearances in his rookie season. He’ll need to prove himself all over again.

A shooting star, a promising young player looking to regain his bona fides, and an up-and-comer looking to prove himself at the highest level are now in line to get the most reps at the position. Jordan Walker — 20 years old and built like a power forward — is the top prospect in the Cardinals system (and no. 12 overall) and a potential superstar. He’s lived up to the hype this spring, punishing pitchers with regularity and looking every bit a big leaguer; the Cardinals announced on Saturday that he made the Opening Day roster. Nolan Gorman — No. 3 on our Cardinals list a year ago — is coming off a rookie season where he struck out 103 times in 313 plate appearances, a concern that he’s working hard to address. His left-handed stroke did produce 14 home runs, and his wRC+ was above league average despite the swing-and-miss issues. Alec Burleson had a .905 OPS in Triple-A, but went just 9-for-48 in a 16-game big league cameo. Like Gorman, he swings from the left side.

20. Braves
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Marcell Ozuna 273 .247 .313 .442 .328 2.9 -0.2 0.0 0.5
Travis d’Arnaud 217 .258 .314 .435 .326 2.0 -0.7 0.0 0.3
Sean Murphy 147 .248 .332 .446 .339 2.8 -0.2 0.0 0.4
Eddie Rosario 35 .246 .290 .400 .300 -0.4 0.0 0.0 -0.0
Ronald Acuña Jr. 14 .274 .370 .496 .374 0.7 0.1 0.0 0.1
Jordan Luplow 7 .214 .313 .427 .324 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Ozzie Albies 7 .268 .320 .460 .336 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .251 .318 .440 .329 8.1 -0.9 0.0 1.4

Marcell Ozuna has had a checkered career. A star with the Marlins when he drilled 37 home runs in 2017, he was even more prolific when he posted a 178 wRC+ over 60 game with the Braves in the truncated 2020 season. But there have also been down seasons, including the last two, where he’s logged a combined 84 wRC+. Moreover, there have been off-the-field issues; Ozuna has been suspended for domestic violence and has also been charged with a DUI. The projection systems anticipate his on-field production improving relative to last year.

Travis d’Arnaud has a reputation as a rock-solid catcher who can provide occasional thump with the bat. At his best since coming to Atlanta prior to the 2020 season, he’s slashed .266/.324/.462 over the last three seasons; last year, he hit a career-high 18 home runs. With Sean Murphy now on board as the primary backstop, d’Arnaud is in line to see more bat-only duty than he has previously. Murphy will get DH opportunities of his own, especially if he’s swinging a hot bat and Atlanta wants to keep him in the lineup while d’Arnaud is behind the dish.

21. Pirates
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Carlos Santana 266 .235 .348 .394 .329 3.7 -0.5 0.0 0.6
Andrew McCutchen 140 .240 .329 .401 .322 1.1 -0.4 0.0 0.2
Ji-Man Choi 126 .239 .349 .402 .332 2.0 -0.4 0.0 0.3
Jack Suwinski 70 .233 .314 .419 .321 0.5 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Oneil Cruz 28 .246 .314 .452 .332 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.1
Endy Rodriguez 28 .253 .318 .421 .322 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Ke’Bryan Hayes 21 .251 .320 .384 .311 -0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Canaan Smith-Njigba 14 .234 .329 .351 .306 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Bryan Reynolds 7 .270 .352 .462 .352 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .239 .337 .403 .326 8.2 -1.3 0.0 1.4

Carlos Santana’s 1,738 games since the start of the 2011 season are the most for any player, and durability is but one of his strengths. The switch-hitter has 278 career home runs, as well as a patient approach that has led to eight seasons with 90 or more walks. He doesn’t hit for a high average, but if you want someone who is reliable and consistently gives you a quality at-bat, Santana is your man. Those things said, he has declined statistically in recent seasons; his wRC+ over the past three years is a just 92. In hopes that he can return to previous form — ZiPS is somewhat bullish, projecting a 112 wRC+ — the Pirates inked the wily veteran to a free-agent contract last November.

Andrew MCutchen is another wily veteran who will see time at DH, and he’ll be doing so in a return to his baseball home from 2009-2017. Cutch isn’t the same player who made five All-Star teams and won a National League MVP award with the Bucs, but he’s still got some base hits left in his bat. He has 1,948 in his career, including 122 with the Milwaukee Brewers last year. Ji-Man Choi has just 350 big leagues hits and will be looking to add more in his first Pittsburgh season. The Incheon, South Korea native had 83 of them (and a 116 wRC+) last year with the Tampa Bay Rays.

22. Mariners
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
AJ Pollock 196 .248 .299 .409 .308 1.1 -0.2 0.0 0.2
Cal Raleigh 119 .223 .287 .444 .315 1.4 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Tommy La Stella 105 .247 .306 .371 .299 -0.1 -0.3 0.0 0.0
Teoscar Hernández 98 .252 .306 .458 .330 2.3 0.0 0.0 0.3
Ty France 91 .272 .342 .436 .340 2.8 -0.2 0.0 0.3
Jarred Kelenic 35 .223 .291 .410 .305 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Tom Murphy 35 .226 .309 .393 .309 0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Eugenio Suárez 21 .212 .303 .410 .313 0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .244 .305 .419 .315 8.1 -0.9 0.0 1.3

The postseason-bound team — Mariners fans certainly expect as much — put together by Jerry Dipoto has a lot of DH options, and manager Scott Servais will likely utilize several of them. AJ Pollock is prominent among them. Inked to a free-agent contract in January, the veteran outfielder comes to the Pacific Northwest on the heels of a ho-hum campaign on Chicago’s South Side, but his track record is otherwise healthy… when he’s healthy. Pollock has dealt with a variety of injuries over the years, with hamstring strains being the primary culprit in 2021 and 2022. His career batting line is .276/.332/.469.

Cal Raleigh — coming off of a first full season where he swatted 27 home runs — will get DH reps when he’s not catching. Ty France — a 128 wRC+ hitter over the past two seasons — will get them when he’s not manning first base. Ditto outfielder Teoscar Hernández when he’s not in the outfield, and Tommy La Stella when he’s not filling an infield need. The Mariners had eight players DH 10 or more times last year, and four more did so at least seven times. More mixing and matching is in store for the 2023 season.

23. Diamondbacks
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 245 .283 .332 .438 .334 4.1 -0.7 0.0 0.6
Evan Longoria 112 .242 .311 .412 .314 0.1 -0.3 0.0 0.1
Kyle Lewis 84 .240 .318 .408 .319 0.3 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Ketel Marte 70 .275 .345 .452 .345 1.8 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Emmanuel Rivera 70 .242 .296 .397 .303 -0.6 -0.1 0.0 -0.0
Gabriel Moreno 49 .273 .331 .391 .319 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Pavin Smith 35 .251 .320 .396 .314 0.0 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Carson Kelly 21 .237 .320 .399 .316 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Christian Walker 14 .254 .334 .454 .342 0.3 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .262 .324 .421 .325 6.2 -1.3 0.0 1.2

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is part of a prominent Cuban baseball family. His father, Lourdes Gurriel Sr., was a longtime star in their homeland, and his older brother, Yuli Gurriel, has spent the last seven years with the Houston Astros. A second older brother, Yuniesky, played several seasons in Cuba. As for the youngest in the family, 29-year-odd Lourdes is heading into his sixth major league season, and his first with D-backs, Arizona having acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays as part of December’s Daulton Varsho/Gabriel Moreno deal. His bat is his calling card. Gurriel has a 115 wRC+ as a big leaguer and is two seasons removed from a career-high 21 home runs.

Evan Longoria is also in line to log time at the bat-only position. Now 37 years old and in the sunset phase a 15-year-career, “Longo” has logged 1,883 big league hits, including 331 home runs. His All-Star days are behind him, but as evidenced by last year’s 115 wRC+, he’s still a threat with the bat. Kyle Lewis could thrust himself into this conversation as well. Healthy after two injury-marred seasons that followed his 2020 American League Rookie of the Year campaign, he’s swung a hot bat this spring.

24. Cubs
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Trey Mancini 238 .246 .322 .410 .320 1.8 -0.5 0.0 0.4
Matt Mervis 154 .250 .309 .441 .324 1.6 -0.2 0.0 0.3
Eric Hosmer 140 .272 .331 .411 .323 1.4 -0.5 0.0 0.2
Edwin Ríos 91 .217 .283 .413 .302 -0.6 -0.2 0.0 0.0
Seiya Suzuki 35 .264 .350 .476 .356 1.3 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Patrick Wisdom 21 .209 .294 .423 .313 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Nelson Velázquez 21 .221 .284 .393 .294 -0.3 0.0 0.0 -0.0
Total 700 .247 .315 .421 .320 5.3 -1.3 0.0 1.0

Trey Mancini was one of baseball’s top stories in 2021. Two seasons removed from going deep 35 times with the Baltimore Orioles, the personable slugger returned from a bout with colon cancer and resumed what he does best: swing a healthy stick. The numbers weren’t quite as good — nor were they this past year in a season that saw him get dealt at the deadline and proceed to win a World Series ring with the Houston Astros — but what matters most is that Mancini remains strong. His bat will be a good fit in the middle of the Cubs lineup.

A pair of players with different profiles and skill sets are vying to be the left-handed complement to Mancini’s right-handed bat. Eric Hosmer — like Mancini a free-agent acquisition — is a 12-year veteran who has reached the journeyman stage of his career and supplies middling power. Matt Mervis, a 24-year-old former Duke Blue Devil who has yet to make his big league debut, is all about power. He bashed 36 home runs last year between three levels — including 15 in Triple-A — and six more in the Arizona Fall League. Mervis played for Team Israel in the WBC.

25. Nationals
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Joey Meneses 378 .263 .311 .456 .329 4.8 -0.6 0.0 0.8
Jake Alu 70 .256 .310 .408 .312 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Keibert Ruiz 63 .263 .324 .419 .325 0.6 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Jeimer Candelario 49 .244 .317 .416 .320 0.3 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Stone Garrett 49 .232 .274 .425 .301 -0.5 0.0 0.0 -0.0
Carter Kieboom 42 .229 .324 .362 .306 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Matt Adams 21 .221 .276 .400 .294 -0.3 -0.1 0.0 -0.0
Dominic Smith 14 .252 .318 .409 .317 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Luis García 14 .263 .301 .421 .312 -0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .255 .309 .434 .321 4.5 -0.9 0.0 1.0

Joey Meneses is a good story, and more importantly for the Nationals, he’s also a talented hitter. Originally signed by the Atlanta Braves as an international free agent in 2011, he bounced around the minors, Japan, and Mexico before finally making his big league debut last August at age 30. He wasted little time impressing. Over 240 plate appearances, Meneses slashed .324/.367/.563 with 13 home runs and a 156 wRC+. ZiPS is understandably skeptical that he’ll match that production — he’s projected to post only a 113 wRC+, albeit with 27 home runs — but there are reasons to believe he might. The WBC is one of them. Playing for his home country, the Culiacán native went 10-for-27 with a pair of dingers for Team Mexico. Meneses can mash.

Among the several other players competing for DH opportunities in DC is a soon-to-turn 26-year-old infielder who is far exceeding modest expectations. Drafted 723rd overall out of Boston College in 2019, Jake Alu was the top hitter in the Nationals system last season, logging a 131 wRC+ in 567 plate appearances between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester. Also on tap for opportunities is Stone Garrett, who debuted with the Diamondbacks last year at age 26 and put up a 131 wRC+ in 84 plate appearances.

26. Rangers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Mitch Garver 196 .232 .320 .432 .329 3.3 -0.4 0.0 0.5
Brad Miller 168 .220 .297 .391 .302 -0.7 -0.3 0.0 0.0
Adolis García 112 .239 .288 .440 .313 0.5 0.1 0.0 0.1
Josh Jung 84 .242 .295 .428 .314 0.4 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Corey Seager 56 .276 .350 .480 .357 2.2 -0.0 0.0 0.3
Josh H. Smith 28 .240 .333 .357 .310 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Jonah Heim 21 .240 .303 .408 .311 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Clint Frazier 21 .207 .291 .340 .282 -0.4 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Yoshi Tsutsugo 14 .217 .304 .375 .300 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Total 700 .235 .308 .419 .317 5.4 -0.7 0.0 1.0

The Rangers spent heavily on starting pitching over the offseason, and assuming the arms stay healthy, that will be a real strength. The quality of some aspects of the offense is less certain, and that includes the DH position. Mitch Garver is currently penciled in for that role from the right side, and his track record is a bit of a rollercoaster. A catcher by trade, Garver slammed 31 home runs for the Twins in 2019, but then cratered to a 46 wRC+ in limited action during the truncated 2020 COVID campaign. That was followed by a solid 2021 where he logged a 139 wRC+ over 243 plate appearances, but then he went backwards again, putting up a 101 wRC+ while batting .208 with a .298 OBP. Making matters worse, he underwent season-ending surgery in July to repair a flexor tendon. If the good (and healthy) version of Garver is back in 2023, he will provide pop in the Texas lineup. If not, his playing time will lessen as the season goes on.

Brad Miller should be the Rangers’ left-handed DH, and his track record is every bit as uneven. Health has been an issue. Miller made multiple trips to the injured list last year, slashing just .212/.270/.320 along the way. A year earlier, he’d gone deep 20 times for the Phillies in just 377 plate appearances, and his resume includes a 30-home-run season with the Rays in 2016. All told, Miller has a 100 wRC+ playing with seven teams over 10 big league seasons. The free-swinging Adolís Garcia, who has focused on improving his plate discipline in camp, will also see time here.

27. Reds
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jake Fraley 217 .244 .338 .427 .335 2.4 0.1 0.0 0.5
Tyler Stephenson 217 .260 .330 .409 .325 0.6 -0.3 0.0 0.2
Joey Votto 84 .233 .335 .415 .330 0.5 -0.4 0.0 0.1
Spencer Steer 42 .239 .316 .419 .321 -0.0 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Curt Casali 35 .220 .320 .368 .306 -0.4 -0.1 0.0 -0.0
Elly De La Cruz 35 .248 .290 .426 .308 -0.4 0.1 0.0 0.0
Wil Myers 35 .255 .325 .442 .333 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1
Christian Encarnacion-Strand 21 .255 .305 .466 .331 0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
TJ Friedl 14 .248 .327 .406 .322 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .247 .329 .418 .327 3.2 -0.7 0.0 0.9

The Reds project to employ a potentially plus — “potentially” being the operative word; they are low on this list for a reason — DH duo, with a likely future Hall of Famer providing support when he needs a break from his first-base duties. The latter is, of course, Joey Votto. Heading into his age-39 season on the heels of an injury-marred, career-worst year — a 92 wRC+ and a .319 on-base percentage — the longtime OBP stalwart presumably has gas left in the tank, but only if his surgery-repaired shoulder fully heals. Over 16 Cincinnati seasons, Votto is a .297/.412/.513 hitter with a 146 wRC+.

Jake Fraley and Tyler Stephenson are the left-right platoon, with the former having emerged as a productive big league performer with a 121 wRC+ over 247 plate appearances. A Seattle Mariner prior to last year, Fraley promises to supply power, as evidenced by his 12 bombs over the aforementioned PAs. As for his right-handed complement, Stephenson will log time at the position when he isn’t behind the plate. Limited to 50 games due to thumb and clavicle injuries — he also suffered a concussion — the 26-year-old former first-rounder slashed a healthy .319/.372/.482, with six home runs, over his 183 plate appearances.

28. Rockies
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Charlie Blackmon 343 .272 .331 .425 .328 -1.3 -0.5 0.0 0.1
Kris Bryant 161 .281 .363 .479 .365 4.1 0.1 0.0 0.6
Mike Moustakas 77 .239 .311 .417 .318 -0.9 -0.2 0.0 -0.0
C.J. Cron 70 .258 .329 .472 .344 0.6 -0.2 0.0 0.1
Elehuris Montero 28 .255 .313 .441 .328 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Nolan Jones 21 .251 .335 .417 .330 -0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .268 .335 .441 .337 2.4 -0.7 0.0 0.8

Charlie Blackmon keeps plugging along. Now 36 years old and in the final year of a $108 million contract he inked in April 2018, the bearded outfielder/DH is embarking on what is likely one last hurrah with the organization he’s played for his entire professional career. That he’s not what he once was is reflected by the numbers. A .314/.374/.549 hitter with a 127 wRC+ from 2016-20, Blackmon backslid to .267/.332/.415 with a 91 wRC+ over the last two seasons. ZiPS anticipates a slight uptick in the campaign to come — a projected 97 wRC+ — but that wouldn’t exactly qualify as having found the fountain of youth. Blackmon does have some gas left in the tank, but at this point he’s more of a Honda than a Lamborghini.

The bulk of the club’s other DH plate appearances are likely to come from a trio of players currently penciled into starting roles: Kris Bryant, CJ Cron, and Mike Moustakas. All three are hitters with solid track records, particularly the two who swing from the right side. Moustakas has had good seasons as well, although he’s similar to Blackmon in that his past few have been less than stellar. All told, the Rockies will employ DHs who can hit, but not enough to strike fear in the heart of opposing pitchers.

29. Tigers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Miguel Cabrera 280 .249 .307 .353 .291 -3.2 -1.4 0.0 -0.3
Austin Meadows 182 .259 .337 .455 .343 5.4 -0.5 0.0 0.6
Kerry Carpenter 133 .248 .304 .435 .319 1.4 -0.3 0.0 0.2
Eric Haase 70 .226 .286 .414 .304 -0.1 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Justyn-Henry Malloy 14 .229 .317 .353 .300 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Jonathan Schoop 14 .248 .291 .398 .300 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Spencer Torkelson 7 .232 .321 .414 .322 0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .249 .312 .402 .312 3.5 -2.4 0.0 0.6

Last season’s writeup of Detroit’s DH breakdown began with the song lyrics “The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be,” and those words remain every bit as apt a year later. Miguel Cabrera — a no-brainer first-ballot Hall of Famer six years hence — has, for all intents and purposes, broken down. The numbers don’t lie. Cabrera, who turns 40 in April, scuffled to the tune of a 79 wRC+ last year while going deep just five times. The Venezuelan legend deserves every ovation he’ll get this summer, but the lion’s share of the cheers will come courtesy of earned respect. As much as a career-capping, Pujols-ian campaign would be nice to see, those chances are slim. The calendar catches up to even the best of the best eventually.

Assuming full health, Austin Meadows could very well end up logging the most DH time in Motown this year. His 2022 season was anything but healthy. Along with Achilles tendon issues, the erstwhile Tampa Bay Ray contracted COVID, suffered vertigo symptoms, and dealt with anxiety issues. Still just 27 years old, Meadows bookended the 2020 COVID campaign with 33- and 27-homer seasons. Kerry Carpenter was one of the Tigers’ few pleasant surprise last year, raking in Triple-A and then putting up a 126 wRC+ in 113 big league PAs.

30. Athletics
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jesús Aguilar 217 .238 .300 .395 .303 0.6 -0.7 0.0 0.1
Ryan Noda 175 .203 .309 .358 .298 -0.3 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Shea Langeliers 105 .225 .288 .398 .300 -0.0 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Seth Brown 77 .234 .300 .445 .321 1.3 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Aledmys Díaz 63 .245 .301 .390 .303 0.1 -0.2 0.0 0.0
Kevin Cron 28 .219 .281 .408 .299 -0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Tyler Soderstrom 21 .224 .272 .377 .283 -0.3 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Manny Piña 14 .218 .298 .377 .299 -0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .226 .299 .391 .302 1.3 -1.2 0.0 0.5

The cash-strapped A’s are hoping to cash in on Jesús Aguilar’s power while striving to keep their collective heads above water in what looms as another 100-loss season. Signed as a free agent over the winter, the slugger presents as the biggest long-ball threat on his new team. His right-handed stroke produced a modest 16 home runs last year between Miami and Baltimore, but he’s capable of far more. Aguilar was an All-Star in 2018 when he bashed 35 taters with Milwaukee. The Athletics would be ecstatic to see him match that number in Oakland.

A Rule-5 pickup — assuming he sticks — promises to provide thump from the left side of the plate. Profiling as a poor-man’s Matt Olson, Ryan Noda went deep 25 times last year while playing with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, and he did so while also drawing 92 walks and striking out 162 times. Soon to turn 27 years old, Noda has been a three-true-outcomes hitter since being drafted out of the University of Cincinnati by the Blue Jays in 2017. How well his skill set translates to the big leagues will be interesting to see.





David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

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dukewinslowmember
11 months ago

I know I’m beating a dead horse here but the positional adjustment for DH completely lacks face validity form a dollars/ fractional WAR standpoint (eg dollars/(WAR/AB)). If $/WAR is linear- and you know could well not be- we’re basically saying WAR at DH is less valuable (and therefore not linear, btw).

Ivan_Grushenkomember
11 months ago
Reply to  dukewinslow

Aren’t all “power hitters” paid above the average $/WAR?

Cool Lester Smoothmember
11 months ago
Reply to  dukewinslow

It’s because teams factor the DH penalty into their positional adjustments, and FG doesn’t.