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June 26, 2009

Prospectus Today

The Imbalance of Power

by Joe Sheehan

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A couple of months back, I'd written about how the NL Central was playing the best baseball of any of the game's divisions. As we come to the merciful end of interleague play this weekend, the NL Central has collectively slipped under .500, while the cream of the game has risen to the top. Rapidly. Here are the divisions' interdivisional records through Thursday:


            W    L    Win%
AL East    134  108  .554
NL West    103   95  .520
AL West    102   96  .515
NL Central 111  113  .496
AL Central 108  123  .468
NL East     96  119  .447

It looks more and more like the superiority of the AL, which we've come to take as a given, is actually a superiority of the AL East. Remember, the two leagues aren't distinct entities any longer, but conferences within one league. They operate under the same rules, they acquire talent in the same draft and have the same setups in the minor leagues. There's no structural reason why one league should be better. For a generation after World War II, the National League ran out ahead of the American League because it integrated more quickly, tapping into the reserves of African-American talent made available in the wake of Jackie Robinson's debut. There's been no change like that in MLB; I might argue that the AL has had more success in bringing over Japanese players-other than Hideo Nomo, the top NPB successes over here have played for AL squads-but that's nothing like the NL's better integration practices in the 1950s.

However, the competitive pressures of the divisions, and in particular the competitive pressures of two highly-successful, high-revenue, high-payroll monsters, sets a bar in the AL East that has to be met. That's why the Rays, who might have wandered into contention in the early 2000s in a different locale, had to be sold and implement an entirely new and different-thinking management team to be successful. It's why the Orioles, with no hope of contending through marginal improvements, brought in Andy MacPhail and gave him both the authority and the resources to change a decade of failed policies. The Blue Jays have put together so much pitching depth that they've been able to survive the complete loss of a rotation. That is a credit to a GM, J.P. Ricciardi, who I've frequently criticized. The Jays may, over a three-year period, be one of the top five teams in baseball, and nevertheless end up with absolutely nothing to show for it.

The AL is once again slamming the NL in interleague play, with a 113-96 mark (.541) with 43 games left to play. Barring at least a 29-13 weekend by the NL (there's a dangling Cubs/White Sox game to be played), the AL is going to win interleague play for the sixth straight season, and there's a good chance that for the fifth in a row, it won't be close. In this case, each division is carrying its own weight: every AL group is above .500 in interleague play, as are nine of the 14 teams in total. Over in the NL, the West is .500, the other two divisions below. Just five teams are above .500 against the AL.

The Adjusted Standings, which take into account not just wins and losses, but the underlying quality of play and the overall strength of schedule, are perhaps the best indicator of the quality gap. By third-order record, four of the top seven teams in baseball are AL East teams, with the Rays-fourth in their own division-arguably the best team in baseball, same as a year ago. Bullpen problems and some bad luck have done a good job of hiding how well they're building on last year's foundation. The Toronto Blue Jays are the seventh-best team in baseball. The bottom five teams in the National League, the Giants, Reds, Nationals, Astros and Padres, are all worse than the A's, bringing up the rear in the AL. It actually could have been worse for the NL; the Dodgers are clearly their best team, and had they not signed Manny Ramirez and Orlando Hudson as winter turned to spring-had, say, the Angels picked up one or both players, or the Angels Ramirez while the Twins ink Hudson-the AL could conceivably have the four best teams and maybe seven of the top eight.

Fundamentally, the AL is a .520 league, the NL a .480 league. The AL is six games better over a full season (84-78 vs. 78-84). However, that difference is entirely about the AL East. The average American League East team is a 91-71 team. No other MLB division is even at .500, although the AL Central pretty much rounds to 81-81:

AL East    .564
AL Central .498
AL West    .494
NL East    .488
NL West    .485
NL Central .474

That's complete and utter dominance of the sport, akin to what a great college basketball or football conference might be in any given year. Or perhaps to what the best division in the NBA's Western Conference might have done at that group's peak. It's an imbalance the likes of which we've rarely seen, and which we're certainly not accounting for in evaluating both the AL East teams and the teams around the league. The four best teams in the AL are all in the East, and two will have to stay home so that two of the Tigers, Twins, Rangers, and Angels can populate October. I wouldn't necessarily call that unfair, which is a loaded word, but I do think it's a shame that we've gotten to a point where the best teams in baseball are so unevenly distributed as to leave so many good ones home. Some fundamentally 90-win team like the Jays is going to miss the playoffs so that we can watch at least one, maybe more, fundamentally .500 teams play on. The Orioles, no one's idea of a contender, would be in the mix for the National League Wild Card.

So watch the Yankees and Mets this weekend, and the Jays and Phillies, and the Rays and Marlins, and think less about the gap between their actual records and more about the gap between what they really are. The AL East is simply playing a different game than everyone else is.

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

Related Content:  Al

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

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Evan
(47)

That last point in the penultimate paragraph really tells the story. The Orioles clearly have no chance to do anything other than finish last in the AL East, but in the NL they'd compete for a wild card.

I suppose this does mean that we're likely to see a fight to the finish for the AL wild card, unlike 2001 (for example) where Oakland won the wild card by 17 games over Minnesota.

Jun 26, 2009 11:40 AM
rating: 1
 
kqubesx
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Cue east coast bias discussion?

Jun 26, 2009 11:41 AM
rating: -19
 
Ira

Would you rather have a system like the NBA or NHL? where the top 8 teams in each league are taken and the divisions mean nothing? Don't forget that the unbalanced schedule will eat into the AL East's record as those beasts have to start playing each other alot more. (and unlike in previous years, the front end of the schedule was not filled with divisional matchups). Now, if the schedules were balanced, then it wouldn't be such an issue, but still purists would complain even more. (if there are any purists left out there)

Jun 26, 2009 11:49 AM
rating: 0
 
TGisriel

I disagree with your comment on the schedule. 26 of the Orioles first 48 games scheduled them against the AL East. The intra-divisional games were very front loaded. The Orioles have now played 24 straight games outside of the AL East. They have series with Boston and Toronto before the All-Star break.

In September, all of the O's games but 6 are in the AL East.

This is the traditional unbalanced schedule.

Jun 26, 2009 13:39 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

An additional data point: Jay's Hit List has the Dodgers at the top, then four AL East teams.

Jun 26, 2009 11:49 AM
 
sgturner65

Um, Joe, the two leagues do not operate under the same rules. The AL uses the designated hitter that adds another bat at a significant salary to the roster.

According to 2009 payrolls posted at baseball.about.com, the average AL team payroll is $93.25M while the average NL team payroll is $84.34M

That's quite a difference and goes a long ways in explaining the differences in interleague play.

Jun 26, 2009 11:50 AM
rating: 5
 
stately

Joe--

I think a good way to verify this is to look at the home/road records in the interleague series. Over time, are the NL teams--who don't reserve a payroll spot for a designated masher--falling behind in games under AL rules?

Jun 26, 2009 12:05 PM
rating: 1
 
ElAngelo
(942)

About half of that difference is the Marlins' insanely spendthrift ways, though.

Jun 26, 2009 12:26 PM
rating: 0
 
Aaron/YYZ

There's a lot of skew on both sides. The Marlins surely pull down the NL's mean, whereas the Yankees & Red Sox surely pull up the AL's mean.

Jun 27, 2009 09:25 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

The last time I looked at this, 2007 or 2008, I found that AL DHs weren't anything special. The idea that many or most teams have a David Ortiz is illusory. Many teams have no regular DH, some have bad ones.

Even if this theory is correct, the money NL teams aren't spending on a DH should be available to improve other aspects of the team. Just having a DH rule doesn't create a huge spending gap between the teams in each league.

Moreover, if this was because of the DH, the gap should have been evident from the start. It didn't emerge for some time. The DH rule is likely not the reason the AL has dominated interleague play of late, no matter how many times the argument gets made.

Jun 26, 2009 13:08 PM
 
calebw

I recall some of these debunking sessions of the past two years, but I'm still not quite satisfied. Even if the actual player trotting out as DH on an AL team isn't that great, presumably he is better than the analogous top pinch hitter on each NL team, no? Shouldn't that give every AL team an advantage on offense, since on the road a regular is the first off the AL team's bench, and in an AL park the visitor is forced to play a pinch hitter-type at DH?

Add in the fact that the NL rules allow otherwise mediocre pitchers to survive as 5th starters or relievers, and the regular domination shouldn't come as a complete surprise.

Am I missing something in the logic here?

As for the $$, why would an NL team spend as much as the AL on top pitchers to fill out a rotation when lesser arms will do? Seems like they would reallocate that $$ (plus the $$ otherwise spent on DHs) to the 8 starting spots in the lineup, but perhaps there aren't enough stars available to make this cost effective.

Jun 26, 2009 13:37 PM
rating: 0
 
TGisriel

I find it amusing that NL fans, who consistently claim that NL baseball is better because the pitcher bats and there is no DH, are claiming that the DH gives AL teams an advantage in interleague games.

Jun 26, 2009 13:42 PM
rating: 0
 
Dave Pomerantz

I think the DH gives an advantage to the AL for the exact reasons that calebw mentions. That doesn't mean I think it makes baseball better. I don't like that 2 starting players on AL teams don't have to play all parts of the game. It also removes a lot of the late-game strategy that I think adds to the drama and entertainment of the game.

Jun 26, 2009 14:56 PM
rating: 1
 
Aaron/YYZ

I don't know about you, but I can't think of anyone I know that goes to the ballpark to see Pitchers hit. It waters down the quality of play for half the game, and the late-game strategy is almost entirely by the book anyways.

Jun 27, 2009 09:29 AM
rating: 2
 
BrianGunn
(439)

NL supremacists used to say things like that back in the '70s and early '80s, but I haven't heard that old chestnut anytime in the last 20 years.

Jun 28, 2009 14:29 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)


Here's another debunking session:

1997: 97-117
1998: 114-110
1999: 116-135
2000: 136-115
2001: 132-120
2002: 123-129
2003: 115-137

If the AL's advantage in interleague play is systemic, with the proximate cause being the DH, what happened in the first seven seasons?

It's not the DH. It's the higher standard set by the best teams, which forces the AL East, and to a lesser extent everyone else, to work harder. The top tier of the NL doesn't reach that level, allowing everyone to mill about and try to get to 90 wins. First the Yankees, then the Angels and A's, and then finally the Red Sox set a competitive standard starting in the late 1990s that was well above the NL's level.

That's why the AL is better.

Jun 26, 2009 15:54 PM
 
danlbfaks

Bingo. Two words stand out for me: "work harder." It's not the money difference. The Yankees account for just about the entire difference in average payrolls between the leagues but don't account for the difference in interleague performance alone. It's effort across most of the league. For some time, the NL has effectively colluded. Too few teams are stepping up and giving maximum effort at all levels of the organization. There's not enough incentive to try harder because almost every NL club has a shot each year just by showing up--better to relax and wait your turn than to try harder. Consider your favorite team: are they expanding Latin American scouting/development programs? Adding scouts in Asia? Is your favorite team using the six-years of indentured servitude rookies must suffer as well as they could? Does your club have a lot of dead weight contracts?

Jun 26, 2009 17:09 PM
rating: 2
 
BrianGunn
(439)

I totally agree. If my St. Louis Cardinals were in the AL East, they'd be finishing 20 games out of first rather than 4 or 5, in which case our front office would have to adapt to avoid a fan mutiny.

Jun 28, 2009 14:33 PM
rating: 0
 
SoxOsPhils

Joe,

I agree with your basic premise that AL East is the best. Nothing is worse than watching the Phillies get smacked around in series after series against the AL East through a combination of their own ineptitude, injuries, and being overmatched.

I wonder what impact the matchups have on the interleague records or do you think it does not really matter in the end.

Jun 26, 2009 12:15 PM
rating: 0
 
jeffstoned

Yeah, but the Phillies stink in interleague play against every AL division, every year. They don't quite have the all-time worst interleague record in the NL, but I'm pretty certain that they have the largest gap by far between overall winning percentage and interleague-only winning percentage over the last nine seasons, if not all time.

They did win their most important interleague series, last October, which helps ease the pain some. But as a Phils fan, I've come to dread and loathe this part of the schedule.

Jun 26, 2009 12:59 PM
rating: 1
 
DavidK44

Joe,

Do you have any solutions? Do you think this is a "problem", or just a quirky outcome that's interesting to note but ultimately nothing more? When the Western Conference was so dominant people were calling for a straight 16 team playoff, David Stern's response was "this is just cyclical", and to a degree, he's right.

It could be argued that this is not cyclical in MLB because of the Yankees and Red Sox. But that's not the point.

Regardless of whether it's cyclical or not, do you think there should be a change? And a "realistic" change at that (as in, not going back to the days of 2 divisions with only one team from each advancing; I know you've long advocated for that but there's just no chance the owners would EVER agree to that)?

Jun 26, 2009 12:27 PM
rating: 1
 
ElAngelo
(942)

I'm not sure 2 divisions isn't realistic. What if they went to two divisions and kept two wildcards from each league?

Jun 26, 2009 12:41 PM
rating: 0
 
DavidK44

I don't see the owners going for that because one of the main side-perks of 3 division and unbalanced schedules is significantly less travel costs.

That the Blue Jays, Rays and Orioles get screwed probably doesn't trump all the teams not on the West Coast not wanting to travel out to the West Coast more than they already do.

Maybe it does though.

Jun 26, 2009 19:21 PM
rating: 1
 
ccseverson

Despite what the Adjusted Standings show, it's hard to argue that the A's are better than the Giants - having lost 5 of 6 head-to-head meetings.

Jun 26, 2009 13:11 PM
rating: -2
 
jlefty

true. plus the nationals took 2 out of 3 from the yankees. It's hard to argue that the yanks are better than them.

Jun 29, 2009 07:33 AM
rating: 5
 
amazin_mess
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Ridiculous and completely misses the boat.

The DH makes a huge difference.

Jun 26, 2009 13:26 PM
rating: -23
 
Vinegar Bend
(477)

and the evidence supporting your argument is...?

Jun 26, 2009 14:22 PM
rating: 2
 
danlbfaks

Quite simply: the AL is at or above .500 in interleague play for several years running...IN NATIONAL LEAGUE PARKS. If the DH really does make a big difference, it can only mean that the AL is even more superior right now than the numbers suggest.

Jun 26, 2009 14:44 PM
rating: 3
 
greensox

Okay, the AL east is the best division.
But you've hardly made the case that those are the 4 best teams.
How do you explain that Tampa Bay's record against the AL Central is inferior to 3 AL Central teams' record against the AL Central?

The point is that this needs to be accompanied with schedule analysis to make the conclusions that you made.Toronto was hot early in the season and happened to be playing the AL Central teams at the time. Let's see how it all shakes out.

Good to see you're still not chirping about those horrendous Indians. Can you imagine how bad they would be had they not made the Colon trade?

Jun 26, 2009 13:43 PM
rating: 0
 
danlbfaks

Despite playing about 50% of their games intradivision, the AL East is 134-106 against non-division opponents. At .558, that doesn't look all that gawdy, but it'd be good for 1st place in half of MLB's divisions. Runs scored backs up the story: they're +173 runs combined. 240 games is hard to argue with.

Jun 26, 2009 14:56 PM
rating: 1
 
ElAngelo
(942)

Joe, no posting on the NBA draft?

Jun 26, 2009 14:21 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

Not my thing. Player analysis, looking into potential...Kevin, Brad, Anthony and John all eat that stuff with a spoon.

The big guns on the hoops staff did a great job with all of the draft coverage this week. Check out the live in-draft chat over at http://www.basketballprospectus.com for some really good material.


Jun 26, 2009 15:47 PM
 
Vinegar Bend
(477)

This is a good article. It reminds me of the stuff BP used to put out regularly years ago but which seems rarer now.

Jun 26, 2009 14:30 PM
rating: 1
 
amazin_mess
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Yeah guys, because we all know DH's can't play the field...ever.

It makes the difference when a team can hire an extra $5-15 million dollar middle-of-the-order bat.

But I digress....the AL is clearly superior. They've won the last three World Series...oh...wait.

Jun 26, 2009 14:53 PM
rating: -28
 
noelhol

If DH's can play the field what prevents the NL teams from hiring an extra 5-15 million dollar at bat? If AL teams have discovered a better method at winning with the NL rules at NL parks, then the NL teams should just copy their ideas shouldn't they?

Jun 26, 2009 18:27 PM
rating: 1
 
amazin_mess
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The NL rules!!!

Jun 26, 2009 18:10 PM
rating: -24
 
jnossal

It seems to me that two-division format was originally created largely to add a round of playoffs. But with the acceptance of the wild card, aren't divisional assignments obsolete, even detrimental given the wildly varying team strengths and the different number of teams in each division? Why not dispense with divisions entirely in favor of league standings with the top 6 teams making the post-season?

I'm guessing the aforementioned travel costs would be a factor. Also, it is probably a lot easier to sell tickets with a second-place team two games out in a four-team division than a 10th place team with the same record in a 16-team league.

Jun 26, 2009 21:05 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

That's exactly right. The initial split to divisions wasn't about a second round of playoffs, but to avoid a league in which too many teams would be also-rans. the problem of ninth- and tenth-place teams, created by the 1961 expansion, would be exacerbated. You are still trying to sell tickets.

Subsequent expansions of the postseason have been more about the postseason than the regular season, adding tiers of high-value (or perceived high-value--remember ALDS games on The Family Channel?) games at the expense of pennant races. You'll never convince me this has been a net positive for the industry, but because the costs are not visible--you can't lament what you haven't seen, the Septembers lost--and the benefits apparent, it's a hard argument to make.

A one-league structure as you propose wouldn't really be much different. You'd never have the races between great teams, and you'd simply have NBA and NHL races among mediocre teams.

I think we'll eventually have expansion to 32 teams and eight four-team divisions. That looked like something for the late 2000s or early 2010s, but between the economy and what seems like a lack of viable markets, maybe it'll take longer.

MLB *does not* care about its structural integrity. Maybe it shouldn't, I don't know. But it's never going to make a change out of a desire to make the regular-season a more fair contest. That ship hasn't just sailed, it's reached port and is taking on cargo.



Jun 26, 2009 21:15 PM
 
hyprvypr

Hmm, doesn't the AL East spend much more money on players then most other divisions? I'd give credit except it's like giving a medal to the guy driving a Viper who beats the Honda in a quarter mile race.

Jun 27, 2009 06:45 AM
rating: 2
 
greenfrog

I'm a Jays fan and the current arrangement is just about the worst of all possible worlds for my team. The Jays are right in the playoff race, despite a payroll that is roughly 40% and 65% of the Yankees and Red Sox payrolls, respectively. While the Yankees lavish juicy contracts on players like AJ Burnett (whom they poached from the Jays, incidentally), Toronto has mostly built a contender out of spare parts and castoffs (Rolen, Scutaro, Overbay, Downs, Tallet, Richmond) and young talent (Hill, Lind, Romero, Cecil, Marcum, Snider), while hanging on to Ash-era veterans (Halladay, Wells, Rios).

The Jays front office isn't perfect--for one thing, they doled out a back-loaded $121M contract to Wells that is looking more and more like an albatross for the organization. And they failed abysmally to find competent players in LF and DH last year (consider the players used at those positions in 2008: Thomas, Stairs, Stewart, Wilkerson, Mench, Barajas, Inglett), probably the two easiest positions at which to find replacement-level talent, thereby torpedoing the team's playoff chances by midsummer.

But they've made a lot of good drafting and other under-the-radar moves in recent years--for example, they're currently getting all-star caliber performances at SS and 3B, despite their complete and utter failure to develop minor-league talent at those positions. In short, they've pieced together a good team on a budget using unconventional tactics. Once again, however, they're likely to end up with nothing to show for it, in part because of the wealthy behemoths of the AL East (take a look at the first- and second-place teams in the division over the last 15 years to get a sense of the long-term power imbalance).

Jun 27, 2009 09:02 AM
rating: 2
 
krusch

It should be noted that the Blue Jays have barely played against the AL East. They've played 15 games in their division (they spent April beating up on the AL Central) while the other teams have played 25-28 divisional games. That makes them less of the juggernaut that BP mysteriously loves to call them.

Also, these imbalances do bring into question the nature of the imbalanced schedule. Why not just switch to an NFL-type format where there are 6 divisions of 5 teams each, (pick some crappy NL team and move them to the AL) ditch the "interleague play week!" and just fit your interleague games into the schedule like the NFL does -- whenever it makes sense. You play 1 division in the other league, leave open a 3-game set with a natural rival if you feel like it, and play maybe 4 or 5 more games against your divisional teams (weighted toward september to make things interesting.)

That would cause some 2-game series, which the union hates, but I think most of those would happen within the division, and thus probably not involve long travel.

At least that way you wouldn't have a 4-team division, a 6-team division, and 4 5-team divisions. what a damn mess.

Oh, and while you're at it, make interleague games play by the VISITING team's rules. I'd love to see a pitcher hit at Fenway, or a DH in St. Louis.

Jun 27, 2009 09:14 AM
rating: 2
 
jkaplow21

It is intellectually criminal to say that the AL doesn't have an advantage due to the DH. There may be plenty of other factors which cause the AL to win more games, but the DH gives them a solid baseline advantage and there is no possible way to argue that it doesn't without being dishonest.

The NL absolutely cannot pay some dude 10 mil to sit on their bench. No player would go for that and it is a complete waste of resources. What the NL teams HAVE to do is compensate by having decent pinch hitters and glove guys to hit for the pitcher or be able to come in for a double switch. In addition, NL teams have to focus on a different subset of relief pitchers to compensate for having to bat for a pitcher if his spot comes up in a key situation.

These are sizable advantages that the AL team has. They may not be able to have 2 1st basemen playing like the Red Sox, but they certainly can have a stud minor leaguer come up and be abl to put his bat in the lineup even if his position is blocked whereas he would just sit on the NL team's bench. The DH affords the AL plenty of advanatges in terms of how they spend their money on their bench and bullpen and gives them a spot to test some young players if they aren't in the WC race.

Jun 27, 2009 12:10 PM
rating: -2
 
fitzpams

This is in fact addressed above. Yes, AL teams have an incentive to spend more for an all offense/no defense player, which they do not share with NL teams. The question becomes, what does the NL team do with that roster spot, and the money that is spent on it. As Joe points out, for the most part, AL teams are not actually getting great production out of the DH hole, although for some teams it is a way to mitigate teh sunk costs of overpaying to land a hitter many years ago. The argument is that NL teams are simply investing in lower quality product- they assume that a true talent 88 win team has a good chance to make the playoffs and then anything can happen. The AL, especially the AL East assumes that you need a true talent 94 win team to have a good chance to make the playoffs. Owners, looking to maximize profits see the sweet spot on the salary structure as being lower in the NL. So even if you assume that the DH is a better hitter than his NL counterpart, the competitive difference between teams is in the failure to invest those savings in other places on the diamond- wherever an individual team thinks they could get the most return on the investment. So no, the argument is not "intellectually criminal" it looks at competative structures rather than the performance of a single roster spot in isolation. (This leaves aside the degree to which DHs are not the offensive beasts that one would assume that they are.)

Jun 29, 2009 11:49 AM
rating: 0
 
danlbfaks

Only the Yankees create a payroll disparity. The average payroll of the other 13 AL teams is within 1-2% of the average of the 16 NL teams. And as I've said, the Yankees IL record alone certainly doesn't account for the W-L difference between leagues. If you only look at a Yankee-less AL, they've still dominated the NL for six straight years. I'm repeating myself here, but I need to provide the above again before proceeding:

Given 90 mil, if a non-Yankee AL club dedicates 10 mil to a DH, they must fill the other 13 (8 fielders + 5 pitchers) regulars and 11 bullpen/bench slots with only 80 mil left. NL clubs have 89.6 mil left for their 13 regulars and remaining 11 bullpen/bench slots. If we assume the clubs have equal talent recognition, the NL team's 13 regulars, bullpen, and bench should end up being 12% "better" than the AL team's. However, what IL records for several years have shown is that, as a whole, the NL clubs are *not* recognizing talent as efficiently as AL clubs.

Jun 30, 2009 06:53 AM
rating: 1
 
mpfaelzer

Although briefly mentioned, this article ignores what the basic problem of baseball, the inequality of payrolls. It would be very interesting to see the teams ranked on a win per dollar basis. Having a system where some teams have to pay other teams (payroll tax) to play them is rediculous. Believe me, true revenue sharing is the only way to go.

Jun 27, 2009 13:22 PM
rating: -2
 
Sacramento

To explain why "the AL is going to win interleague play for the sixth straight season...," the article focuses on the AL East's contribution. Test another hypothesis: are the Washington Nationals and Pittsburg Pirates and other National League non-competitors responsible for the imbalance?

Jun 27, 2009 15:01 PM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

I don't think this is a reasonable line of discussion (carving the data into smaller slices usually hides information) but since you asked, here are the IL records for the last place teams in MLB:

Orioles, 11-6
Indians, 5-11
A's, 5-11
Nationals, 6-11
Pirates, 8-6
Diamondbacks, 5-9

I say, "null hypothesis."

Jun 27, 2009 20:49 PM
 
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