One of the biggest changes set to happen for the National League in 2022 is the addition of a designated hitter to game play, if indeed a collective bargaining agreement is ever reached. While there’s still a small chance the DH rule might get bumped off the final deal, the fact that it’s something both sides agree to means it will probably stand pat.
With the DH going into effect, fans of the Dodgers have already been chattering about which player might see the most action in this spot, although skipper Dave Roberts will likely mix and match his designated hitters based on matchups, who’s injured and which players need rest. Already, there’s speculation that newcomer Stefen Romero could potentially see action there, even though he hasn’t made an MLB appearance since 2016.
Regardless, despite the fact players will be moving around position-wise, it till doesn’t hurt to guess which players might see the most action there this year.
Justin Turner is the first player that comes to mind as a DH for many fans, primarily because of his age and the idea that his defense is deteriorating. However, even a subpar Turner at third base could be a better option than anyone else the team fields there. Of all the options to spell Turner at third, Chris Taylor is probably the best.
Even at 34 years old, AJ Pollock probably still has the skills and athleticism to play every day, even though he’s susceptible to extended slumps like we saw over the last few years. Despite some of his struggles, Pollock still hasn’t hit below .266 since joining the Dodgers in 2016. We know he still has a little power, as made evident by his 21 homers last year.
If keeping Pollock off the field as a DH can somehow limit his propensity for getting hurt, the team could benefit from putting him there regularly.
What we do know for sure is that Muncy will be among the everyday players for the Dodgers, so long as he stays healthy. There’s been a ton of speculation about a possible free agent deal with Freddie Freeman, which could conceivably push Muncy to second or third base, or better yet, a full-time designated hitter. We’ve seen Muncy show decent skills at the keystone and the hot corner in previous seasons, but we’ve also witnessed games when he’s looked borderline horrible there.
Beaty is one of those guys that would see significant playing time for many other clubs around the league, but he just can’t seem to settle into a regular role with the Dodgers, even as a utility player. Beaty has made a handful of appearances at third base in the past, but the general feeling is that the coaching staff doesn’t trust his glove and throwing accuracy enough to play him there regularly. Adding in his inability to hit lefty pitching reduces his potential playing time even more.
There’s still plenty of speculation as to whether Rios’s injury at the beginning of last year was the reason he couldn’t hit or if pitchers just figured him out. The fact that his labrum was almost completely torn infers the prior. Whatever the case may be, Rios should be good to go and might play as a decent DH option if he shows he can hit the ball well early on.
With so many players around him settling into everyday roles, there never seems to be a regular playing spot for Lux. The 24-year-old lefty hitter is a natural shortstop, but even though he has a rifle for an arm, his throwing accuracy was one of the reasons the organization considered him as an everyday second baseman. Like Pollock, Lux is another one of those guys who can severely be affected by slumps.
In his three years as a big leaguer, Lux still hasn’t hit over .240.
Fans know that Lux has tons of potential, but his defensive liabilities and his streakiness at the plate could dictate how much time he sees in 2022. If the Dodgers end up snagging Freeman, it could spell doom for Lux, especially if the team decides to play Muncy or Zach McKinstry at second most days.