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  1. Any stats on how AL pitchers fare in NL parks vs. NL pitchers?

    Comment by Jim — January 3, 2013 @ 11:13 am

  2. American League teams will also be somewhat disadvantages in that generally they only have their pitchers take BP right before interleague, so now they will have to do that several times a year instead of once.

    Comment by TKDC — January 3, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  3. For what it’s worth BP has a quality of opponents stat that tracks the average hitter faced by a pitcher. Generally speaking there isn’t much of a difference in competition faced.

    As a fun example, Ricky Romero and R.A. Dickey both faced hitters with an average OPS of 750 last season.

    More often than not there isn’t a huge difference in the quality of opponents faced.

    Last season the average AL team hit 255/320/411 while the average NL team hit 254/318/400. So the OBP and BB% are essentially the same while you’re looking at a difference of .011 ISO. So I wouldn’t imagine there’s a huge difference. Going to NL parks and facing NL lineups.

    And I hate to complain about the website but it’s really really annoying to read the articles with the new layout.

    Comment by Mark — January 3, 2013 @ 11:20 am

  4. I think people often forget that NL teams have to carry more relief pitchers due to the pitcher’s spot coming up in the line-up late in games. The reason I mention this is that NL teams could also just carry one fewer reliever and one more hitter in DH games. To be fair, they should be allowed to “taxi” a reliever or hitter on and off the roster for DH games without worrying about regular optioning rules to AAA.

    Comment by stan — January 3, 2013 @ 11:24 am

  5. Just add the DH to the NL

    Comment by Eminor3rd — January 3, 2013 @ 11:33 am

  6. They’re pitchers. We’re just talking degrees of horrendous suckitude. NL pitchers are mostly terrible at hitting too, and the AL has some exceptions like Sabathia around. Maybe NL pitchers are slightly better at bunting since they get more practice?

    Comment by Yinka Double Dare — January 3, 2013 @ 11:33 am

  7. don’t know if the rules permit this but they should considering the schedule they’re going to .

    Comment by Spike — January 3, 2013 @ 11:33 am

  8. god forbid.

    Comment by Spike — January 3, 2013 @ 11:33 am

  9. I think the 12 man pitching staff is pretty standard in both leagues at this point. The “pitcher spot comes up” removal of a pitcher in the NL is counterbalanced by the need for a field player to hit in that spot/use in the double switch.

    Comment by Yinka Double Dare — January 3, 2013 @ 11:35 am

  10. Both Lucas Duda and Jordany Valdespin are left handed hitters.

    Comment by jskrynecki — January 3, 2013 @ 11:37 am

  11. Yeah, because watching pitchers strike out is awesome.

    Comment by RC — January 3, 2013 @ 11:38 am

  12. You left Arizona off of the chart at the end of the piece.

    Comment by Greg — January 3, 2013 @ 11:42 am

  13. The advantage in having a proper DH vs a makeshift one is quite a bit larger, IMO, than having a more experienced hitting pitcher vs a less experienced one [the latter also comes with the DH being available as a PHer]

    Comment by Eric R — January 3, 2013 @ 11:48 am

  14. Gah. Forgot about Jordan-like being a lefty. Shoulda just assumed, it’s like everyone on the Mets last year was a lefty.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 3, 2013 @ 11:50 am

  15. Whoops! In there now.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 3, 2013 @ 11:51 am

  16. Does it matter that al teams might be given an advantage? Nl teams are competing against other nl teams for playoff spots and every nl team has to face this “disadvantage”

    Comment by George — January 3, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

  17. It is okay, now that they signed Andrew Brown, they should have some balance to the lineup.

    Comment by jskrynecki — January 3, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  18. It is I believe an established fact that some hitters thrive in the DH/PH role while others hit less well when they aren’t in the field. NL teams will have to take this into account. Because the minors have the DH, bringing up a player to DH might I suppose be a more attractive option than might otherwise be the case.

    Comment by Mr Punch — January 3, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

  19. I don’t recall suggesting anything of the sort. The indented nature of my post implies that it was a response to a previous post…

    Comment by Eric R — January 3, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  20. But watching a team/manager actually manage is much more interesting, in my opinion.

    Comment by KCExile — January 3, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

  21. I don’t quite get the “NL is disadvantaged” argument. Assume an NL team and an AL team, who both spend $100m on payroll. The AL team throws $8m into a DH, giving them an advantage when they’re at home during interleague. However, when they’re in an NL park, they’ve paid $8m for a nice bench-warmer: money that could have been spent on better pitching or a serious upgrade at any of the positions. So sure, the NL team may be disadvantaged on the road… but the AL team should also be disadvantaged on the road, provided the NL team spent that extra salary wisely.

    Comment by B N — January 3, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  22. Double switches and pitcher bunts are pretty much automatic and are not interesting to watch, no matter how interesting the “strategy” gets.

    Comment by Timothy — January 3, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

  23. I just think the rules need to be consistent. If the leagues were separate, fine, but they really aren’t at all anymore. It’s not fair for some teams to have disadvantages based on rules.

    If you want to remove the DH, that’s fine too, but the player’s association will never let it happen — they’d rather extend careers of aging guys than give their pitcher more injury risk.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — January 3, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

  24. I also don’t like to be negative, but I too dislike the new font/text size of the main body of articles.

    I’m not sure if things are loading correctly in my browser, but the site looks like something from 1993 at the moment…

    Still, I’m not complaining… just a bit of feedback!

    Comment by Blez007 — January 3, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

  25. Dusty Baker disagrees.

    Comment by Giants and Cubs fans — January 3, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

  26. I see a scenario where the increased interleague play could actualy kill the DH, not make it standard in both leagues. AL teams are going to be less and less willing to invest significant salary into DH only players like David Ortiz, who pays $13m to have a guy PH 30+ games a year?

    Comment by @notrizzo — January 3, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

  27. It’s not about that the NL is disadvantaged. It’s about how a NL team can respond to the new situation with interleague play. If a particular team has a deeper roster and/or has a 4A guy stashed in AAA, they will likely have responded more successfully than their competition IN THE NL.

    Comment by warpigs — January 3, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

  28. Clearly the solution is neither the introduction of the DH to the NL, nor the abolition of the DH in the AL, but rather the implementation of hybrid rules that borrow from a nobler tradition than both: beer-league softball — specifically, four Outfielders. You put ten guys on defense (including the Pitcher), but only nine of them bat. This way, the Pitcher doesn’t have to limply strikeout every few innings, and we don’t harp on the DH for only playing half the game, but by drastically decreasing the range demands of fielders we still give aging fat guys a place to play.

    You’re welcome.

    Comment by AC of DC — January 3, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

  29. “But watching a team/manager actually manage is much more interesting, in my opinion.”

    There’s nothing that needs managing that goes on in your average NL game. If the SP has more than 80 pitches, and hes going to bat, he gets pulled. After that, the reliever always gets pulled when he comes to bat. That’s it. Nothing complicated, nothing interesting.

    Frankly, I think the management of pitchers in the AL is much more complicated. An AL manager doesn’t get told “Oh, pitcher is up now, pull him out”

    Comment by Synovia — January 3, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

  30. Since there are so few games, and now they’re generally not bunched together, I’d be simply using them to give half an off-day to a starter who I would normally give a regular off-day to. It’s not all about who’s OPS is higher, guys need breaks from time to time, and it’s a convenient and cheap place to do that. And there’s an advantage over any NL team that uses a AAAA DH and plays all of their starters but then gives them off-days in NL games.

    Comment by Tim — January 3, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

  31. Eh, I doubt it.

    David Ortiz put up .318/.415/.611 line last year. If he was playing a terrible first base, (he actually plays a slightly below average one), he’d be making $20M+ a year. Guys like him will always have a job.

    Eventually teams will realize that DHs actually hit worse than 1B, and that DH shouldn’t have such a terrible position adjustment, and realize that a guy who puts up a 1.000 OPS for $13M is a bargain.

    Comment by Synovia — January 3, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

  32. Moving the starter to DH still opens up a spot on the field. I’m guessing you like the ‘good-fielding backups’ approach then.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 3, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  33. “the unfortunate fact that both leagues will have an uneven number of teams”
    What’s so unfortunate about that? It’s about 15 years too late.

    Comment by Jon — January 3, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

  34. It creates the need for always-on interleague play at least. And it’s weird.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 3, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

  35. Get rid of the DH totally. I hate the DH.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — January 3, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

  36. Adding an outfielder is too radical.

    Just go to an eight man rotation, you get to leave one player out of the rotation. You could even do this as an “interleague games only” rule.

    AL pitchers don’t need to pretend to know how to swing a bat.
    NL teams don’t need to pretend to have a DH.

    Comment by Doug Lampert — January 3, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

  37. But the AL manager also doesn’t have to contemplate, can my starter go one more inning so we can get to his spot. The AL manager doesn’t have to worry about anything other than getting the matchups he wants…which is hard work in both leagues…it’s just that in the AL there is little else that a manager needs to factor into that decision.

    Comment by KDL — January 3, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

  38. Agreed; I’d really love to see the type size dropped back down a point or two. But in all honestly, Fangraphs, every article could be posted in 36 pt. white Comic Sans on a bright yellow background, and I’d still be here every day.

    Comment by Ace — January 3, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

  39. Backups, good fielding or not, are going to start a certain number of games anyway. It’s better to play them in AL parks where the good player they’re replacing can still hit, right?

    It’s not about improving the team’s fielding for that specific game, which is the way you seem to be portraying it in the article. It’s about very few players being able to play 162 games in the field.

    Comment by Tim — January 3, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

  40. The leagues have an even number of teams, it’s simply an odd number in each. :)

    Selig’s inability to see past the rim of his glasses get’s us nothing but half-assed solutions… like last years playoffs with no off days, and this…

    Comment by Tom B — January 3, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

  41. And when I say even, I mean they each have the same amount. Having one league with more teams than the other in the first place was a bone-headed decision.

    Comment by Tom B — January 3, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

  42. Do you hate it more than people hate watching pitchers bat? I doubt it.

    There are realistically like… 3 or 4 “professional DH’s” in the league… a few pretenders (more specifically teams with no interest in competing) and the rest of the teams employ a hybrid system giving their regulars half-off-days.

    The hybrid role will become much more prevalent for all teams if interleague play goes on as they have planned for 2013. The “all stick no glove” guys will go the way of the dinosaur… along with the drugs they rode in on.

    Comment by Tom B — January 3, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

  43. At least it balances the NL Central/AL West. It was obviously unfair that NL Central teams had to compete with five other teams for one playoffs spot while AL West teams only had to compete with three.

    Comment by LHomonacionale — January 3, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

  44. Really not buying this. So long as AL teams have to compete with AL teams for the AL Pennant, contenders will have a Professional DH because that’s the most efficient way to score runs. Sure they won’t be very useful in interleague, but it’s a problem every AL team will deal with and that the best will solve.

    Comment by LHomonacionale — January 3, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

  45. The Rangers were one of the first contenders of recent time to not actually use a permanent DH solution. The Yankees have also not really employed a full time DH in the absence of Posada/Matsui.

    Detroit (vmart/del young), Boston (ortiz), KC (Butler), CHW (Dunn) and most probably someone on the 2013 Angels… What other teams have the all stick DH on their roster right now? A guy that is going to play 90+ games at the DH position?

    Comment by Tom B — January 3, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

  46. I left Morales from last year off that list for some reason.

    This is what I was looking at…

    Link is to baseball reference “as DH” splits for 2012.

    Comment by Tom B — January 3, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

  47. Just take the DH away from the AL.

    Comment by Ben — January 3, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

  48. I think both leagues should compromise and adopt a hybrid DH, or a Designated PH (DPH). The SP would bat for as long as the manager leaves him in the game, but whenever the manager pinch-hits for the P in the 9th spot in the order, he would be allowed to use the same hitter every time. I have not analyzed the #’s, but I would assume that SP’s get ~2 PA’s per game and DPH’s would also get ~2 PA’s per game.

    Comment by hk — January 4, 2013 @ 7:42 am

  49. The AL teams only play 10 games in NL parks.

    Comment by hk — January 4, 2013 @ 7:44 am

  50. I actually like the new system better although I would have preferred that they reduce the number of inter-league games to 14 or 16 instead of increasing them to 20. I like burying the inter-league series into the regular schedule rather than making them a spectacle 6 times a year.

    Comment by hk — January 4, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  51. This is baseball, all players are eligible to hit, field, run including the pitchers. Just because the pitchers can’t hit doesn’t make it bad, it emphasizes more strategy, more ways to score runs. Some pitchers are better bunters than most of the other players on the team. I just like that kind of baseball. (of course I am a big Giants fan)

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — January 4, 2013 @ 11:15 am

  52. I really don’t mind having an interleague series always happening. My enjoyment of Cubs-White Sox isn’t aided by the fact that I know Pirates-Royals is also happening at the same time.

    Comment by Jon — January 4, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

  53. I think the important point is that NL teams are likely to simply give some of their poorer fielding stars a ‘rest’ by moving them to DH for a few games, and having the games more ‘spread out’ actually enhances the utility of this strategy.

    Comment by KJOK — January 4, 2013 @ 11:51 pm

  54. Baxter and Valdespin are both LHH.

    Comment by Franklin DaCosta — January 13, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

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