The Expanded DH Role

thePITman

Well-known member
I know this new NFHS rule came out a while ago, but I didn't see a thread on it and thought we could talk about it as the season approaches.

From the article:

There are now two scenarios in which a designated hitter may be used.

The first scenario is the traditional use where the designated hitter may be a 10th starter who hits for any one of the nine starting defensive players. The team begins the game with 10 starters: nine defensive players and nine hitters in the batting order, one of whom is the designated hitter hitting for a defensive player.

“The traditional designated hitter role remains intact,” Hopkins said. “However, the committee felt it was necessary to make an additional option available to coaches that could be strategic but also maximize participation.”

The change to Rule 3-1-4 now allows the starting designated hitter to also be a starting defensive player. Utilizing this option, the player has two positions: defensive player and designated hitter. The team would begin the game with nine starters -- nine defensive players -- one of whom also assumes the role of the designated hitter.

“With the change adding pitch-count restrictions to high school baseball, this will allow pitchers to remain in the game as a hitter while removing them from pitching,” Hopkins said. “Typically, pitchers are stronger hitters as well. However, the intent of the rule is not for it to become strictly a pitcher-designated hitter role. The rule provides additional avenues for other position players as well. The change allows coaches to strategize how to keep players in the game to contribute offensively while allowing another player a chance to participate on defense.”


 

thePITman

Well-known member
So in essence, you can start the game with 9 players, one of whom is both a position player AND the DH. Then at some point in the game, that player can remain in the lineup as the DH while a new player takes over in the field.

My one question is: Can the opposite happen? Can the position/DH player remain in the field and another player assume the DH spot in the lineup? Based on the actual wording in the rulebook, I do not think so, but can anyone confirm?
b. The starting designated hitter may be any one of the starting defensive players. In this manner, the starting defensive player has two positions: the defensive player and the designated hitter. The role of the defensive player may be substituted for by any legal substitute. If the defensive player has been substituted for, the original player/DH may re-enter one time. The role of the DH is terminated for the remainder of the game when:
1. A substitute or former substitute for the defensive role subsequently participates in an offensive role; or
2. The starting defensive player/DH is substituted for either as a hitter or a runner.
When I first read this last year, it sounded really confusing, and I wasn't sure what to think; I didn't think there was a need to update the DH rule. But as I've thought about it, I kinda get the point of it now. It works especially well for pitchers, as the article calls out, but it is nice to give coaches more flexibility for more players to participate.
 
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AllSports12

Moderator
When I first read this last year, it sounded really confusing, and I wasn't sure what to think; I didn't think there was a need to update the DH rule. But as I've thought about it, I kinda get the point of it now. It works especially well for pitchers, as the article calls out, but it is nice to give coaches more flexibility for more players to participate.
This change was 100% coach driven.

It not only allows that flexibility for more participation, but also addresses the fact that many times the pitcher in question is one of the best hitters (athletes) on the team. This change allows those player to continue batting even though they are not in the game defensively.

Overall, I think it's a good change.
 

fortfan

Active member
This is the first I have actually understood the rule!! Thanks.

So....

Player A is pitching and is a good hitter.

Player B is playing shortstop and is a good hitter.

Around the 5th inning, player A is running out of gas and is replaced by player B. We could put player C off the bench in at shortstop, and still bat Player A.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
I like it. Almost anything that allows for a possibility of more flexibility for kids to play, but still stick the basic principle of baseball substitutions I am for it.
 

Captain Awesome

Active member
This is a rule taken from the college game, most recently Louisville used this rule a ton with Brendan McKay, he was their Friday night starter and three/four hitter so he would in essence DH for himself and not come out of the lineup when he was done pitching. This is the most notable reference to this rule I can think of.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
This is a rule taken from the college game, most recently Louisville used this rule a ton with Brendan McKay, he was their Friday night starter and three/four hitter so he would in essence DH for himself and not come out of the lineup when he was done pitching. This is the most notable reference to this rule I can think of.
that is some great info.

Not a bad idea actually in the day and age of so called keeping the arms healthy. Coaches will always get around the rules, pitching wise, and while they may follow the letter of the rule they skirt the intent which long term can hurt arms more....
 

fortfan

Active member
So here is a question.

Pitcher A starts the game, pitches 3 innings. He is removed as pitcher but stays in as DH. Can he come back in as pitcher later in the game?
 

AllSports12

Moderator
So here is a question.

Pitcher A starts the game, pitches 3 innings. He is removed as pitcher but stays in as DH. Can he come back in as pitcher later in the game?
Yes he can provided he is still eligible to pitch. ( pitch count, replacement did not take more than 8 warm up pitches, etc..... )
 
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