HUMMEL ON EXPECTATIONS AT DESIGNATED HITTER:
With National League teams not knowing for sure until a few weeks ago that they would need a designated hitter for every game, the chances of any establishing one as a full-time DH are remote. More often than not, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt will give his regulars a day off from the field in these next two hot months and install one per day as the designated hitter. But for sake of argument, let’s consider that Brad Miller might get as many at-bats as anyone else in the DH role.
For one, Miller is a lefthanded hitter who has power. And former American Leaguer Miller has a career OPS of .888 as a DH with nine homers and eight doubles among his 24 hits in 102 career at-bats as a DH. He has a respectable .768 OPS against righthanded pitchers. And, not a strong defender, he won’t be in the field as much as some other players.
If the DH isn’t Matt Carpenter or Paul Goldschmidt or Paul DeJong on a day off, that spot might be hitting down in the Cardinals’ lineup, anywhere from No. 6 to the end. Occasional power is expected from those who will occupy that spot, although it doesn’t figure to be one that would have a lot of speed involved.
From those not playing much in the field, righthanded-hitting Rangel Ravelo might also get some DH time. While not necessarily a power hitter, Ravelo stood in against some top relievers last season and made hard contact, going a respectable .250 as a pinch hitter.
If young outfielder Dylan Carlson makes the club at some point, outfielder Tyler O’Neill becomes a DH candidate.