8 Responses

  1. June 11, 2009 at 3:10 am | | Reply

    Good post.

    All these articles are showing is that you have to have absolutely nasty stuff to have a low ERA in the AL. Giving up hits potentially leads to runs, so a high WHIP leads to giving up runs. Johnson’s AL/NL average ERA (each totaling 12 yrs) was .70 lower in the NL. His WHIP was 0.142 lower in the NL than the AL. This just shows that switching from the AL to NL or NL to AL will see a shift in numbers up and down each way.

    Having that extra hitter in the lineup for the AL makes it tough on pitchers and their statistics. If a relatively good starting pitcher wants to have a relatively low ERA then maybe he should pitch in the NL. I’m not saying that low ERA aren’t possible in the AL, just tougher to attain.

  2. June 11, 2009 at 11:53 am | | Reply

    So, the bigger question becomes, is a pitcher’s legacy defined by his individual stats, or his contributions to the team?

    If a pitcher leaves a bad team in one league, to go to a top team in another league, and his individual numbers drop but he wins a World Series or two, do the championships help his legacy and eventual Hall of Fame bid or hurt him?

    In my opinion World Series rings are one of the most important parts of any players’ legacy. In the long run, it’ll help him by winning championships.

  3. June 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm | | Reply

    AL to NL is automatic that you’ll be better. Clemens on roids in Houston was better than he was on roids in the AL East pitching for the Yankees. Don’t forget hitters study tape on pitchers just as much as the other way around. The Randy Johnson example is kind of skewed because he was young and wild in Montreal.. he was just coming into his own as a pitcher when he got to Seattle. Good post though.

  4. June 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm | | Reply

    Another fantastic example is C.C. Sabathia, who went from a mediocre Cy Young follow-up in Cleveland in 2008 to immediate Cy Young and MVP talk after switching to the Brewers a year ago.

    Still, I’m sure there are lots of examples of things going the other way around as well, but certainly the unfamiliarity of having not seen a pitcher gives an immediate boost to any one changing leagues.

    Great post!

  5. June 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm | | Reply

    How about Beckett helping his own cause in trying to get the win today with that home run!

  6. August 24, 2009 at 1:44 pm | | Reply

    Interesting theory, though I’m wondering what other factors might be involved in a pitcher’s performance gain. For example, your point about Randy Johnson is well-taken, but his improvement could be the result of his maturation and development, his pitching coach, the ballpark he was pitching in, etc. Plenty of pitchers (e.g., Sandy Koufax) have made a dramatic improvement after a couple of disappointing years in the majors.

    And for every Randy Johnson who switches leagues and does well, is there also a pitcher who digresses? I don’t know the answer to that, but it would be curious to see those sorts of stats to give this theory some context.

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