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Friday, June 23, 2006

League Quality? AL 10 games better than NL?

The article is just a RedSox notebook, so it isn’t all that interesting except for this one paragraph…

Among the statistical devices Red Sox management has at its disposal is a program that simulates a major league season. One thing the Sox brass has done: place American League teams as presently composed in the National League and simulate a 162-game season. The club’s conclusion: There is a 10-game difference (which is considered gigantic) between leagues. In other words: An AL team that projects to win 85 games in the AL this season projects to win 95 in the NL, according to general manager Theo Epstein.

 

Mister High Standards Posted: June 23, 2006 at 01:40 PM | 205 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   1. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 23, 2006 at 01:47 PM (#2073178)
In other words: An AL team that projects to win 85 games in the AL this season projects to win 95 in the NL, according to general manager Theo Epstein.


I would hope that he's doing an adjustment for the DH when he does that.

-- MWE
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: June 23, 2006 at 01:56 PM (#2073187)
That means KC would win nearly 25 games in the NL.
   3. SG Posted: June 23, 2006 at 02:04 PM (#2073190)
place American League teams as presently composed in the National League and simulate a 162-game season.


As currently composed and with how they've performed to date, or as currently composed but with projections on how they can be expected to perform going forward? That's an important distinction I would think. I'd also guess the division you stick the AL team in would make a non-trivial difference.
   4. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 02:10 PM (#2073192)
Much as it pains me to say it, I believe it. The NL really has a bunch of teams with some real strengths but tremendous flaws (e.g., Philly, St. Louis, Houston, Reds), or just plain bad ones. It has one team, and one team only, that can be said to be truly outstanding, and that's the Mets, and even the Mets have weaknesses that certainly should give us pause in declaring them great. Basically, you could take the entire NL and condense it into a league half as big and have a good league. That isn't good.
   5. Rally Posted: June 23, 2006 at 02:51 PM (#2073210)
I think 10 games is a little much, I'd put it at 5.

If it were 10, then:

1.) The Yankees and Red Sox are actually better teams than the Mets - I don't buy that at all
2.) The White Sox and Tigers are about 15 games better than the Mets - They aren't that good
3.) The Angels, in the NL West, would be right in the thick of things. - Hate to say it, but he Angels are no contenders, they are a very flawed team.
   6. Dizzypaco Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2073219)
I don't have any data, but I believe its true. Almost every team in the National League is very flawed.

1.) The Yankees and Red Sox are actually better teams than the Mets - I don't buy that at all
2.) The White Sox and Tigers are about 15 games better than the Mets - They aren't that good
3.) The Angels, in the NL West, would be right in the thick of things. - Hate to say it, but he Angels are no contenders, they are a very flawed team.


First of all, you have to account for the fact that we are only 70 games into the season, which throws off the current numbers. But I don't think its hard at all to accept that the Red Sox may be better than the Mets, even if they win less games this year -I'm not sure about the Yankees given the injuries. The Tigers and White Sox are playing far over their heads - I don't expect either team to win 100 games this year. Finally, I think the Angels would be very competitive in the National League west. They are certainly aren't significantly worse than any of the teams currently in the NL West (Rockies!?!). In fact, I think they are a better team than almost anyone in that division.
   7. Rally Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:03 PM (#2073224)
In fact, I think they are a better team than almost anyone in that division.

You must not watch their games. I wouldn't recommend it - its very painful.
   8. bibigon Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2073226)
If it were 10, then:

1.) The Yankees and Red Sox are actually better teams than the Mets - I don't buy that at all
2.) The White Sox and Tigers are about 15 games better than the Mets - They aren't that good
3.) The Angels, in the NL West, would be right in the thick of things. - Hate to say it, but he Angels are no contenders, they are a very flawed team.

1 and 3 pass the smell test for me. #2 meanwhile is likely just a sample size issue.

10 wins seems about right to me.
   9. TomH Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#2073229)
Baseball Prospectus' adjusted standings show much the same.

Previous years World Series play and all-star game results would concur.

The number of cross-over players to the NL this year who are doing well, and poor showings going the other way, are another piece of evidence.

10 games sounds like a lot, but it could be. So why did I get trade for Randy Johnson on my Scorehseet team?

A 10 game edge would put the typical wpct of an AL team at .560 going against an NL team., which would mean there is about a 62% chance of the AL winning the World Series, all other things being equal.
   10. Fridas Boss Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#2073236)
All Theo has done here is incite the NL to try harder in the All-Star game to lock up World Series home field advantage. This time it counts.
   11. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2073238)
3.) The Angels, in the NL West, would be right in the thick of things. - Hate to say it, but he Angels are no contenders, they are a very flawed team.

It is not inconsistent to say that the Angels "are a very flawed team" and that they would be "right in the thick of things" in the NL West were they parked there. Every team that IS in the thick of things in the NL West is a very flawed team. Put it this way: the Angels would need a lot less fixing to put themselves in a good/better position to become competitive with the Dodgers (assuming they're not already) than they do to become competitive with the A's.

And I think Dizzypaco nailed it when he pointed out that the "10 games better" refers to a whole season's worth of data, not 70 games. I'd add that you can't just point to a single team as a reference point to undermine the argument (the Mets). The teams in the AL as a whole are that much better than the teams in the NL, and the Mets are pretty much playing the way you'd expect a dominant-quality AL team to play if it were transported into one of the NL divisions: they're stomping it (conveniently enough, a 10-game lead). The Mets would hold their own against the best in the AL, and that's pretty much the point of the argument about the NL as a whole.
   12. Gaelan Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#2073239)
While the ten game number may be true on average it can't be applied in a linear fashion. It is easier to go from 81 to 91 wins than it is to go from 95 to 105 wins. Even if you add the full measure to the Tigers and White Sox that only makes them 7 or 8 games better than the Mets. So then in reality they might be five games better which can be accounted by the performance of fifth starters which nobody really thinks about when evaluating a team. So the Mets come out about equal with the Tigers and White Sox in terms of playoff possibilities even with the AL being ten games better.

And while I agree that the Angels suck the point is that everyone in the NL sucks too. Even if you count the Cardinals as a good team that still means that at least two average teams will make the playoffs this season while at least two good teams won't make it in the AL.
   13. pkb33 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:21 PM (#2073241)
You have to consider just how much the Mets staff benefits from park and league context.

Don't you think Glavine and Trachsel would lose a greater-than-average amount of effectiveness in the AL East? I do. Pedro, obviously, is still Pedro but he had a 3.90 ERA his last year in the AL East, remember.

I can easily buy that (at least assuming equal health) the Red Sox and Yankees are 10 games better than the Mets. The NL hasn't won a world series game since 2003, and the guy who did that is now on the Red Sox anyway! Sample size, I know, but the gap appears huge by all measures I can think of...
   14. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:29 PM (#2073251)
1.) The Yankees and Red Sox are actually better teams than the Mets - I don't buy that at all

1 and 3 pass the smell test for me.


# 3, I already dealt with; the Angels are not all that much more flawed than the teams in the NL West. Somewhat, probably, but they'd be a lot closer to fixable.

As for # 1, as currently constituted I have zero doubt the Yankees are inferior to the Mets. They are holding up to their injuries remarkably well, but if they played 100 times with the current rosters, I am very confident the Mets would win a strong majority of the games. As for the Red Sox, that's a more arguable proposition, but I'd still take the Mets. Either way, it doesn't really affect the basic point about the overall strength of the leagues if one team (the Mets) either is, or is not, an exception to the rule.
   15. Toolsy McClutch Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2073257)
I was going to post something, but #12 caught it. Saying 'add 10 wins to every AL team' is just plain dumb, but the point that the AL is stronger is a good one, and it's nice that someone did some work to back it up.
   16. Garth found his way to daylight Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:37 PM (#2073259)
The Royals swept an NL team. The Royals have won two series in a row against NL teams. It's a small sample size, but let's just say that hasn't happened before in 2006
   17. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:40 PM (#2073261)
I can easily buy that (at least assuming equal health) the Red Sox and Yankees are 10 games better than the Mets. The NL hasn't won a world series game since 2003, and the guy who did that is now on the Red Sox anyway! Sample size, I know, but the gap appears huge by all measures I can think of...

But the beginning of that paragraph doesn't follow from the end. I agree that the gap between the leagues is huge, but how does that establish, at all, anything about the relative merits of two individual teams (or in this case, three)? What does the fact that the Cardinals and the Astros both got their butts swept have to do with whether the Sox and Yankees are 10 games better than the 2006 Mets? I'm at a loss to follow that logic.

Your arguments about Pedro and Glavine losing effectiveness if they pitched in the AL East may have merit, but there is also a converse argument. Players like Wright, Beltran, Floyd, and Delgado would all gain "effectiveness" no longer hitting in Pro Player and RFK, two of the best pitchers' parks in all of baseball (I'm assuming they'd take Shea with them, of course). Presumably, Omar would also get to open the vault a bit and design his roster to have a DH, so that also has to be taken into account.

Of course, you are assuming that it would be the Mets traveling to the AL East, rather than the Sox, say, coming over to the NL East. It might all depend how we construct the thought game, eh? All of a sudden, the Sox don't have a DH, and what happens to Mr. Ortiz's knees having to play first base? Now who loses some "effectiveness"?
   18. John DiFool2 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:41 PM (#2073263)
Well I always look towards ultimate explanations, not proximate ones, but I can't imagine any sort of mechanism
which could lead to this kind of state of affairs. Better drafting, better scouting, better FA signings? Before
IL play would we be able to discern this kind of difference?
   19. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:46 PM (#2073270)
Of course, you are assuming that it would be the Mets traveling to the AL East, rather than the Sox, say, coming over to the NL East. It might all depend how we construct the thought game, eh? All of a sudden, the Sox don't have a DH, and what happens to Mr. Ortiz's knees having to play first base? Now who loses some "effectiveness"?

I presume that Ortiz gets spelled by Youkilis on occasion, and someone like JT Snow never sees a Red Sox uniform. Youkilis loses some playing time, but it's not a dramatic upheaval.

Now, things would definitely be different for teams like the White Sox and Indians. For the White Sox, they either don't re-sign Konerko or they don't trade for Jim Thome, and the team looks very different now. The Indians would probably be without the benefit of Ben Broussard's monster first half, and Eduardo Perez would either be rotting away on the bench or taking away precious PAs from Travis Hafner.
   20. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2073273)
I presume that Ortiz gets spelled by Youkilis on occasion, and someone like JT Snow never sees a Red Sox uniform. Youkilis loses some playing time, but it's not a dramatic upheaval.

From everything I've read, Ortiz wouldn't last half a season trying to play first base on a regular basis on his knees. It would be a very dramatic upheaval.
   21. Craig in MN Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2073278)
All Theo has done here is incite the NL to try harder in the All-Star game to lock up World Series home field advantage. This time it counts.

Does it count this year? I didn't think that was decided yet.
   22. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#2073282)
The problem with this analysis is that the DH changes both the team construction and the talent utility for AL teams. Would David Ortiz be as healthy and as effective every day if he had defensive responsibility every day? Would Chicago have both Thome *and* Konerko on the team? The Tigers have rotated guys like Pudge and Carlos Guillen through the DH slot to keep their bats in the lineup while enabling them to rest or heal; they couldn't do that in the NL. I don't think you can ignore the effect of the DH.

-- MWE
   23. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:56 PM (#2073284)
Well I always look towards ultimate explanations, not proximate ones, but I can't imagine any sort of mechanism
which could lead to this kind of state of affairs. Better drafting, better scouting, better FA signings? Before
IL play would we be able to discern this kind of difference?


People first started talking about this a couple years ago, when the exodus of talent leaving the NL for the AL began. The Red Sox-Yankee rivalry has a lot to do with it - the talent follows the money. Arte Moreno has something to do with it as well.

Since then, things have been feeding upon themselves. The more money that flows into a league, the more money that follows, and the more that the other teams in the league have to spend to keep up.

A lot of this is cyclical - in ten years, we may well be talking about how the NL has all the talent while the AL is crap.
   24. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2073288)
Pedro, obviously, is still Pedro but he had a 3.90 ERA his last year in the AL East, remember.

Completely random. His peripherals were way better than that.
   25. Fridas Boss Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2073293)
#21: Yup, IT COUNTS.

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060620&content_id=1514482&vkey=allstar2006&fext;=.jsp
   26. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2073295)
Players like Wright, Beltran, Floyd, and Delgado would all gain "effectiveness" no longer hitting in Pro Player and RFK, two of the best pitchers' parks in all of baseball

Which would be tempered by facing better competition. And the pitchers would also be losing the benefit of pitching in those cavernous parks.
   27. RobertMachemer Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:13 PM (#2073301)
** Pedro, obviously, is still Pedro but he had a 3.90 ERA his last year in the AL East, remember.

Completely random. His peripherals were way better than that.
Not as I recall. I remember his 2004 dERA lining up pretty reasonably with his ERA. (*checks the numbers*) He had a 3.64 dERA and a 3.90 ERA. I'd say that means his peripherals were better, but not WAY better. Agree/disagree?
   28. mgl Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2073304)
I am almost finished with some really good research and an article which strongly suggests that the average batter and pitcher in the AL is much better than that in the NL, to the tune of around 58/42 (around .4 runs in offense per game per team and another .4 runs in pitching) if they played one another. That is more than 10 games in a 162 game season.

There is no way to "tell" that the AL is better than the NL. It has nothing to do with the teams in one league being better or worse than the teams in the other league, since teams play over 90% of their games against same-league opponents.

Even assuming that the parks are equivalent such that if you moved the AL to the NL parks or vice versa the raw stats for everyone would be the same, if the pitching and the hitting were equivalentally better in the AL, how would you be able to tell other than by looking at interleague records, which is a blunt way of looking at balance of power? Obviously, in order to compare talent across the leagues, you have to be able to compare players from both leagues while controling for their opponents and parks.
   29. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2073305)
Your arguments about Pedro and Glavine losing effectiveness if they pitched in the AL East may have merit, but there is also a converse argument. Players like Wright, Beltran, Floyd, and Delgado would all gain "effectiveness" no longer hitting in Pro Player and RFK, two of the best pitchers' parks in all of baseball (I'm assuming they'd take Shea with them, of course). Presumably, Omar would also get to open the vault a bit and design his roster to have a DH, so that also has to be taken into account.

All 3, especially Floyd, would benefit from DHing from time to time as well. Hell, you could keep Milledge up and just DH Floyd the majority of games if you really wanted.

BTW, am I one of the few people that still wants to get rid of the DH? Or is that still a common desire among baseball fans?
   30. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:16 PM (#2073308)
A lot of this is cyclical - in ten years, we may well be talking about how the NL has all the talent while the AL is crap.

Well, the teams that everybody talks about having big bumper crops of young prospects are the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the NL -- good for the Good Guys. Both teams probably have the $$$ to not only develop talent, but then hold onto it. Then of course the Marlins and the Brewers, which is good news/bad news -- they're NL teams, so talent comes into the league, but will it just get siphoned off (and some of it right out of the circuit entirely)???

The AL, on the other hand, seems to have the Angels loaded with young talent, and with the resources to keep it, but the Devil Rays more in the other boat.

In general, I'd expect the NL to have more and higher-ceiling young players coming into the league in the next 3-5 years. That should help things out.
   31. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:17 PM (#2073312)
If you put the Mets in the mediocre AL West, I say they would dominate just about as much as they are now.

If you put them in the East or Central, you'd have some kind of race that would likely go right about down to the wire.
   32. Craig in MN Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2073314)
#21: Yup, IT COUNTS.

Thanks, I miessed the news. Another reason to dislike MLB.
   33. Mister High Standards Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:26 PM (#2073318)

Players like Wright, Beltran, Floyd, and Delgado would all gain "effectiveness" no longer hitting in Pro Player and RFK, two of the best pitchers' parks in all of baseball (I'm assuming they'd take Shea with them, of course).


They wouldn't gain any effectivness. Stats would look prettier if they played in more nuetral parks but the value would likely be similar unless they are specificly less or more suited to playing in those parks.
   34. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:31 PM (#2073325)
Today's worthless trivia: John Smoltz and Jason Schmidt are the only NL pitchers who have won a World Series game for their current team.
   35. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:31 PM (#2073326)
Total AL payroll for 2006: $1167 million
Total NL payroll for 2006: $1095 million

If payroll correlated perfectly with wins, then the AL would have a 5 game advantage over a 162-game season.
   36. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:36 PM (#2073332)
If payroll correlated perfectly with wins, then the AL would have a 5 game advantage over a 162-game season.

Math isn't my strong point, but I figure that's an eight-game advantage. That's a big payroll discrepancy, figuring that there's two more teams in the NL than there is in the AL.
   37. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:51 PM (#2073348)
Excuse me if I missed something with my quick read of the thread, but -

-does this mean that NL rosters should be structured more like AL teams are? They should have aDh-type big stick that displaces or shares time in the field with others, and the bench guys should be more AL-like than NL-like, --- though I'm not sure what I mean by that; maybe better bats with worse gloves?
   38. pkb33 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2073353)
Of course, you are assuming that it would be the Mets traveling to the AL East, rather than the Sox, say, coming over to the NL East. It might all depend how we construct the thought game, eh? All of a sudden, the Sox don't have a DH, and what happens to Mr. Ortiz's knees having to play first base? Now who loses some "effectiveness"?

I don't think you thought this all through. The NL should win more of the interleague games because there's a greater advantage for them in NL parks roster-construction wise than the AL has in its parks. Most teams don't have a DH who is significantly better than what the NL will put in for the interleague games; obviously, the Red Sox and Cleveland are exceptiosn to that.

The AL's success in interleague given this disadvantage is more evidence there's a large gap, not less.

What does the fact that the Cardinals and the Astros both got their butts swept have to do with whether the Sox and Yankees are 10 games better than the 2006 Mets? I'm at a loss to follow that logic.

I suspect you just don't like the conclusion rather than not following the logic. The Mets record is significantly less impressive because they accumulated it against a far weaker set of teams. The interleague performance of these teams is evidence that is the case. Thus, a team which is within three wins of the Mets record-wise against a much tougher set of teams (and with greater injuries) is very likely to be a much better team.

In other words, given the demonstrated difference between the leagues, the Mets record should be a lot better if they were actually as good as you seem to think. Is it possible they'll end up proving to be that good? Sure it is---there's no question that any one team can be great even if the league around them is weak. But what I've noted is that the current evidence suggests otherwise.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#2073358)
on the whole I would have to agree that the al is better than the nl, but individual teams I find it hard to believe that even the white sox are better than the Cardinals, or Mess (even with this recently completed sweep) I would say that the top two al teams(yankees and red sox are better than the top two nl teams cards, Mess, I would say that the next top two teams in the al are better than the next top two teams in the nl also, but I just don't see the White Sox as better than the Cardinals or Mess, I don't see the A's as better either)

and when you get to the bottom teams, the same pretty much apply, who is worse, the Pirates or Royals? It helps the al that they are able to stick a bat as dh, and put a 'real' fielder in the field, but that doesn't exist when evaluating the two teams.
   40. pkb33 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2073359)
Oh, and I agree with MWE that there's an advantge to AL teams in having the DH for resting guys and such. But in terms of comparing to the NL at a league level that's a pretty small factor, unlikely mroe than a rounding error really. And in interleague I think it's certainly smaller than the advantage the NL has in being optimized for NL parks.
   41. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2073362)
I find it hard to believe that even the white sox are better than the Cardinals

Why do you say this?
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:06 PM (#2073368)
I don't think you thought this all through. The NL should win more of the interleague games because there's a greater advantage for them in NL parks roster-construction wise than the AL has in its parks. Most teams don't have a DH who is significantly better than what the NL will put in for the interleague games; obviously, the Red Sox and Cleveland are exceptiosn to that.

a very big "huh???". teams who's dh posts over .800 ops cleveland, white sox, boston, toronto, even tampa bay.

nl teams who's pinch hitters post over .800 ops florida and cincy. NL teams aren't constructed for the dh, it's hundreds of times easier to plop a good hitter at first base for a series and add to your bench strength than it is to take a pinch hitter or defensive specialist and put him into the game.
   43. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2073369)
See his handle.
   44. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2073370)
The AL's success in interleague given this disadvantage is more evidence there's a large gap, not less.

It does. The one thing to bear in mind, however, is how small this sample of 2006 interleague games is.

Interleague play results for the past several years haven't indicated any kind of a gap at all. All-Star Game and WS games have, but for obvious reasons including most clearly the teeny-tiny sample size, those results are far less compelling than interleague results.

There's no law that says the leagues have to be equal in overall quality. It's entirely possible for one or the other to gain a real quality advantage and maintain if for a long time; there's no conclusion to draw, for example, that the NL held such an advantage from roughly 1955 through 1980. It may well be the case that the AL is currently the better league, but I'll be more convinced of it when we have more than one season's partial interleague play data supporting that case.
   45. GuyM Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#2073389)
And in interleague I think it's certainly smaller than the advantage the NL has in being optimized for NL parks.

This should be measurable, by comparing OPS for the two DHs in AL-park interleague games, and comparing the two pitchers' OPS in NL-park games. Not perfect, since DHs sometimes move to a position in NL parks, but should capture most of the impact. I'd guess that the AL actually has the net advantage.
   46. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2073391)
I don't think you thought this all through. The NL should win more of the interleague games because there's a greater advantage for them in NL parks roster-construction wise than the AL has in its parks. Most teams don't have a DH who is significantly better than what the NL will put in for the interleague games; obviously, the Red Sox and Cleveland are exceptiosn to that.

The AL's success in interleague given this disadvantage is more evidence there's a large gap, not less.


I don't agree with the premise at all. But even if I did, how does it contradict anything I've said? I agree there is a huge gap between the leagues, and I think the AL dominance in interleague play proves it (whether they are overcoming a DH-inspired disadvantage or not). I just think the Mets are the one team in the NL that is actually on a par with the best teams in the AL, that's all.

I suspect you just don't like the conclusion rather than not following the logic. The Mets record is significantly less impressive because they accumulated it against a far weaker set of teams. The interleague performance of these teams is evidence that is the case. Thus, a team which is within three wins of the Mets record-wise against a much tougher set of teams (and with greater injuries) is very likely to be a much better team.

The logic about how close they are to the Mets in W/L record is one thing. The logic about how the Astros and Cardinals did in the last two World Series' is what I objected to, and which I continue to believe has no relevance at all to anything, at least not to anything specific to the Mets.

Yes, the Mets record has been built against NL teams. And yes, the NL teams are weaker. That's a good argument. But when you say this:

In other words, given the demonstrated difference between the leagues, the Mets record should be a lot better if they were actually as good as you seem to think. Is it possible they'll end up proving to be that good? Sure it is---there's no question that any one team can be great even if the league around them is weak. But what I've noted is that the current evidence suggests otherwise.

The obvious answer is: How much better do you really think they should have been? They've cruised out to a 10-game lead in their division. Do you honestly think the Red Sox would be THAT much better than 45-27 having played the Mets' schedule? Baseball just doesn't work that way. To be five games up on the best team in the AL, as you seem to think they need to be to be to be "equal," the Mets would have to be 52-20 after 72 games. Even in a "bad" NL, you know how hard it is for even a great, great team to play .722 ball for 72 games??? The Mets' record is plenty good enough to provide evidence that they would be just as good as the elite of the AL if put alongside them. The Mets are not the NL's problem; to the contrary, they may end up being its one and only hope.
   47. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2073393)
Interleague play results for the past several years haven't indicated any kind of a gap at all.

I'm too lazy to look it up, but I thought the AL dominated interleague play last year, as well.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#2073394)
why do I say that I don't think the white sox are better than the cardinals.

1. Podsednik getting playing time is a good start.
2. neither pitching staff is that great, contrary to white sox fans of the situation,
3. I think both teams are very comparable offensively(when healthy of course the white sox have the advantage of having konerko and thome in the lineup does make the white sox better offensively but how often would they be in the same lineup in a real league?)


I can see arguments for the white sox, I just don't think it's black and white as some people seem to think. Of course a few arguments against the cardinals would start with what level do you think Jim Edmonds is really at? if you think he is playing at his true level then I can see why people think the Cardinals aren't that good, if you think he is slumping and will eventually get out of the slump and return to even the numbers he posted last year, then the argument doesn't really hold water.
   49. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2073398)
But in terms of comparing to the NL at a league level that's a pretty small factor, unlikely mroe than a rounding error really.


I don't understand why you think that. It's pretty clear that for a some teams (Chicago, Cleveland, Oakland) it makes a significant difference, in that they typically play two first basemen at the same time. It conceivably makes a difference for Boston, in that it lets them have their best hitter focus *solely* on hitting, with minimal defensive responsibility. It's made a difference for Detroit, which has used the DH to *rest* one of its best hitters on a regular basis and to keep the bat of another of its best hitters in the lineup when he was unable to play in the field. Without the DH, they couldn't do ANY of that, and their ability to use the DH to do that is a large part of their success as a team.

-- MWE
   50. and Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2073399)
So, this means the NL Wild Card will win the World Series, right?
   51. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2073401)
Only if it's the Marlins, which it very well may be...
   52. Rally Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2073403)
Put it this way: the Angels would need a lot less fixing to put themselves in a good/better position to become competitive with the Dodgers (assuming they're not already) than they do to become competitive with the A's.

I don't see the A's being much better (if at all) than the Dodgers. They're down to 2 reliable starting pitchers. They aren't even as good as the teams that finished 2nd the last 2 years. They're in first place simply because the Angels have fallen apart.
   53. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2073405)
I don't think you thought this all through. The NL should win more of the interleague games because there's a greater advantage for them in NL parks roster-construction wise than the AL has in its parks. Most teams don't have a DH who is significantly better than what the NL will put in for the interleague games; obviously, the Red Sox and Cleveland are exceptiosn to that.
I couldn't disagree more strongly. I think the AL has a huge advantage in AL parks, whereas the NL has a very small advantage in NL parks.

In NL parks: AL teams are fine. The only exception is the White Sox, who have two guys they really want in their starting lineup who can only play 1B or DH (Thome and P-Ko). But this is extremely rare in the AL, because teams want a fairly flexible roster. Plenty of AL teams have a guy who they don't want playing the field (eg Hafner, Ortiz, etc) but they're fine to play first for a couple of interleague games. 162 games in the field would be a totally different story.

The NL's only advantage is that their pitchers are more used to hitting. This is a small advantage, but not nil.

In AL parks: NL teams are absolutely screwed. They don't have a guy on the bench capable of hitting well enough to be a DH - if they did, he'd be a starter. So what they have to do is put a bad fielder at DH, and replace him in the field with a bench player who can field well. But the bench player is not going to be a good hitter.

Just about the only NL teams who are set up OK for interleague and the Giants and the Reds.

If a team with an AL roster was suddenly transported into the NL, then over the course of the season they'd really suffer, because their roster would be constructed all wrong. But over a short series - which is what interleague is - they're golden.

However, I should point one thing out: home advantage is more important in the NL than it is in the AL, because of the pitcher's spot. So this might so a little way to balancing things up.
   54. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2073406)
I'm sorry to read that my favorite team (the White Sox) isn't as good as the Cardinals, isn't going to win 100 games, and is playing over its head (for the second year in a row!). If BTF posters started thinking the White Sox were good (as good as those awesomely "scary" Indians I read about so much last year), I'd be worried.
   55. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2073407)
why do I say that I don't think the white sox are better than the cardinals.

Where does the White Sox annihilation of the Cardinals fit into your calculations?
   56. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2073409)
1. Podsednik getting playing time is a good start.

Come on, Podsednik's not that bad. I know he's not a popular player around here, but he's not a sinkhole. He's not a great player, but he's at least as valuable as Taguchi or Encarnacion.

2. neither pitching staff is that great, contrary to white sox fans of the situation

Now you are being a Cards fanboy. Carpenter is the only Cardinals starter that's clearly better than any of the Sox starters. Reyes looks very promising, but the jury's still out on him. Buerhle and Contreras are Cy Young contenders, and Garcia, Vazquez, and (yes, even) Garland are probably league-average. That's way better than what the Cards have.

The Cardinals bullpen's probably better, but not enough to make up for that discrepancy.

The fact that the two teams have the same staff ERA when the Sox play in a hitter's park in a hitter's league pretty much says it all.

3. I think both teams are very comparable offensively(when healthy of course the white sox have the advantage of having konerko and thome in the lineup does make the white sox better offensively but how often would they be in the same lineup in a real league?)

I agree with this - you take Thome out of the White Sox lineup, it's pretty much the same as the Cards offense.
   57. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#2073411)
If BTF posters started thinking the White Sox were good (as good as those awesomely "scary" Indians I read about so much last year), I'd be worried.

I remember someone writing on BTF, about this time last year, that Sox fans should enjoy their temporary lead. It was only a matter of time before the Twins, an obviously superior team, passed them.
   58. KronicFatigue Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2073412)
The DH (or lack there of) probably creates too much "noise" when trying to evaluate the balance of the leagues for all of the reasons stated above. But in a hypothetical world where there is no DH issue, and one league is clearly better than another league, i wonder what the impact would be for a team to switch over. In other words, if the Mets moved to the AL (with all other things being equal), would they tire themselves out by having to play against stiffer competition day in, and day out. Do teams have a disportionate advantage by being the big fish in the little pond?
   59. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2073413)
1. Podsednik getting playing time is a good start.
2. neither pitching staff is that great, contrary to white sox fans of the situation,
3. I think both teams are very comparable offensively(when healthy of course the white sox have the advantage of having konerko and thome in the lineup does make the white sox better offensively but how often would they be in the same lineup in a real league?)


1. If you're saying he's the Sox's weakest link, then we're better off than just about every major league team.
2. White Sox have a lower team ERA than the Cardinals despite playing in a higher-scoring league.
3. Having to choose between Konerko and Thome didn't cost them anything in Cincinnati -- 28 runs in three games.
   60. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:39 PM (#2073415)
Just about the only NL teams who are set up OK for interleague and the Giants and the Reds.

I wouldn't go that far. I'm perfectly happy to go with Father Time™ as my DH, or keep Lastings Milledge on the roster and have Cliff Floyd fill the role. I think the Mets would do just fine either way. But yes, I think the NL teams generally don't have their rosters set up to have a player well-suited to take advantage of the DH slot.

I'm sorry to read that my favorite team (the White Sox) isn't as good as the Cardinals, isn't going to win 100 games, and is playing over its head (for the second year in a row!).

I have no idea if the White Sox will (a) win the AL Central, or (b) make it to the post-season, or (c) make it to the World Series, or (d) beat the Cardinals should the Cardinals get that far. But I do know this: the White Sox are a better team than the Cardinals, and it's not all that close.
   61. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#2073418)
Without the DH, they couldn't do ANY of that, and their ability to use the DH to do that is a large part of their success as a team.

Of course, that's just assuming that the resources the AL teams are currently spending on their DHs wouldn't be spent on the on-field product were there not a DH. This would almost certainly not be the case in many instances.

For instance, if there were no DH, the White Sox would either still have Aaron Rowand in their lineup and an extra $5 million or so to play with this past winter or they would have Jim Thome at first and an extra $12 million to spend, and some if not all of that money will go immediately towards upgrading their on-field product.
   62. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2073420)
Interleague play results for the past several years haven't indicated any kind of a gap at all.

I'm too lazy to look it up, but I thought the AL dominated interleague play last year, as well.

In 2005, AL teams won 53.9% of the games. Overall since the imposition of interleague play, the two leagues are almost exactly even; I think the NL holds a teeny-tiny advantage.
   63. Jack Sommers Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2073422)
Posts #35 & 36 discussing the payroll difference, and pointing out payroll PER TEAM got me thinking about the dilution of talent overall.

It takes 400 players to fill the active 25 man rosters in the NL, whereas it only takes 350 players to fill the active rosters of the AL. Doesn't it stand to reason then that there would be stronger teams in the AL due to this factor?

If the AL expanded to 16 teams, (or the NL contracted to 14) that might do more than anything else to balance out the distribution of talent.
   64. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2073423)
The extra guy the NL team puts in the lineup is still going to be a better hitter than a pitcher, with few exceptions.

The guy talking up the Twins last year was me, so that can be disregarded. I do expect my expectations of last year to play out regarding the Tigers, however, with which few will disagree.
   65. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2073425)
It takes 400 players to fill the active 25 man rosters in the NL, whereas it only takes 350 players to fill the active rosters of the AL. Doesn't it stand to reason then that there would be stronger teams in the AL due to this factor?

That would only be true if they were drawing from separate, equal-sized pools of talent.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2073427)

Where does the White Sox annihilation of the Cardinals fit into your calculations?


a three game series, that is evidence? wow, and to think I always thought the people on these boards were rational. Seriously, is this btf? I would expect better from this site, I mean we have people using two three game series as evidence, I guess next thing I know we'll branch the evidence out to say that since the Royals took a series from the white sox, that makes the royals a better team.



I love how black and white the world is to some on these boards, I have never said the white sox weren't good, heck I think they are clearly one of the seven best teams in baseball, I just don't think that they are better than a healthy cardinal team, or Mess team.

I'm not impressed with the white sox, they beat up on a slumping Mulder an inconsistent Marquis and got one hit by a rookie pitcher. They are a good team, they aren't an elite team.

I mean does anyone really think Jermaine dye is a 1.000 ops hitter? pierz is a .811 ops? c'mon some of you are getting caught up in a hot start and acting like it's evidence and proof that the team is as good as they are playing right now. The White Sox is clearly the best team in the central(the tigers are contenders--look at the standings in the al east on this date last year to see who I think the Tigers are comparable too)


I'm more than likely wrong, but I really don't see this great team that everyone is talking about, I see a very good team that is playing real well right now, I see a team that is on par with my Cardinals, I don't see a team that is better than them though.
   67. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2073430)
<i>If the AL expanded to 16 teams, (or the NL contracted to 14) that might do more than anything else to balance out the distribution of talent.

Only if the two news teams (in the case of expansion) could draft their "talent" only from their AL competitors. If they could draft from across the leagues, it wouldn't help with talent distribution. Same with contraction; if you eliminated the Fish and (say) the Brewers, it would help only if you spread their talent across the NL. We'll take Dontrelle Willis . . . .
   68. Rally Posted: June 23, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#2073432)
"It takes 400 players to fill the active 25 man rosters in the NL, whereas it only takes 350 players to fill the active rosters of the AL. Doesn't it stand to reason then that there would be stronger teams in the AL due to this factor?"

That shouldn't matter. They all compete in the same pool to sign players, and the NL has 16 picks to the AL's 14 in the draft. Size of the leagues is a non-factor, payroll spent per team is a big factor.
   69. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2073436)
I mean does anyone really think Jermaine dye is a 1.000 ops hitter?

No, but he's an .850-.950 OPS hitter, which is what he did for most of the season last year and what he consistently did before he broke his leg. I think it's becoming more and more clear that Dye is a terrific hitter who lost a couple seasons to injury and has gotten back on track.
   70. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2073437)
The size of the leagues does matter in one way, though, in that AL teams have a better chance of making the playoffs than NL teams do. This provides more of an incentive for AL ownerships to put in a good payroll.
   71. Jack Sommers Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:01 PM (#2073438)
OK...I realize what you guys are saying, and of course you are all correct.

Another question: If there were two more teams in the AL, they would be sucky expansion teams, right? So how would that skew Theo's study?
   72. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:04 PM (#2073440)
If there were two more teams in the AL, they would be sucky expansion teams, right? So how would that skew Theo's study?

Assuming that the other AL teams remained the same, not at all.
   73. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#2073442)
Oh, and this -

pierz is a .811 ops?

That's a good year for Pierzynski, but it's not horribly out of line with his career stats. His current numbers are in line with what he did in 2002-03.
   74. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:10 PM (#2073445)
I really don't see this great team that everyone is talking about, I see a very good team that is playing real well right now,

Well, you say you don't want to base it on one post-season series, but what do you want them to do? They won 99 games last year, then they pretty much dominated the post-season as much as you can dominate it, and now they're not letting up in the first 70+ games of this season. How much proof of their quality do they have to provide before critics (and I was a skeptic, myself) throw up their hands and say, "Uncle." Playing real well right now? It's a year and a half, for crying out loud.

The White Sox are manifestly better than the Cardinals. They have a deeper, far better rotation. How can anyone even argue the point? I just don't get it. That's not a knock on the Cardinals, who are also a fine team and may well be a better bet to make the post-season, playing the division/league they do. But they are NOT as good as the White Sox.
   75. DCA Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:11 PM (#2073447)
I couldn't disagree more strongly. I think the AL has a huge advantage in AL parks, whereas the NL has a very small advantage in NL parks.

The NL's only advantage is that their pitchers are more used to hitting. This is a small advantage, but not nil.

In AL parks: NL teams are absolutely screwed. They don't have a guy on the bench capable of hitting well enough to be a DH


Well I re-disagree with you. We have to assume that an AL team and an NL team have spent their resources equally well to make teams that are equally good in their appropriate context as a starting point. Then we have:

AL team to NL park. The AL team has to sit one of their better hitters. Plenty of teams have 4 guys at LF/RF/1B/DH where none of them would be the first to sit based solely on hitting. They are at a disadvantage to the equally good NL team because they are not able to deploy their personnel optimally while the NL team is.

NL team to AL park. The NL team has to add a bench player to the starting lineup. They are at a disadvantage to the AL team because the AL team is designed to be 9 starting hitters deep, and the NL team isn't.

My sense is that these disadvantages are exactly balanced. If anything, though, the AL is at a slightly greater disadvantage, because they might put two of their top players at 1B/DH (Thome/Konerko, Edgar/Olerud, etc) so that they may have to lose a top 5 player to bench duty while an NL team always has its best 8 or best 9 in the lineup because that's how their resources are allocated.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:15 PM (#2073451)
simple thought exercise, If the Cardinals would have whooped up on the white sox in the first two games the way the white sox did the cardinals, would any of you have changed your opinion on the white sox?

It was one series, that is it, I don't think anyone would have, or should change their evaluation of a team based upon one series. I do think the White Sox are a good team, think they will easily win their division, I just don't think they are better than the Mess or Cardinals.
   77. the wimperoo Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:19 PM (#2073455)
Are you so immature you can't say Mets?
   78. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#2073457)
It was one series, that is it, I don't think anyone would have, or should change their evaluation of a team based upon one series.

I agree that one series isn't very much evidence. I'm not basing my conclusions on that series at all.
   79. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2073459)
I just don't think they are better than the Mets or Cardinals.

And you maintain this in the face of the following alphabetical listing of the five men who have started the most games and pitched the most innings for the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, which I present without editorial comment:

Carpenter
Marquis
Mulder
Ponson
Suppan

Just checking.
   80. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2073463)
Oriole fans:

I'm going to Camden tonight, in the company of someone who smokes. The official website doesn't say anything about designated smoking areas, but there has to be one, right?
   81. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2073464)
far better rotation? they have buerhle and contreras, that is it. Carpenter is clearly better than anyone they have, after that both teams are struggling rotation wise, I mean sure Reyes has done nothing but pitch well, but he is still a youngster and nobody knows how he'll do when the league gets a book on him.

I would have no problem arguing that Suppan is a better pitcher than Garcia, was clearly better last year, and neither is pitching that well this year(although Garcia is just as clearly having the better season up to this point in time)

Mulder is struggling, and who knows if he is going to rebound, and of course Marquis is erratic and unreliable. Right at this point in time I trust the White Sox rotation more than I do the Cardinals rotation, but that is just a slice of time argument, Who do I think is going to be better when the season is over?

Carpenter > Contreras
Buehrle > Reyes
Suppan = Vazquez/Garcia (actually I'll take Suppan ahead of Vazquez and Garcia ahead of Suppan but it's so close that it's a wash)

It boils down to where do you think Mulder is going to end up, is he going to rebound? if not then you have to argue that the white sox rotation is deeper, if you think he'll rebound then there is an argument.

as I said, I'm going to lose this argument, but it doesn't appear to me that the White Sox are a better team than a healthy Cardinal team, and considering that the Cardinals have actually played pretty poorly relative to their talent, there is no reason to think that this team is as bad as they have played up to this point in time this year.
   82. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2073465)
Well then I dectuple-disagree with you, DCA, and no backsies.

Suppose you're GM of the Giants, for example, and suppose we have the following players for the year:

Schmidt, Lowry, Morris, Cain, Wright

Correia, Accardo, Kline, Sanchez, Hennessey, Benitez

Bonds, Winn, Alou

Feliz, Vizquel, Durham, Ishikawa, Matheny

And you now have to fill out the remainder of your roster. Let's compare how you'd do this for both the NL and the AL.

In the NL, you need to make many more pitching changes, so that 12th man in the bullpen becomes much more important. You also need a much stronger bench, for pinch-hitting, and for double switches, etc. So the Giants spent money on Worrell, Sweeney, Greene, Vizcaino, etc.

But in the AL, the bench is less important, and the 12th man in the bullpen is just for mop-ups. So you can spend all your remaining money on a DH.

As a result, the AL team's money is spent in a more concentrated way, whereas the NL team's money is more dispersed over the entire 25-man roster.

Now, over a short series, the AL can get away with this just fine under NL rules - they may slightly overwork the bullpen, but it doesn't really matter. Whereas when the NL team plays under AL rules, they've got a much bigger chunk of their payroll strapped to the bench.
   83. Randy Jones Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:32 PM (#2073467)
I'm going to Camden tonight, in the company of someone who smokes. The official website doesn't say anything about designated smoking areas, but there has to be one, right?


you can smoke on the concourses
   84. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2073470)
The extra guy the NL team puts in the lineup is still going to be a better hitter than a pitcher, with few exceptions.

Which would be a valid argument if their opponent were forced to bat a pitcher. But considering their opponent will have a better-than-bench-quality hitter as its DH...
   85. Mister High Standards Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2073471)
I think I'd rather have Buerhle than Carpenter. Something to be said about reliablity and no one is more reliable than Buerhle. The guy always takes the ball.

A Horse.

BTW: I think the Whitesox are the best team in baseball, and I'm not a whitesox fan. Far from it.

I don't think the Cards are in the next rung of teams. Not sure where among those teams they rank.
   86. ronh Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2073472)
The NL's only advantage is that their pitchers are more used to hitting. This is a small advantage, but not nil.

Actually, for 2006, NL pitchers have a .135 BA. AL pitchers .154.
   87. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:40 PM (#2073473)
Are you so immature you can't say Mets?

Yep.

And you maintain this in the face of the following alphabetical listing of the five men who have started the most games and pitched the most innings for the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, which I present without editorial comment:

Carpenter
Marquis
Mulder
Ponson
Suppan

Just checking.


vs

Contreras (2.96)
Buehrle (3.27)
Vazquez (4.43)
Garcia (4.66)
Garland (5.58)

Considering the established levels of the cardinals pitchers for their careers, not just this season, I really don't see anything that impressive of one team over the other, I do feel that overall the White Sox have a better 1-2 than the cardinals, and that Garcia should rebound somewhat, I thought Garland was overrated (in that he was good, but it wasn't an epiphany/breakthrough year) last year, and don't see anything that changes my mind about him, he's young and not ace material, those type of pitchers are inconsistent(see javier vazquez for evidence of that)
   88. pkb33 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:43 PM (#2073477)
The logic about how close they are to the Mets in W/L record is one thing. The logic about how the Astros and Cardinals did in the last two World Series' is what I objected to, and which I continue to believe has no relevance at all to anything, at least not to anything specific to the Mets.

Then, you agree with what I said initially. I didn't bring up the Astros and Cardinals at all so it's rather bizarre that you are suggesting my logic relies on them.

Your conclusion that the Mets are equal to the Al's top teams may be true; I am just noting that the current records we've been discussing don't really support this conclusion objectively. Which doesn't make it wrong, we are dealing with a small sample thus far.
   89. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#2073484)
Contreras (2.96)
Buehrle (3.27)
Vazquez (4.43)
Garcia (4.66)
Garland (5.58)


Again, the White Sox are playing in the American League, and in a pretty extreme hitter's park. Whatever you think of the relative quality of the two leagues, the ability to pitch to the opposition's pitcher instead of a DH is a pretty big advantage for the pitcher.

Again, the White Sox and Cardinals have pretty much the same staff ERA. All things considered, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the White Sox have had better pitching.

Right now, your argument rests on the notion that the Cardinals' pitchers are pitching below their true talent level, and will improve. But that applies equally to the White Sox. Garcia and Garland are having the worst seasons of their careers, and Vazquez's peripherals indicate that he's had some bad luck (91 H, 7HR, 22 BB, 72 K). I guess you can argue that Contreras is pitching over his head, but if so, he's been doing it for a year now.
   90. pkb33 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:55 PM (#2073492)
I couldn't disagree more strongly. I think the AL has a huge advantage in AL parks, whereas the NL has a very small advantage in NL parks.

In NL parks: AL teams are fine. The only exception is the White Sox, who have two guys they really want in their starting lineup who can only play 1B or DH (Thome and P-Ko). But this is extremely rare in the AL, because teams want a fairly flexible roster. Plenty of AL teams have a guy who they don't want playing the field (eg Hafner, Ortiz, etc) but they're fine to play first for a couple of interleague games. 162 games in the field would be a totally different story.

The NL's only advantage is that their pitchers are more used to hitting. This is a small advantage, but not nil.


This just doesn't capture what's going on I don't believe.

What changes in an NL park is that the AL team loses it's DH, pitchers have to hit, and the bench has to be used differently to optimize double-switches. All of those are negatives to differing degrees for the AL. The roster is built with an extra optimized hitter who has a very small role in an NL park, and not designed to do double-switches. And the pitchers hitting is a negative, though somewhat muted because so few of them hit well in either league.

In an AL park the NL team has to use its top bench hitter as the DH. As was noted earlier, you have to think about this as a gain for the NL vs it's typical configuration because the hitter they DH is going to be much better than the pitcher. This is slightly less optimized than an AL team who has a full-time "9th hitter" on the roster, but it's still on many NL teams a hitter relatively close to who most AL teams use in the spot. I fail to see any argument that this is a 'signifciant disadvantage' leaguewide. If you look at DHs, few of them are actually very much above the top-bench-hitter level I don't believe. And those teams who DO have a top DH are impacted even moreso in NL parks anyway.

I see no serious case that this is balanced out. The optimization of the DH slot is all the AL gets in its park, and it gives up far more in the NL parks.

Without the DH, they couldn't do ANY of that, and their ability to use the DH to do that is a large part of their success as a team.

No it isn't, or even remotely close to that big an impact, though. The impact of "rest" on one of Detroit's bats using the DH slot isn't zero but its very small I'd suggest.
   91. buda73 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:57 PM (#2073494)
Career ERA+
Buehrle 128
Garcia 114
Contreras 106 (trending upwards)
Garland 105
Vasquez 105

Mulder 116 (but injured)
Carpenter 108 (trending upwards)
Suppan 101
Ponson 94
Reyes TBD

I think the Sox starting rotation is head and shoulders above the Cards. The only Cards pitcher who would start for the Sox is Carpenter. And the Sox have a 6th starter in McCarthy who is just a good of a prospect as Reyes.
   92. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#2073495)
Considering the established levels of the cardinals pitchers for their careers, not just this season, I really don't see anything that impressive of one team over the other,

You do realize those ERAs you're quoting are DH-league ERAs, right? They are a hell of a lot more impressive than what the Cardinals' pitchers are doing. Put Garcia on the Cardinals' staff, in the non-DH league, and he'd immediately be their # 2 starter. Easy.

Then, you agree with what I said initially. I didn't bring up the Astros and Cardinals at all so it's rather bizarre that you are suggesting my logic relies on them.

You did so, at least implicitly. You wrote in # 13:

I can easily buy that (at least assuming equal health) the Red Sox and Yankees are 10 games better than the Mets. The NL hasn't won a world series game since 2003, and the guy who did that is now on the Red Sox anyway! Sample size, I know, but the gap appears huge by all measures I can think of

I interpreted that to mean that one measure of the NL's futility is that they haven't won a World Series game since 2003 -- i.e., that they'be been swept in the last two. This, you said (sample size be damned) shows that the "gap appears huge." What else was I supposed to make of that comment???
   93. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#2073498)
when I look at those eras, I immediately subtract roughly 10% in my head to get a better, more realistic take on the eras, and once again, up to this point in time they are pitching better than the cardinals pitchers, I fully expect when the season is over, the cardinals rotation will be Carpenter, Reyes, Suppan, Marquis and Mulder. I don't think any cardinal fan thought ponson would be in the rotation all year long, and if he was that it was a good sign, not a bad sign.

and where have I said that the White Sox have inferior pitching up to this point in the season? I don't think that has ever been my point, my point is that the Cardinals pitching is as good if not better, when the season is over. The white sox are riding a hot streak, and heck if you go back two weeks the cardinals staff era was probably well ahead of the white sox even after adjusting for leagues, you do have to realize how devastating the past two weeks has been on the cardinals numbers.
   94. pkb33 Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:01 PM (#2073499)
I interpreted that to mean that one measure of the NL's futility is that they haven't won a World Series game since 2003 -- i.e., that they'be been swept in the last two. This, you said (sample size be damned) shows that the "gap appears huge." What else was I supposed to make of that comment???

I think if you read the prior comments you would recognize that the key point being discussed was the wide disparity in interleague this year and last. And that, as an aside, the fact the the NL has been swept two straight years is another small morsel of information on the issue. As is the win shares study demonstrating how much more performance has been moving to the AL from the NL than the reverse.

Cherry picking is fun but not a very serious approach.
   95. DCA Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2073501)

Suppose you're GM of the Giants, ...

And you now have to fill out the remainder of your roster. Let's compare how you'd do this for both the NL and the AL.


The Giants are actually an NL team that benefits more from the DH than any other team in the majors (except maybe Bos/Chi/Cle who have to move no-field DH to 1B) because they move their old injury-prone poor-fielding great-hitting LF there. They need a 4th OF who is capable of being a starter anyway, because they know they can't count on both Bonds and Alou. Steve Finley fits the mold. Now you can argue that he's not actually good, but he is perceived as starter-quality.
   96. Mister High Standards Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:12 PM (#2073508)
You certainly are a fanboy. Fitting name. The Whitesox hot streak has lasted a year and a fricking half!

Sam is it your position that the NL hasn't won a world series game in 2 years not relevant to the discusion of which league has a higher quality of play currently and how much?
   97. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:20 PM (#2073516)
The Whitesox hot streak has lasted a year and a fricking half!



???? and the cardinals streak has lasted two and a half years, your point is?????


we are talking about the two teams right now, this season, and I sure as heck didn't think the white sox were better than the Cardinals last year, and I still don't think they are better than them this year. I think they are a good team, I think they are probably the third best team in the al, I think they are inferior to the Cardinals, how hard is that to comprehend.

the hot streak is the fact that they are playing well right now, and having a few guys playing over their heads, while not many(except maybe garcia) playing below their true ability, meanwhile the cardinals have at least two pitchers playing below their ability and probably one hitter with none really playing over their head.
   98. Sam M. Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:21 PM (#2073518)
I think if you read the prior comments you would recognize that the key point being discussed was the wide disparity in interleague this year and last. And that, as an aside, the fact the the NL has been swept two straight years is another small morsel of information on the issue.

Well, gee, let's see here. I agree with you that the AL is vastly superior. I agree with you that interleague play provides some awfully strong evidence in support of this position.

We then move on to a different question, which is how much the Mets ought to be dominating the inferior NL in order to be seen as merely the equal of the elite teams in the American League. The fact that the Mets are dominating pretty much, all things considered, generally about as much as a great team is going to dominate over a 72-game span isn't convincing enough. No, you introduce a bit of total nonsense about the leagues (the AL swept the last two World Series) in support of your position. So then what happens?

I call you on it;

YOU then deny you ever said it;

I then point out that you did so say it . . . . and . . . .

I'm accused of cherry picking!!!

Sigh. Never mind. In the end, I take it, we both agree that the NL is a pretty darned weak league, and that a truly outstanding team should be stomping it. I think a 45-27 record, a 10-game lead, and excellent peripherals all constitute more than enough stomping to justify the conclusion that the Mets are on a par with the AL's best. More than that? Who knows.

I certainly don't think that some general point about AL teams being, on average, 10 games better than NL teams, can translate into some hard-and-fast rule that any NL team with a roughly equal record "would be" 10 games behind its AL counter-part after a full season of play. That's just silly. The Mets today are four games to the good of the Yankees. That's in less than half a season of play, so call it maybe five games after 81, which would be 10 after 162, so -- viola! -- they're tied! What a race! Silly, isn't it?

When you get to the individual team level, you just have to use a finer lens and look at the talent they have, and how it compares. If you can look at the Mets' roster and tell me you honestly think it's not competitive with the best teams in the AL, then that's OK; we just disagree. Nothing wrong with that.
   99. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2073519)
Well, the 2004 Cardinals were without their best pitcher and all four games of last year's WS were extremely close. I'm not sure the last years mean all that much. I do agree that the AL is the stronger league although I don't think 10 games is realistic.
   100. Jack Sommers Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:23 PM (#2073520)
Vazquez's peripherals indicate that he's had some bad luck

That seems to mostly be the case for him the last few seasons.(since he left Montreal) It's not really luck though. He has lapses in concentration and just doesn't bear down, and ends up giving in and throwing fat fastballs over the middle of the plate all to often. His hits allowed are often ROCKETS off the bat and over the wall. He always looks good in DIPS and FIP and the like because of his BB/K ratios, and I myself love to use DIPS and FIP for the predictive abilities of those metrics when it comes to future ERA. After all, Roto is important right? But there are always guys that are worse than their DIPS on a somewhat consistent basis, for whatever reasons. Smarter people than I can identify what types of pitchers might have that tendency...(groundballers or whatever) But with Vazquez it's very case specific, and it's because he is mentally weak and lazy, and gives in to the hitters when he is tired of seeing them foul off pitches.

2006 4.43 ERA 3.64 DIPS
2005 4.43 ERA 4.03 DIPS
2004 4.91 ERA 4.74 DIPS
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