Wednesday, April 2, 2008

AL v. NL: Is the tide turning?

Contemporary wisdom is that the AL is the superior league. Typically, free agents seem to float to one of the big market AL teams. Plus, there are two or three ferocious lineups (*cough* Detroit *cough*). But, let's look at various positions:

C: There's not enough who are worth a crap to actually analyze, but for what it's worth the NL has two of the top five.

1B: Ignoring tricky eligibility guys like David Ortiz, my top five first baseman heading into the draft were all in the NL. It isn't until Morneau pops in there at six that the AL rears its head.

2B: Once again, if we ignore non second baseman such as B.J. Upton, the two top guys (by a mile) are in the NL. Somewhat like catchers, though, the position is so shallow I'm not sure we can draw any conclusions.

SS: Top three guys are all in the NL. And they are the top three by a mile. Yet another NL dominated position.

3B: Six of the top ten, and three of the top five, are in the NL.

OF: Three of the top five are in the NL, and Holliday is the class of the crop by a wide margin.

SP: There's not even a discussion here: starting pitching has become utterly NL dominated. Whether the pitchers are better, the league weaker, or both, is a discussion for another column. I typically take NL starters over AL starters routinely.

RP: Well, the AL definitely dominates these ranks. In fact, it's so lopsided I have to think it's more than a statistical anomaly. Takashi Saito, or maybe Billy Wagner, is really the top NL closer? Really? Hmmm...

DH: Creates a roster imbalance that permeates fantasy thinking, and I believe may be leading people astray. The NL is where it's at for the majority of premium players, folks!


Anonymous said...

Last year, 9 of the top 13 OFs were from the AL.

Mike Bock said...

Last year is not this year. For example, Magglio Ordonez is not going to repeat those numbers. Did you select him with your first round pick? Didn't think so.

Looking at the '08 season, OF talent is split pretty evenly between the AL and NL through the top ten or twenty selections. At the very top of the board, though, you're looking at Holliday and Soriano, with Carlos Lee and Beltran slotting into the second round along with Crawford and Sizemore. That's pretty top heavy in terms of NL superiority, with four of the top six, one of whom is uber-OF Holliday, being NL based.