If you require any convincing that the National League is, shall we say, wimpier than the American League, you need look no further than Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno.
Cedeno, obtained from the Seattle Mariners on July 29, is perhaps the ultimate example of a player who absolutely cannot translate his abilities from the NL to the AL (you can make all kinds of excuses for the guy—adjusting to new pitchers, adjusting to new parks, etc.—but I’ve seen the guy play, and he’s not worth your breath).
Known more for his glove than his bat, Cedeno still managed a .269/.328/.680 (AVG/OBP/OPS) line with the Cubs in 2008.
Fast forward to July 2009 and Cedeno barely registered a pulse as the de facto starting shortstop of the Mariners. With a line of .167/.213/.504, Cedeno pulled off the impossible, turning Mario Mendoza into a hitting god.
In the days since his departure to Pittsburgh, Cedeno has all of a sudden become the second-coming of Cal Ripken Jr.
The former black hole at the bottom of the order is hitting .313/.353/.790 with the Pirates, above average across the board. It stings a little bit if you’re a Mariners fan, but you had to see this coming.
Cedeno has simply blackballed himself from the American League. The pitchers are tougher in the AL, the parks tend to favor defense, and guys who can’t hit quickly get weeded out.
He surely didn’t get energized going from a contender in Seattle to a bust in Pittsburgh. So you have to figure that Cedeno is just capitalizing on lesser arms and better hitters’ parks.
They’ve been without an All-Star Game win for 13 years and have turned Ronny Cedeno into a slugger. They say the National League is weak, and they’re right. Sorry, NL.