The Best Designated Hitters in the AL Central
The designated hitter position in baseball has basically one goal: to produce at the plate. The American League Central featured some top tier talent slugging at the designated hitter position. This list ranks the five top designated hitters in the American League Central. This list is an asset to fantasy owners playing in mixed or American League only formats.
Victor Martinez - Detroit Tigers
Victor Martinez had a slow start but punctuated the 2013 with some of the best numbers among all hitters in baseball. After hitting a pedestrian .258 prior to the All Star break, Martinez absolutely scorched the baseball, ending the season with a .301 average with 14 home runs and 83 runs batted in. It's likely Martinez will hit in the 4 or 5 slot in the Tiger lineup, and if he keeps a consistent approach at the plate, he'll be one of the best designated hitters in the league.
Billy Butler - Kansas City Royals
Billy Butler posted a .289 average with 15 home runs and 82 runs batted in. He's Justin Verlander's worst nightmare, and a premiere designated hitter. However, this season was one of his worst, and may be the indication of a hitter whose productivity is declining with age. His 2013 numbers warrant a good look at the designated hitter position for American League only fantasy drafts, but the big picture forecasts a downtrend in Butler's offensive numbers.
Adam Dunn - Chicago White Sox
Adam Dunn is a statistical anomaly. He hit only .219 and struck out a multitude of times. However, when he made contact with the ball, he hit 34 home runs and 86 runs batted in. Sometimes he's absolutely painful to watch; other times he puts the hurt on opposing pitchers. Either way, Dunn warrants consideration for the lower tiers of a fantasy draft.
Carlos Santana - Cleveland Indians
Carlos Santana posted a .268 batting average with 20 home runs and 74 runs batted in. It's possible that the Indians will have Santana all over the infield, whether it's at first base, catcher, or even third base. He has a solid .832 on base plus slugging percentage, and his utility at different positions make him a good pick at the middle tiers of a draft.
Ryan Doumit - Minnesota Twins
Initially signed on to be a catcher, Doumit provided more utility at the designated hitter role. He hit .247 with 14 home runs and 55 runs batted in. These types of numbers won't make him an early pick, but he can provide some offensive value for American League only drafts.
The designated hitter position in the Junior Circuit allows teams to rest their pitcher and add some more offense to their lineup. I believe that Victor Martinez provides the best overall value to a fantasy draft that plays by the American League rules. If he stays true to his form, Martinez will hit .300 with 80 to 100 runs batted in.