2012 MLB Season: Is an American League World Series Winner Destined?

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 29, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats during Game Seven of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Out of the last 10 World Series winners, five have been from the American League and five have been from the National League.

Not that big a deal, right?

Well, let's take a closer look. Out of the last five World Series winners, it's 3-2 NL, including two back-to-back wins in 2010 (San Francisco Giants) and 2011 (St. Louis Cardinals).

Those back-to-back NL wins came on the coat tails of back-to-back All-Star Game wins, in which the AL was outscored 8-2.

But is power between the leagues shifting?

The latest dose of MLB free agency has been exciting to say the least. It's also provided a vehicle for the AL to take over as the dominant league in the Majors.

According to MLB Trade Rumors' 2012 Top 50 Free Agents list, 17 of the top 20 free agents have signed. Of those 17, five players have moved from the AL to the NL, as well as five moving from the NL to the AL. The other seven players have signed back into their respective leagues. Not that big a deal, right?

Once again, let's look a little deeper.

Of the top five free agents, all five have signed. Three of those players have moved from the NL to the AL (Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Yu Darvish), one of those players is staying in the AL (C.J. Wilson) and only one signed with an NL team (Jose Reyes).

One can certainly make the argument that the AL is winning the offensive war. Already considered the better hitters league, the AL has landed two of the best bats in baseball.

The NL is still filled with better arms, right? Teams like San Francisco, Philadelphia and Milwaukee feature stellar rotations that go three-to-four aces deep.

When you look at AL contenders, the pitching war looks a little different.

With the addition of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, the New York Yankees now feature a slew of hurlers. The Detroit Tigers have three solid pitchers, including last year's Cy Young/MVP winner Justin Verlander.

Leading the pack are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, Ervin Santana) and the Tampa Bay Rays (David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore). You could make the argument for both teams having the best, and well-rounded rotations in the Major Leagues.

Overall, the NL wins the battle of aces, even with the big clubs of the AL. However, when we look at the contenders, the AL rotations are anything but pushovers.

It's still pretty early to predict how these moves will work out. On paper, it's easy to see that the American League has certainly won the free-agency battle. The jury is still out on the pitching, but it certainly looks like the AL has some tough contenders.

Over the last two seasons, no one predicted the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals to win their respective World Series. Baseball is a game of unpredictability, and so, only time will tell. Therein lies the true beauty of the game.

But, for right now, I'm still putting my money on an AL team.