The Swing Shift – Welcome to the New American League

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Trish Vignola

The National League overall has over powered the American League over the past century. They have the better of the junior circuit in the All Star Game. If you take the statistical freak show known as the New York Yankees out of the equation, they have bested the American League in World Series wins as well. After the Yankees, the next franchises in series appearances and wins are all members of the National League (St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, New York/San Francisco Giants respectively). In fact, the National League has taken the ultimate title the past six out of ten years.

Still, has there been a major momentum shift? This off-season, 147 players switched leagues. That’s nothing new. On closer look though, 87 moved from the National League to the American League. Did they hear something we didn’t? The remaining 60 took the reverse route.

Albert Pujols, who I always thought was the second coming of Stan Musial, left the St. Louis Cardinals for the Los Angeles Angels. Prince Fielder, who I thought was headed to Miami, left the Milwaukee Brewers for the Detroit Tigers. With Pujols in the American League West and Fielder in the American League Central, the American League is officially a force to be reckoned.

The following are just a couple of ways in which American League now outmuscles the National League. The American League has eight out of the ten largest contracts in Major League Baseball. Out of the 13 active Most Valuable Players, eight of them are now in the American League. Out of the ten home run leaders, only three still reside in the senior circuit.

Let us look at run production overall. After the off-season exodus, take a look at homeruns hit last year. Players who now reside in the American League hit 251 of those homeruns. Only 140 of those homeruns still reside in the National League. Looking at runs batted in last year, players who now reside in the American league were responsible for 1,002 of them. A measly 667 of them still reside in the National League.

So, the American League now outmuscles the National League. It is not like the American League has never been home to big boppers. Alex Rodriguez played his entire career in the American League. What about Jose Bautista? Is he chopped liver? In fact, the American League’s overall Interleague winning percentage from 2007-2011 has always been better than the National League (.546 to .454 respectively). Nonetheless, the National League still beat the American League when it counted in October.

With this new crop of American League boppers, will this translate to American League dominance in October? I think it does. These guys do so much more than hit the cover off the ball; they are brilliant baseball minds. Albert Pujols is already mentioned in the same breath as the greats of the game and he is nowhere near retirement. Based on this off-season, there is a new road to the World Series. Guys, as much as I hate to admit it, it is not through the Bronx anymore.

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