How to Handle the DH Spot: Defensive Minded vs. Power Surge


Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins traded probable-DH Ryan Doumit to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. The move is frankly inconsequential for 2014. Doumit was very unlikely to catch and the acquired Sean Gilmartin will more than likely not reach the major league level this upcoming season.

Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN highlighted on Thursday, that the move might mean good things for Jason Kubel. It does open up a roster spot for Kubel, but it does not necessarily mean that Kubel has the job of designated hitter. That job should now belong to Josh Willingham.

Willingham is only on the Twins because of his bat and Twins fans have known that for a long time. Twins fans are also aware that Jason Kubel is not a savior when it comes to the glove. Actually, Kubel and Willingham are virtually the same in the field. Kubel has a range factor of 1.94 in the outfield and Willingham has a 1.93. Neither of them should be in the field, both should be DH. Which presents an obvious problem since you can’t have two DHs.

Willingham is the best power hitter on the Twins current roster and most likely will be when the Twins head north from spring training. Letting ‘The Hammer’ focus on hitting and sending a defensive upgrade to the outfield would improve the Twins immensely.

Why Willingham over Kubel? In their career’s Willingham has a 29 point advantage in on-base percentage, 16 point advantage in slugging and a 45 point advantage in OPS. Willingham leads Kubel by 11 in OPS+.

It’s unlikely they are platooned. The Twins don’t have a huge history of platooning and Willingham is paid too much to be a part-time player.

To make a fluid situation simple: do the Twins improve the defense and put Willingham at the DH spot or the do they go for the power with a left field – designated hitter combination of Willingham and Kubel.