April 22, 2007

WHERE BRONSON ARROYO CAN BE AN ACE:

One League Is Superior, and Don’t Blame the Yankees (DAN ROSENHECK, 4/22/07, NY Times)

[A]lthough the teams had the same 2006 won-lost record and split their interleague games, last year’s Yankees probably would have beaten the Mets comfortably had they played more games against each other.

The Yankees were superior because they faced a subtle but significant disadvantage: their league. The gap between the American League and the National League has grown larger in the past two years than at any point since the 1950s, when the N.L. integrated black players much faster than the A.L. did. According to Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus, a typical A.L. hitter moving to the N.L. can expect to gain about 10 points of batting average and on-base percentage and 20 points of slugging percentage. A.L. pitchers switching leagues will usually have their earned run averages decrease because of the absence of the designated hitter in the N.L., but Silver calculates that the E.R.A. of an A.L. pitcher switching leagues is likely to drop by 0.25 runs more than can be accounted for by the D.H.

At a team level, an average A.L. squad would probably improve its record by about 10 games if it could face N.L. competition, meaning that last year’s Yankees probably would have been a 107-win juggernaut if they had played the Mets’ schedule. The same is true in reverse: if the 2006 Mets had played in the A.L., they would have won only 87 games and missed the playoffs. This is about the same difference in league strength as the gap between today’s N.L. and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

Some variation in league strength is not uncommon in baseball history, but the magnitude of today’s imbalance is remarkable.


Notice how Ted Lilly has suddenly become Steve Carlton?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 22, 2007 8:12 AM
Comments

Yep, but Arroyo has already lost twice to the Cubs.

Posted by: jdkelly at April 22, 2007 10:13 AM
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