The designated hitters may not play a position in the field, but they sure can bat when they replace the pitcher in the batting order.
From the title, you might have guessed, today, we are talking about some of the best-designated hitters in the MLB.
Usually, the designated hitters’ bat in place of the pitcher can change the game’s tide overall. Therefore, using the designated hitters is a crucial one for any team.
After looking at the 2021 records of the designated hitters, we have come up with a list. These players excel in their role and are the best in the league right now. So now, without any more delay, let us get into the details.
12 Best Designated Hitters in MLB Right Now
We have prepared the list primarily with the help of Overtimeheroics. But before diving into the list, let us look at the preview of the list beforehand.
|12. Valdimir Gurrero Jr.||Toronto Blue Jays|
|11. Mitch Moreland||Oakland Athletics|
|10. Austin Meadows||Tampa Bay Rays|
|9. Jorge Soler||Kansas City Royals|
|8. Khris Davis||Texas Rangers|
|7. Trey Mancini||Baltimore Orioles|
|6. Albert Pujols||Los Angeles Dodger|
|5. Eloy Jimenez||Chicago White Sox|
|4. Yordan Alvarez||Houston Astros|
|3. Nelson Cruz||Minnesota Twins|
|2. Giancarlo Stanton||New York Yankees|
|1. JD Martinez||Boston Red Sox|
12. Valdimir Gurrero Jr.
On our number 12, we have 32 year-old Valdimir Gurrero Jr. He is a Dominican-Canadian professional player, playing for the Toronto Blue Jays.
He is the son of the former MLB player and Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. Initially, he was signed as an international free agent by the Blue Jays in 2015. Gurrero Jr. was considered the top prospect before his MLB debut.
Having made a huge impression during his minor league games, he debuted in MLB in 2019. The baseballer has been playing with the team ever since.
Gurrero Jr.’s notable career wins and highlights include an All-Star, an All-MLB First Team, AL Hank Aaron Award, Silver Slugger Award, and MLB home run leader.
His MLB statistics through the 2021 season state a batting average of .289, 72 home runs, and 213 runs batted in.
11. Mitch Moreland
The next designated hitter to make on our list is 37-year-old Mitch Moreland. He is a free agent who has signed with the Oakland Athletics in 2021 in a one-year, $2.25 million contract.
The Texas Rangers drafted Moreland in the 17th round of the 2007 MLB draft. Initially, he was drafted as a first baseman and outfielder. However, he made his MLB debut in 2010 when he was called up to play in place of injured Ian Kinsler.
Moreland was part of the Texas Rangers until 2016, after which he signed with Boston Red Sox on a one-year contract. After that, however, he was part of the team until 2020, after which the Red Sox traded him to San Diego Padres.
Nicknamed “2-Bags,” Moreland’s notable career highlights and awards included a Gold Glove Award in 2016, an All-Star, and a World Series champion in 2018.
Moreland recorded a batting average of .251, 186 home runs, and 618 runs batted in through the 2021 MLB season.
10. Austin Meadows
27 year-old Austin Meadows is a professional baseball player currently playing for the Tampa Bay Rays. He played baseball during his high school days and was considered one of the top prospects for the 2013 MLB draft.
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Meadows as the ninth overall selection in the first round of the 2013 draft. He signed with the franchise on a contract yielding a $3,029,600 signing bonus.
In 2018, he was Pittsburgh’s second-best prospect and made his MLB debut. In the May of that year, Meadows was named the NL Rookie of the Month. However, in July, Pittsburgh traded him to the Rays.
Since then, Meadows has been actively playing for the Rays and has won an All-Star 2019. In 2020, he was tested positive for COVID-19 and placed on the injured list. He returned to the main roster after the recovery.
Meadows recorded a total of .260 batting average, 70 home runs, and 225 runs batted in during his 2021 MLB season.
9. Jorge Soler
On our number 9 is a Cuban free agent Jorge Soler. Nicknamed “Soler Power,” the 30-year-old player is currently playing for the Atlanta Braves.
Soler was part of the Cuban national baseball team and defected from his home country to get into MLB in 2011. A powerful hitter, he was considered as one of the potential players.
Then in 2012, Chicago Cubs signed him in a nine-year contract worth $30 million. Soler made his official MLB debut in 2014. After that, he was part of the team until 2016, after which the Cubs traded him to the Kansas City Royals.
Some of his notable career wins and awards include World Series champion (2016, 2021), Hit a home run in first major league at-bat (2014), AL home run leader (2019), and a World Series MVP (2021).
Meanwhile, Soler recorded the MLB statistics for the 2021 season as a .246 batting average, 121 home runs, and 343 runs batted in.
8. Khris Davis
Nickname “Khrush” we have Khris Davis on our number 8 of the best-designated hitters’ list. Born as Khristopher Adrian Davis, he is a 35-year-old free agent.
The Washington Nationals drafted Davis in the 29th round, 2006. However, Khrush did not sign with the team and play college baseball. Then in 2009, Milwaukee Brewers drafted him in the 7th round of the 2009 MLB draft.
In 2013, Davis made his MLB debut after playing in the minor league. He played for the Brewers until 2015, and then he was traded to the Oakland Athletics. In the 2021 season, the Athletics traded him to the Texas Rangers.
Davis signed a minor league deal with the Athletics in August of 2021. His most notable wins and awards include the Edgar Martinez Award, presented to the most outstanding hitters and an MLB home run leader.
His 2021 season MLB statistics read batting average of .242, 221 home runs, and 590 runs batted in.
7. Trey Mancini
30-year-old Trey Mancini is a professional player actively playing for the Baltimore Orioles. He was part of high school and college baseball before his MLB debut.
Mancini was selected in the eight-round of the 2013 MLB draft. He made his official debut in 2016. He has been part of the franchise since except for the 2020 season.
In 2020, he had to undergo surgery for a malignant tumor. He was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy. After his battle with cancer, Mancini rejoined the team in 2021.
He was awarded the AL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2021. Mancini’s 2021 season MLB statistics recorded a .271 batting average, 107 home runs, and 309 runs batted in.
6. Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols is a Dominican professional player and of our 6 best-designated hitters. He is a 43 year-old free agent and nicknamed “The Machine.” The St. Louis Cardinal drafted him in the 13th round of the 1999 MLB draft.
The Machine was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States in 1996. Pujols made his MLB debut in 2001 and played for the team until 2011.
After that, he became a free agent and signed with Los Angeles Angles. In 2021, Pujol signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The athlete has a long list of career highlights and awards. Some of them include Gold Glove Award two times, Silver Slugger Award six times, the NL Hank Aaron award two times, the fielding bible award five times, etc.
Pujol recorded a .297 batting average, 3,301 hits, 679 home runs, and 2,150 runs batted in through the 2021 season.
5. Eloy Jimenez
Playing for the Chicago White Sox, we have 26 year-old Eloy Jimenez next. He was one of the top international free agents for 2013, and the Chicago Cubs signed him the same year.
Jimenez signed a $2.8 million contract with the Cub. However, before he could make his MLB debut, he was traded to the White Sox. He made his MLB debut in 2017.
After his debut, Jimenez has been part of the White Sox. In 2019, he signed a six-year extension contract worth $43 million with the team. His contract was the richest contract ever for a player with no service time before his MLB debut.
In 2020, Jimenez won the Silver Slugger Award, which is also his most notable career win and award. Then, unfortunately, he ruptured his left pectoral tendon on March 24, 2021. It caused him to be listed on the 60-day injured list.
Fortunately, Jimenez was able to make a recovery and get back on the field. His 2021 MLB record state .270 batting average, 55 home runs, and 157 runs batted in.
4. Yordan Alvarez
Our number 4 goes to the Houston Astros’ designated hitter, Yordan Alvarez. He is a 25-year-old Cuban player who made his MLB debut in 2019.
Alvarez was part of the Cuban National Series for two seasons. Then in 2016, he was defected from his home country and established residency in Haiti. He met Yuli Gurriel and his brother, part of the Astros roster.
Although Alvarez tried to sign with the Astros, he was denied by the club. Then he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an international free agent the same year. Initially signed for a $2 million contract by the Dodgers, Alvarez was traded to the Astros.
Some of his notable career wins and awards include AL Rookie of the Year (2019), All-MLB Second Team (2019, 2021), and an American League Championship Series MVP (2021).
Alvarez’s MLB 2021 statistics record states a batting average of .290, 61 home runs, and 186 runs batted in.
3. Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz is a Dominican-American designated hitter playing for Washington Nationals. The New York Mets signed him in 1998 as a non-drafted free agent. 42 year-old Cruz made his debut in 2005 with Milwaukee Brewers.
After the Mets signed Cruz in 1998, he was later traded to Oakland Athletics. The Athletics traded him to the Brewers in 2004, and then he made his MLB debut the next year.
Since his first MLB debut, Cruz has been part of various MLB franchises. He has been part of Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays.
His notable career wins and awards include Silver Slugger Award four times, Edgar Martinex Award two times, the All-Star seven times, an All-MLB First Team, Roberto Clemente Award, etc.
Cruz recorded an MLB statistics of .277 batting average, 1,913 hits, 449 home runs, and 1,238 runs batted in through his 2021 season.
2. Giancarlo Stanton
Counting at no 2 on our list for the best-designated hitter is New York Yankees’ player Giancarlo Stanton. He was formerly known as Mike Stanton and made his MLB debut in 2010 with Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins.)
The Marlins drafted Stanton as the 76th overall in the second round in the 2007 MLB draft. When Marlins signed him, he was signed to the richest total dollar value contract in team sports history at the time of signing.
Stanton played for the team until 2016, after which he was traded to the Yankee in 2018. His ability to regularly hit long home runs and physical strength has made him one of the most powerful designated hitters in MLB.
His notable career highlight wins and awards include two Silver Slugger Awards, two AL Hank Aaron Awards, All-Star four times, etc.
Stanton recorded a .269 batting average, 1,299 hits, 347 home runs, and 893 runs batted in during his 2021 season.
1. JD Martinez
Our number 1 spot goes to the designated hitter of Boston Red Sox, 35-year-old JD Martin. The Houston Astros drafted him in the 20th round as the 611th pick in the 2009 amateur draft.
Martin is the first player from his university, Nova Southeastern University (NSU), to play in MLB. He made his debut in 2011 for the Astros.
Since his debut in the MLB, Martin has played for the Detriot Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. The Red Sox signed Martinez on a five-year contract worth $110 million in 2018.
His notable career wins and awards include World Series champion, three Silver Slugger Award, AL Hank Aaron Award, All-Star four times, etc. Similarly, in 2018, he won the Players Choice Award for Player of the Year.
Martinez recorded a batting average of .290, 1,376 hits, 266 home runs, and 837 runs batted in during his 2021 MLB season.
The 2021 season saw many talented and skillful designated hitters. We can only hope that in the 2022 season, we will be able to see more of these talented players exceeding their current records.