Thursday, January 24, 2008

A perfect example of something just made up

Sorry for the lack of post, loyal readers. I have been really busy at work lately, as have other prominent baseball bloggers. Just wanted to add this quick gem by Amy Nelson from ESPN.com's comparison of Carl Crawford and Jose Reyes, to determine who is the best base stealer in the game.

In stating her case for Crawford she states the following:


Crawford has the speed, the quickness and the instincts. He's also is in a league that doesn't emphasize the stolen base as much as the NL, which certainly helps put his totals below that of players like Reyes and Pierre
.
That is something you will hear broadcaster and other journalist comment on time to time; the big difference between AL style ball verses NL style ball. I tend to think this is way overblown. Granted, the difference may have been more pronounced several decades ago, but now with free agency players very often switch leagues. Also managers switch a lot and they would bring their styles of play with them right?

I haven't done a ton of research on this and apparently Amy Nelson hasn't either. I don't quite know what she means by the "emphasize the stolen base" but I would nearly guarantee that she didn't know the the average AL team in 2007 had 97 stolen bases with a 73% success rate. The average NL team stole 98 bases with a 74% success rate (an average AL team has had more stolen bases in a season than the average NL team in four of the last eight seasons). Just maybe Amy thought that 1 base and 1 % difference last season was enough of a factor to limit Crawford stolen base output. Or maybe this is how baseball myths get passed around ?


PS:I know the whole DH and pitcher thing is a obvious and very real difference. But what about the general hyperbole you will hear that the AL is the power hitting league and the NL is the base stealing league. This is something I have heard old retired ball players ramble on about during broadcast. While only twice in the last eight seasons has the average NL team out homered the average AL team (including 169 to 161 last season) the differences are often explained simply by the DH. You will hear some exaggerate as if the NL style is more pure and wholesome baseball while the AL is the lazy, wait for the three run homer league. Not exactly true. Little things like this annoy me way more than the average person probably ......

19 comments:

Make 7UP Yours said...

Stealing is a lost art in baseball. A stealing record hasn't been broken since 1976. The 1976 Oakland A's were a base stealing machine. They set the AL team record of 341 stolen bases. The only team to beat the record was the 1911 Mets with 347. That same year they also have the AL record for most times caught stealing at 123. Not being an A's fan not really sure who was on that team. So here is the link for any curious fans. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/roster.php?y=1976&t=OAK

The difference between Crawford and Reyes is this. Reyes has 234 career stolen bases putting him at almost 59 a year. Crawford has 277 career SB's putting him at almost 56 SB's a year. Both are running on major league catchers and getting jumps on major league pitchers. Debating who is better with a difference of 3 SB's a year is almost as relevant as debating who is better the Pirates or Royals. If the trade rumours of Crawford going to the Pirates would ever come true then they would both be in the NL and would see who was better, and apparently ending this debate.

On a side note, I entered stolen base difference al vs nl, and low and behold the last site on the page was Smart Ball In Seattle, donaldjevans.blogspot.com. Has Don made it bigtime? Only time will tell.

Make 7UP Yours said...

*In reference to the side note, I entered "stolen base difference Al vs NL" into Google. Here is the link, http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=stolen+base+difference+al+vs+nl

DNS said...

The leagues are completely different. Yes, players switch leagues, but they are still different styles of ball.

Don Evans said...

DNS-besides the pitchers hitting rather than the DH htting i bet you wouldn't notice a difference. Lets suppose that you were watching two teams play but they had on blank uniforms, not associated to any team, i bet there is no way you could watch a game and say, oh i just watched two AL teams play .... just no way you could

Joe Morgan said...

Who stole fewer bases the year he joined the AL? Joe Morgan.
Trust Joe Morgan.

fred said...

Sorry Don.
I believe if I watched two games with blank uniforms I would be able to tell which game was a NL game and which was an AL game.
Your point about "besides the DH" is a point that can not be ignored. With the DH, the game is different.
The players talent may not be different but the game is different.
If your point is the players are of equal ability, then I could agree. If your point is the game is the same, I can not agree

Don Evans said...

Fred,

Thanks for the comment and allow me to elaborate a little more .... I believe the the DH would lead to a couple things .. in the NL you might see the 8th hitter intentionally walked slightly more, and the number 9 hitter, the pitcher in the NL, might bunt a little more. But that difference is not super significant, think about it, the pitcher only bats 2-3 times a game typically , and they would only bunt with men on base and less than two outs,

when you say " The players talent may not be different but the game is different." ... besides the the examples i noted above , i guess HOW is the game different? and those examples definitely do not play out in every game, i assure you, if you watched two teams with blank uniforms play you would not be able to tell what league you were watching, i guess i have submitted a moderate amount of proof that the leagues are not discernibly different (at least to the eye while watching a particular game) I am open to new ideas and i think your assertion that you could tell the difference is interesting. I just think you need to offer some more proof to your idea other than "i know i could tell the difference"

I have been watching baseball along time and i just dont see how you would be able to tell from just watching. I guess the burden of proof is on you with this one brother, cause i just dont see it ..... i would changed my mind if you can find a compelling reason to convince me, but you've yet to offer one ....

Dr. Funk said...

The difference in style is caused by the DH. With the DH you obviously get more HR's, pitchers ERA goes up, and pitchers only work on hitting a week or two before interleague play. As far as watching two team's with blank jerseys like in a powerade commercial, you could tell a difference simply by the way a line-up was set and by watching the pitchers attempt to hit. If a pitcher bunts with a man on or not a man on or looks like they don't know how to swing a bat it's an AL team. Pitchers in high school are usually the best athelte on the team both pitching and hitting. It's when they get into the minor league and everything is DH they lose there ability to hit. If minor's dropped the DH made pitchers hit it would help them in the Majors.(Personal Opinion) I found stats in regard to AL pitchers vs NL pitchers hitting in NL parks. 70 interleague games had been played in National League parks, without the designated hitter. AL pitchers had 24 hits in 151 at-bats in those games, giving them a .150 average that is actually slightly better than the cumulative average of NL pitchers on the season. NL had a batting average of .159 compared to AL's .154. AB/Strikeout was NL 2.3 and AL 2.8. Sac bunts/game was NL.16 and AL .42. Nearly half the time at bat an AL pitcher is simply bunting.

My question is how are you guys tying your DH and blank jerseys into the fact that there isn't much of a difference in NL and AL in stealing. From what I am getting you feel that because of the DH in the AL there is less stealing and more HR's? Rely more on your big hitters hitting in your base runners instead of taking the risk of stealing him and getting him thrown out.

Well according to last years stats the AL had 2,506 Hr's and the NL had 2,952. The AL had 1,647 stolen bases and the NL had 1,456. This means that in the AL there was a SB for every 1.52 HRs and in the NL this ratio was one SB for every 2.03 HRs. The above was not a single-season phenomenon. In fact, a review of prior season's statistics would result in very similar data over the last 15 years. One obvious conclusion can be drawn from the above: a SB is more rare than a HR in today’s game, regardless of league.

So if the style is so much different where AL is built for power and HR's then why is the NL producing so much more HR's and less SB's?

Don Evans said...

Dr. Funk ..... thanks for the comments. great information .... Your data is backing up my initial point that the NL is not the "stolen base small ball league" while the AL is the power hitting league. The differences are just not consistently there .....

Dr. Funk said...

Oh Donald you're welcome, such a polite young man you are.

Luke said...

Hey Don,

I think you guys are making this much more complicated than it needs to be. The major difference between the AL and the NL is money. Of the highest 10 salaried teams in the MLB, 70% of those teams are in the AL. Of the lowest 10 salaried teams in the MLB, 60% are in the NL. Now don't you think it's easy now to see why the AL has won 80% of the past 10 World Series? I guess you pay for what you get...

Bobby Light said...

Actually Luke dating back from 1997to 2007 it's AL 7 NL 4.
1997 Florida Marlins
1998 New York Yankees
1999 New York Yankees
2000 New York Yankees
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
2002 Anaheim Angels
2003 Florida Marlins
2004 Boston Red Sox
2005 Chicago White Sox
2006 St. louis Cardinals
2007 Boston Red Sox

That put's it's at roughly 64%. I do agree with you there is more money in the AL (see last paragraph),but here is how last years playoffs team ranked in team payroll. Yankees (1), Red Sox (2), Angels (5), Indians (23), Cubs (8), Diamondbacks (26), Rockies (25), Phillies (14). The NLCS ended up 25 vs 26 and ALCS was 2 vs 23. Out of the final 4 3 were among the lowest paid team's in baseball. If you look back you do see a couple highly paid teams but mostly teams in the lower end being successful. So do you really get what you pay for? A bunch of highly paid players that make playoffs and then lose (Yankees).Yes the Red Sox were the second highest paid team and won it but what about the 4th highest payroll in baseball and have a 72-90(White Sox).

The AL payroll is roughly $1,306,597,934 while the NL is roughly $1,184,062,165 a difference of around $122 million. A difference that is larger than everyone but the red sox and yankees payroll. One question i have is what does the payroll of the NL and AL have to do with stealing bases? Way to stick to the topic Luke.

BWhite said...

It's Tuesday Don...where is the new post? This is not good for the fan base. You need to step your game up.

C-Dubb said...

Don how bout some commentary on how the yankees couldnt seal the deal and land santana!! Who made out on that trade?

Rob Dyrdek said...

Don work is over-rated you need to give some time to your fan's dawg. It takes you what 10 minutes to write a post? Are we not worth 10 minutes?

Anonymous said...

Donald...where are you? Are you busy reserching more stats to back your AL vs NL claim or have you decided work is more important in your life? If it is the latter, then the earth must have missed a rotation.

Josh said...

Yeah, what is going on... a New Yorker with nothing to say about the Super Bowl or the Johan trade (Mets win? Yankees miss out?), or Clemens/Pettite testifying....

Bud Selig said...

You built my up Don to let me down, you better make me your co-writer if you want your blog to have a chance of survivol...

bwhite said...

This blog is beat.