This is the ninth part in my multi-part series, "Around the Diamond," as today we take a look at designated hitter.
Two offseasons ago, the Baltimore Orioles added a new bat to a growing lineup.
Former Tampa Bay Devil Ray and Houston Astro Aubrey Huff joined the squad as the O's were hoping to see him bring his well-known power to a limp batting order.
In 2007, he hit for a .280 average, with 15 homeruns, 72 RBI, and 68 runs scored. He did not bring the explosive bat that the O's were expecting; however one season can change it all.
In 2008, Huff seemed to be a completely different player.
Last season, he hit for a .304 average, with 32 homeruns, 108 RBI, and 96 runs scored. These numbers helped him to win the Silver Slugger Award in the American League as a DH.
Obviously, Huff is a force to be reckoned with at the plate, but he also has his worth in the field. Huff is versatile, able to not only DH, but also to switch out between first base and third base. He is one of the more flexible O's on the current roster.
There is not much to say now about Huff, for it is currently unknown how he will fair in 2009.
He should have more protection in the lineup than previous years, especially with the number two prospect in the minors coming up to hit behind him in the near future.
If Huff can repeat, then the Orioles should have no trouble scoring runs in the long-term.
For now, though, Huff will be serving as the O's starting first baseman (barring a trade or free agent signing).
Let's all just see how well he can come back from arguably his best season to date.
Next week, I plan to take a look at the O's starting rotation and upcoming minor league pitchers.
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