How Many Years Will It Take Of The AL Clubbing The NL In Interleague (On A 12 Year Win Streak) Before Things Change?
Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) Follow @stokes_hunter21
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With a modest 4 – 3 lead in the season series heading into yesterday’s action. the National League was in foreign territory by leading the Interleague yearly contest. You see that have not won a yearly series vs the AL since 2003. Houston tied the current campaign series at 4 with a 6 – 4 win Satuday.
The Junior Circuit has won the last 12 years of play, and own a decisive .552 win percentage since 2004 (when the 1st 8 years were split 4 – 4 in the seasons, with the NL holding a 30 games wins lead) in that time frame.
I am a bigger fan of the American League game over the National League, yet I am torn because if these splits continue for more seasons, we will never have more Interleague ever. We may stay the same – or god forbid, eliminate Interleague altogether if expansion leads to 32 clubs (16 in each league) and negating an odd amount of teams per league, not necessarily needing to play it anymore.
Right now there are 20 games for each club against the other League. It boils down to just one division playing another division, and then in most cases, a natural geographical rivalry.
Determining how many games there ought to really be, I turn to the “Team Fatigue card” a lot of my fellow westerners have expressed in so much out this way over the years.
I am close enough to see both NL and AL parks play, but there are several cities that are without a league park of the other for hundreds of miles (like Seattle, Arizona, Colorado, Minneapolis), then KC and St. Louis to a lesser extent, but far away enough to classify a full road trip should you partake in a journey to see.
You can add Texas and Houston, with Tampa and Miami in that mix as well.
Point being is that with a 162 game schedule on the board, there is no rhyme or reason why you couldn’t play all 29 other clubs for at least once series.
How would that happen exactly?
11 Games vs your own division (4 x 11) = 44
6 games vs your own league (non division) (6×10 = 60) = 104 overall
4 games versus the 5 clubs that are in your geographical vicinity (AL West vs NL West, AL Central vs NL Central, and AL East vs NL East (4 x 5= 20) = 124 overall
3 games versus 10 other league (non closest geographical divisions) (3 x 10 = 30) (154 overall)
Then to play your natural rivalry and additional 8 times.
New York Yankees vs New York Mets
Boston Red Sox vs Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays vs Detroit Tigers
San Francisco Giants vs Oakland A’s
Los Angeles Angels vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks vs San Diego Padres
Seattle Mariners vs Colorado Rockies
Chicago White Sox vs Chicago Cubs
Minnesota Twins vs Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates vs Cleveland Indians
Cincinnati Reds vs Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles vs Washington Nationals
Tampa Bay Rays vs Miami Marlins
Kansas City Royals vs St. Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers vs Houston Astros
But alas 50 games in Interleague would be blasphemous in today’s climate. As the National League Clubs would hate finding Designated Hitter for the AL games, and the Junior Circuit would also not like finding their DH’s on the bench for 25 games.
Regardless of my wish of 20 to 50 games in an increase, the situation as we see it now continues to be fascinating. Look at these numbers
Wins by league Heading into 2016
2016 record: NL Leads Series 4 – 4 Series Tied: AL leads all time 2569 – 2303 (.527): Record since 2005 AL Leads 1609 – 1305 (.552)
I have predicted the AL will win almost 60% of their games this year. This is a bit drastic yes, but it has happened before in 2006 – and almost again in 2008.
In addition to that forecast, I think the American League can push this season winning streak versus the National League to 20 or 25 years without losing.
It is easier to find a glove for a DH that is not used to it, as oppose to a bench player that may not bat every day. Clearly by now this is a clear advantage for the AL.
Out of many of the top recent Free Agent signings the last 7 years (Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, Robinson Cano, Shin-soo Choo, Justin Upton, Chris Davis, Josh Hamilton, Brian McCann, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval) all signed with the American League.
Even with some of these players big deals not granting great value in return, they do pry away the talent from the NL with the unfair advantage of the DH.
Jason Heyward is the most significant FA signing in the National League of late as a positional player (without extended from their last played club since Jayson Werth inked a 7 year deal with Washington after many great years in Philly, Hunter Pence, Matt Holliday (although more of an extension with STL, rather than flat out signing).
It is about an 11 to 3 ratio there. The reason is because of the American League’s ability to transition an older player into a Designated Hitter role.
St. Louis and San Francisco have mostly cultivated their own talent through drafting. The Mets made it to the World Series last year without signing any major Free Agents beforehand.
This is why the Giancarlo Stanton signing was so surprising by the Miami Marlins.
Ryan Howard was once one of the best players in the game in his prime. Another drafted player.
Matt Kemp is a former MVP runner up and was extended by his former National League club (the Dodgers, befire being traded to San Diego). Really this guy should already be a DH.
Of course the pitching has been pretty fair across the board in recent signings.
Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija were NL Draft selections with the Reds and Cubs respectively – but ended up with AL Clubs before inking new deals with the NL Giants. Mike Leake was a Reds Draft pick, and is still in the Senior Circuit with the Cardinals.
David Price, Jordan Zimmermann Masahiro Tanaka, C.J. Wilson, Yu Darvish, CC Sabathia (circa 2009), A.J. Burnett (circa 2009), Ian Kennedy, all signing via International bid (or to the highest bidder) help counter off set that.
Roy Halladay was the best pitcher in baseball when extended his deal with the Phillies to keep pitching there.
All of these chuckers can lay claim to ace status at some point their career. It is a more even playing field.
Clayton Kershaw. Felix Hernandez, Matt Cain, Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, Jered Weaver and Adam Wainwright all fall into signing big extensions with the club that they first had success with in playing their entire career with the franchise at time of extension. (Wainwright was drafted by the Braves, and is the only guy here who wasn’t drafted by the extending team.
Only Hamels has since left their designated clubs in a trade.
The whole diatribe was to explain that American League squads have a cushion to fall back in signing the best offensive ‘Free Agents’ – whereas the pitchers on the open market are more equal.
I believe this factor, combined with the role of the Designated Hitter (being more important than the steroid era) as a a source of power, as the biggest contributing factors in this streak.
Unless there is uniformity in the whole league one way or another (DH or pitcher only), this will continue to favor the American League in Interleague play.
My idea of hitting just 8 batters, and having the pitcher neither hit, (or be hit for) did not do well in poll I recently put out. I get it. But it would sure grow offense in the game having the better hitters receive more AB with having just 1 – 8 in the lineups.
So the American League will keep winning this yearly competition…The fans of the National League will just take it because they don’t want to live in a world with a DH.
Fans, who come out in bigger droves to Interleague, because it is something new and cool, will be happy to see an opposing league’s team about once every 6 seasons right now. I am telling you – if there was uniformity in the league no matter who you choose to do it, it would even the playing field.
The worst think that would happen is if they expanded by two clubs – and did away with Interleague.
Wait. what am I saying? I love the American League more than the National League – so what do I care? The AL keeps winning the ALL – Star Game too!!
Since I live near Los Angeles, I can see whatever player I want in the whole MLB. Forget what you just read and be on your way. Sorry to waste your time..My bad..Nevermind.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their other partners.***
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Posted on April 10, 2016, in MLB Interleague and tagged a.j. burnett, adam wainwright, adrian gonzalez, al central, AL East, AL West, albert pujols, All 30 MLB Teams, American league, arizona diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, baltimore orioles, bartolo colon, boston red sox, Brian McCann, bryce harper, c.j. wilson, Carl Crawdford, cc sabathia, chicago cubs, chicago white sox, chris davis, cincinnati reds, Clayton Kershaw. Felix Hernandez, cleveland indians, cliff lee, cole hamels, colorado rockies, Coors Field, david price, detroit tigers, freddie freeman, hanley ramirez, houston astros, hunter pence, ian kennedy, jacoby ellsbury, James Shields and Cliff Lee, Jaspn Heyward, jayson werth, jered weaver, joey votto, jon lester, jordan zimmermann, josh hamilton, justin upton, justin verlander, kansas city royals, la angels, la dodgers, mark teixeira, matt cain, matt holliday, max scherzer, miami marlins, Mike Trout, milwaukee brewers, minnesota twins, MLB Interleague record, MLB Runs Scoring Survivor 2016, national league, new york mets, new york yankees, NL Central, NL east, nl west, oakland athletics, pablo sandoval, philadelphia phillies, pittsburgh pirates, prince fielder, robinson cano, roy halladay, ryan braun, san diego padres, san francisco giants, seattle mariners, shin-soo choo, st louis cardinals, tampa bay rays, texas rangers, toronto blue jays, trevor story, washington nationals, willie mays, yoenis cespedes, yu darvish, zack greinke. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.