In 2018, the White Sox had a designated hitter, but his batting numbers were not quite up to par.
In fact, the White Sox DH, Matt Davidson, had batting numbers that were below league average. And, his numbers were the lowest of the AL players who were considered team designated hitters.
Davidson’s batting stats included a slash line of .228/.319/.419.
How bad Davidson really was
The only DH with a lower slugging percentage was Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers who batted .251/.297/.353. Keep in mind that Martinez will be 40 years old in December, while Davidson is 13 years younger. Martinez even had heart surgery at the end of the 2017 season.
The fact that Davidson’s numbers weren’t much better than those of a 39-year-old man is quite disappointing.
As an AL team, the White Sox should invest in a designed hitter who can get on base and score runs. Davidson did not do that well in 2018. He hit 20 home runs and crossed home 51 times. He earned 62 RBI.
There are several hitters in the NL who could add some power to the White Sox lineup. These players are better offensively than defensively. If the White Sox do end up trading Jose Abreu – which would open up first base for Davidson, the team will need a DH. Of course, Daniel Palka could hit in the DH spot, but there are other hitters who have more experience.
One potential DH to consider
One of those players is Jose Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals. Martinez was actually signed by the White Sox back in 2006, but he is only 30 years old. The guy isn’t much on defense, which makes him relatively useless in the NL, unless he serves as a pinch hitter. But, on an AL team, Martinez could become valuable.
He was technically a rookie in 2017 and in his second season, he hit a slash of .305/.364/.457. His home run numbers were lower than Davidson’s, but he had 83 RBI and significantly fewer strikeouts in more at-bats. He is still under team control with the Cardinals, but unexpected trades happen all of the time.
Contemplate the possibility of this hitter
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The other player who could be an interesting addition as a DH is Kyle Schwarber. The beloved Cubs masher just doesn’t have a regular place on the team. And, since his defensive skills aren’t as good as other Cubs, he only played in 61 full games in 2018. There is no doubt that the kid can hit, especially in clutch situations. But, again, since the NL does not have a DH, a hitter like Schwarber is not used to his full potential.
He will be 26 at the start of the 2019 season and is still a low-price ball player. The Sox and Cubs have made trades in the past – see the Jose Quintana – Eloy Jimenez deal as an example. Schwarber’s stats weren’t very different from Davidson’s, as he batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs and 61 RBI. But, imagine what Schwarber could do if he were able to just hit, day in and day out. Plus, his playoff experience and his competitive nature could certainly help the rebuilding team. And, the kid knows how to beat the shift:
Davidson was a DH who was a bit disappointing. The spot should be filled by someone who has a real strength at the plate. There are affordable players with hitting skills who could make the Sox a bit more exciting in the 2019 season.