The new rule proposal that the MLB is planning on using in the 2020 season features a league wide Designated Hitter. I am not a huge fan of the proposal because I think the strategic game play you see in the National League makes for better baseball.
I enjoy watching managers panic in situations late in games where they have to decide between the average bench player pinch hitter, or leaving in the starter and sacrificing the potential to score. As much as I will remember moments like the Bartolo Colon homer and Madison Bumgarner constantly slugging, the National League DH will most likely be permanent moving forward.
With my feelings aside, the Phillies are going to benefit more than most teams in the National League because of the Designated Hitter. Heres why:
During Spring Training in March, Bruce was sliding into the 4th outfield spot on the roster and the key off the bench bat for the Phillies. Bruce, now 33 years old, is still a consistent power threat who could fill right into the middle of the Phillies lineup on a daily basis.
Bruce has not had a stable home in the Majors since being dealt from the Cincinnati Reds in 2016. From 2016-2020 Bruce played for the Reds, Mets, Indians, Mariners, and now the Phillies. As unwanted as Bruce seems to be by the list of teams, he was a very productive power hitter in that time span:
Jay Bruce 2016-2020
1723AB/.240AVG/104HR/296RBI/.485SLG/.790OPS 91 Doubles 422 Strikeouts
For a similar comparison, look at Ryan Braun from the Brewers, who came into the majors around the same time as Bruce. Braun has been an elite player in the league in the past and still is a main bat in the Milwaukee lineup going along with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain.
Ryan Braun 2016-2020
1944AB/.280AVG/89HR/282RBI/.503SLG/.844OPS 107 Doubles 364 Strikeouts
The only thing that really sticks out in the stat comparison is Braun is a .040 better average hitter than Bruce, but Bruce has been just as good as a power threat as Braun even though they have two different styles of play. The difference from the two players is Bruce has been traded all around the league and Braun has been a centerpiece on a championship contender for the past four seasons.
The Phillies might really have a diamond in the rough with Bruce, especially playing in hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park. I could really see Bruce fitting in that Pat Burrell role as a power threat behind Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. Just like the days where Burrell backed up Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to have big RBI seasons.