Atlanta Braves: Who are their 3 best DH options for 2020?

Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves

Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Who are the best options at designated hitter for the 2020 Atlanta Braves?

So who’s going to hit for the pitcher this year in Atlanta?

The 2020 MLB season will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It will be a 60-game season with 40 games being played in the division and the other 20 vs. the geographical equivalent of the other league. For a team like the Atlanta Braves, we’re looking at 40 games vs. the National League East AND 20 games vs. the American League East. What could possibly go wrong?

Atlanta is projected to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series this season. The Braves have won the NL East the last two years, but have yet to advance in a postseason round since 2001. Despite a chaotic season, there are no excuses for the Braves to come up short of that quest for 2020.

While playing the American League East could be challenging, the Braves are getting a huge break from the designated hitter being implemented this season. Atlanta has a ton of strengths as a ball club, but having many power bats and versatility in lineup construction remains a huge plus for manager Brian Snitker. He has several interesting options to use as his designated hitter this year.

So who are the Braves’ best options to hit for the pitcher this season? Let’s find out now.

Here are the best designated hitter options for the 2020 Atlanta Braves.

3

Nick Markakis

OF Atlanta Braves

Savvy veteran outfielder Nick Markakis will play in his sixth season for his hometown Braves. The Woodstock, Georgia native played his college ball at nearby Young Harris before becoming one of the best pure hitters in the American League for the Baltimore Orioles for years. Though he doesn’t have a ton of pop in his bat, Markakis’ plate discipline makes him a good DH candidate.

Being left-handed may complicate things should there be a left-handed pitcher on the mound. However, Markakis has nearly 2,400 career base hits on his underrated baseball resume. The career .288 hitter gets on base about 36 percent of the time. Though he is in his late 30s, Markakis’ baseball IQ will go a long way in helping Atlanta eke out wins in a few tight ball games.

Given that he is a three-time Gold Glove winner in right field, Markakis may end up spending more time in the Atlanta outfield defensively than in the designated hitter role. An outfield trio of Markakis, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ender Inciarte really gives the Braves an advantage defensively. So rather than riding pine for 50 games or so, look for Markakis to play in nearly all of them this year.

Another huge advantage with Markakis as a designated hitter option is Snitker could literally put him in any spot in the batting order. From leadoff to the No. 9 hole, Markakis has value anywhere he is penciled into the lineup. Given that he played in the American League for nine years in Baltimore, this is a role Markakis is probably well-versed in. His value is tremendous this season.

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