MLB's National League: Where Mediocre American Leaguers Go To Live

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MLB's National League: Where Mediocre American Leaguers Go To Live
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Attention mediocre American League pitchers and hitters.

If you'd like to build Hall of Fame numbers, it would be in your best interest to transfer to the National League as soon as possible.

We see pitchers like Brad Penny, Carlos Silva, and Jose Contreras, recent transfers to or back to the National League, as examples of the most recent hilarities the National League has produced.

Penny went from a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts with the Boston Red Sox last year to a 2.12 ERA in 11 starts with the San Francisco Giants last season and on the St. Louis Cardinals this season.

Silva went from a 6.81 ERA in 34 starts the last two seasons with the Seattle Mariners to a 2.90 ERA in his first five starts for the Chicago Cubs.

Contreras has gone from a 5.42 ERA in 21 games started for the Chicago White Sox to giving up four earned runs and striking out 29 batters in 23.2 innings in two starts with the Colorado Rockies last season and out of the bullpen for the Philadelphia Phillies this season, where he may start closing until Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson get healthy.

On the other side, Joel Pineiro has gone from a 3.49 ERA in 32 games with the Cardinals last season to a 5.76 ERA in five starts with the Angels.

Jake Peavy has gone from a 3.20 ERA in 40 starts with the San Diego Padres in 2008 and 2009 to a 4.52 ERA in nine starts with the White Sox in 2009 and 2010.

After sporting a 4.67 ERA with the White Sox two seasons ago, Javier Vazquez was a Cy-Young candidate in the National League last season with the Atlanta Braves sporting a 2.87 ERA in 11 more innings pitched. Vazquez currently has a 9.78 ERA in his first 23 innings with the Yankees.

Pitchers who have proven time after time they simply aren't that good like Livan Hernandez (0.87 ERA), Barry Zito (1.53 ERA), Jon Garland (2.06 ERA), Mike Pelfrey (2.40 ERA), and Tom Gorzelanny (2.48 ERA) seem to be having no problem with the National League in 2010.

Roy Halladay is making a complete mockery of the "senior" circuit with a 1.47 ERA and 0.88 WHIP to go along with 39 strikeouts in 49 innings.

We've watched as good pitchers like C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee take nice vacations to the National League for half a season and completely destroy it and everything in between, but this trend of mediocre pitching somehow becoming talented by a simple plane ticket is getting old.

It doesn't stop at the mound either.

We see Placido Polanco go from hitting .285 with 10 home runs and 72 RBI in 153 games with the Detroit Tigers last year to hitting .290 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 23 games with the Phillies this year.

Marlon Byrd hit .283 with 20 home runs and 89 RBI last year in the launching pad in Texas. Byrd is hitting .354 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 25 games in the National League. Could we see another guy over 30 breakout in the National League?

Juan Uribe was a .253 hitter in eight seasons, including back in the early 2000s in the National League before it crumbled, before coming to the San Francisco Giants two years ago. Uribe is now a .289 hitter in 470 at-bats combined the last two seasons in the National League.

Scott Rolen had eight home runs and 43 RBI in 338 at-bats with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009. He has eight home runs and 35 RBI in 208 at-bats since coming to the Reds last season.

And who could forget Raul Ibanez hitting a career high in home runs last year with 34 at the prime age of 37 upon moving to the National League for the first time?

And on the other side you have Juan Pierre who hit .308 with a .365 OBP in 145 games in the National League, currently batting .204 with a .271 OBP in 98 at-bats with the White Sox

The examples go on and on with guys like Casey Blake heading to the Dodgers, that Manny Ramirez guy, who said National League pitching was like the minor leagues, Edgar Renteria bouncing from league to league only succeeding in the National league, Mike Jacobs going from 32 home runs with the Marlins to 19 with the Royals last season, Miguel Olivo, Aubrey Huff, and Carlos Gomez finding some kind of swing this season in the National League and so on and so forth.

I understand the 2010 season is a young one, but one has to not only question the National League's talent, but when will it change?

I also understand the changing of the dominating league is usually cyclical (just like the economy, right?), but this trend seems to not be going anywhere.

How long can this disparity in the two leagues continue?

The never ending excuse is the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox steal everyone. Although that may be true from time to time, National League teams do spend money.

Mostly irresponsibly and idiotically, which could be the main downfall of the league.

The Cubs have the third highest and the Phillies have the fourth highest payrolls in all of baseball in 2010. Let's not forget about that New York Mets team, which ranks sixth this season in payroll.

Of the top ten payrolls in 2010, six are from the American League and four are from the National League.

The money excuse is simply overused. The problem lies that in fact the National League does not draft as well or spend their money as wisely as the American League.

This has led to such a massive shift in talent and simply has made playing in the National League almost unfair.

In recent years, two or three National League teams could be argued as to not even belonging in the playoffs over eliminated American League teams. But since the team was a benefactor of a bad league and/or division, the team was given a chance for a championship.

From there, all you have to do is go 11-8 (seven of those wins coming against National League teams) and you are suddenly the best team in baseball.

There is a reason the American League has won the last 12 All-Star games.

There is a reason the American League is 578-430 in inter-league play since 2006.

There is a reason Jamie Moyer can pitch until he's 90 as a Phillie.

The American League is simply better than the National League, but, so far in 2010, the National League has found a new low.

When do we start questioning why the National League gets as many playoff spots as the American League?

"Because that's the way it is" is an unacceptable answer.

 

 

 

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