|Brian Dozier beats Wade Davis to the plate in the eighth|
inning Sunday with the winning run.
There have always been lousy fielding pitchers, and always will be, but I have a pet theory that (a) many, perhaps most, major league pitchers today are essentially unable to handle anything beyond their basic task of throwing from the mound and (b) that the designated hitter rule has a significant role to play in that.
The DH prevails almost on almost every level of baseball, except the National League. With hitting chores essentially taken from them, pitchers are — you can chose your verbal slant — either liberated to focus on the act of pitching or constrained to focus on the act of pitching.
They aren't baseball players. And when they are asked to do other, basic, things relevant to baseball games — be it run the bases, or field a ground ball and throw to a base — those things are out of their skill set, or at least out of their comfort level.
That's my theory, and I know quite well there are pitchers who can make plays in the field and go first-to-third on a single to right. But I do think there has been a general decline in overall athletic ability among pitchers since the DH rule came into play, and I don't think it's coincidental.