CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
What You Need to Know:... (06/25)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: Not Eve... (06/25)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Brandon... (06/25)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (06/25)

June 25, 2012

BP Unfiltered

The AL Wins Interleague Again

by Ben Lindbergh

After 252 interleague games, we have a final tally for 2012: AL 142, NL 110. That's a .563 winning percentage for the AL, which translates to a 91-win pace over a 162-game season. The AL has now taken the NL's lunch money in interleague play for nine consecutive seasons.

Here's what the AL's yearly winning percentage has looked like since the start of interleague play:

Overall, the AL has won at a .525 clip since 1997, going 2079-1883. Since the winning streak started in 2004, the AL's record is 1246-1020 (.550). The NL actually narrowed the gap for three consecutive seasons from 2009-11, but the AL lengthened its lead this year, possibly as a result of importing more talent over the offseason.

Several reasons have been proposed for the AL's recent run of success—this summary by Justin Inaz is a couple years old, but it still pretty much covers it. Regardless of the factors responsible for the 21st-century swing toward the AL, league strength is cyclical, and neither league is inherently superior, at least to the extent that the AL has been lately. The NL outclassed the AL over the first seven seasons of interleague, and it will again. We're just not sure when.*

*Though dumping the Astros on the AL next year won't hurt.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

Related Content:  National League,  American League,  Interleague Play,  Al,  Nl

10 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

NYYanks826

Maybe they should give home-field advantage to the league that wins Interleague, instead of relying on a one-game, winner-take-all sample.

Jun 25, 2012 01:12 AM
rating: 1
 
NYYanks826

Sorry, that wasn't 100% clear. I meant home-field advantage in the World Series.

Jun 25, 2012 01:12 AM
rating: 0
 
Sharky

Ben, Justin's article is a good one. But it is out of step with current reality in terms of payrolls.

AL teams have FIVE of the top 6 payrolls. Yes, also 5 of the top 10 if you slice it that way. But look at the difference between AL teams and NL teams (even excluding the Yankees). Boston and Philly are a wash, but the next 3 teams spend a lot more than the NL counterparts. Hell, even further down the ladder: the lowly Minnesota Twins spent more than the New York Mets ($94m vs. $93m).

Jun 25, 2012 10:06 AM
rating: 0
 
delatopia

If you ran this article over at ESPN, the comments field would be filled immediately with NL fans steadfastly proclaiming the Senior Circuit the stronger league by virtue of having won more World Series lately. It's astonishing how many people think seven games in October outweighs 252 games over the course of the season.

Jun 25, 2012 10:55 AM
rating: 0
 
Morris Greenberg

I have always been curious how hitters filling in as the DH slot on NL teams in interleague play compare to their full-time counterparts in the AL during that time. Additionally, do the slash lines for pitchers in the different leagues differ greatly?

Jun 25, 2012 11:06 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Can't think of a reference for your first question off the top of my head, though I think I remember reading that the AL designated hitters are superior.

As for the second question: Tom Tango wrote something about that recently. NL pitchers hit significantly better than AL pitchers, most likely because they get so much more practice.

Jun 25, 2012 15:06 PM
 
BillJohnson

I looked at this recently, and found that AL DHs have an OPS almost 75 points higher than NL DHs.

Jun 25, 2012 18:43 PM
rating: -1
 
BillJohnson

Oops, hit the return too soon. That difference is not restricted to ABs during interleague play, however. It's the whole season's OPS for the aggregate of AL DHs, compared to OPS only in interleague play (obviously) for the NL ones. The difference is quite large compared to season-long OPS differences at other positions, which tend to favor NL players on average, usually by 15 points or less. Note that AL pitchers OPSed .292 (as of five days ago) to .320 for NL pitchers over the whole season.

Jun 25, 2012 18:50 PM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I looked at the DH issue in great detail back in March (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16178) using the more context-sensitive True Average. AL DHs have consistently outhit NL DHs despite the latter having better hitters in that role; AL DHs have put up TAvs in the .269-.281 range since interleague began, while the NL average is .258, well off what those players hit when they're otherwise deployed. That's an issue both of roster construction - not having an extra above-average hitter on hand - and a lot of those players being at something less than 100 percent when taking on DH duties.

Jun 26, 2012 11:08 AM
 
win

Do you have home/road splits for interleague play? I believe the AL has always won a higher percentage of games in AL parks than home field advantage would dictate.

Jun 25, 2012 20:00 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
What You Need to Know:... (06/25)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: Not Eve... (06/25)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Brandon... (06/25)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (06/25)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: June 3, 2015
West Coast By Us: The Barry Bonds Junior Gia...
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Three Conversations About (and ...
Fantasy Rounders: Riding the Frazier Crane
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Draft Needs: National ...
BP Boston
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The Credit Card Game

MORE FROM JUNE 25, 2012
Out of Left Field: Curt Schilling's Blood Ru...
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Second, Short, and Catcher for ...
The Week in Quotes: June 18-24
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Genius: Potential League-Ho...
Premium Article Collateral Damage Daily: Monday, June 25
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, June 25
What You Need to Know: Monday, June 25

MORE BY BEN LINDBERGH
2012-06-26 - BP Unfiltered: Google and Anti-Umpire Search...
2012-06-26 - BP Unfiltered: Today in Entirely Speculative...
2012-06-25 - Premium Article Overthinking It: What Does Everyone Have Aga...
2012-06-25 - BP Unfiltered: The AL Wins Interleague Again
2012-06-25 - BP Unfiltered: Not Everyone is Excited to Be...
2012-06-24 - BP Unfiltered: Home Runs Aren't Always Mista...
2012-06-24 - BP Unfiltered: Today's Tim McCarver Tracer
More...

MORE BP UNFILTERED
2012-06-26 - BP Unfiltered: Google and Anti-Umpire Search...
2012-06-26 - BP Unfiltered: Today in Entirely Speculative...
2012-06-25 - BP Unfiltered: Brandon Gomes is the Tormente...
2012-06-25 - BP Unfiltered: The AL Wins Interleague Again
2012-06-25 - BP Unfiltered: Not Everyone is Excited to Be...
2012-06-25 - BP Unfiltered: Wins, and When Things That Do...
2012-06-25 - BP Unfiltered: Casey Kotchman and Mike Napol...
More...