What’s the toughest division in baseball?

16 04 2010

I’ve been playing around with the Ease Rankings feature on Baseball Monster, trying to figure out which divisions are toughest to pitch in.  I’m focused on starting pitching, so I customized league settings to look only at wins, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP.  Baseball teams play divisional opponents more than anyone else, so I averaged the Ease Rankings by division:

  • AL West: 0.48 (most favorable to pitchers)
  • NL Central: 0.42
  • AL East: 0.10
  • AL Central: -0.23
  • NL West: -0.37
  • NL East: -0.39 (least favorable to pitchers)

Going a step further, I created pitcher ease ranking for each team by excluding the team they pitch for from the average.  The analysis shows that the easiest teams to pitch for are Oakland, Texas, and St. Louis.  The toughest teams to pitch for are San Diego, Atlanta, and Cleveland.

It’s early, and these rankings are likely to change, but they’re pretty interesting and have interesting implications both for fantasy and real baseball.  For one, don’t blame Javier Vazquez’s early struggles on his league change; thus far, the Yankees’ divisional rivals haven’t been hitting the ball nearly as well as those of Vazquez’s former team, the Braves.




3 responses

18 04 2010

Based on that argument, you can argue that any pitcher coming up from the minors into the AL east would be facing an “easier” league and thus his poor performance should not be because he’s facing better hitters. You can’t make comparisons across leagues this way.
(Don’t try to counter with “NL is not the minors” because it is. Any team that is forced to start opening day with John Lannan is in trouble, along with any team that gets shut out by Livan Hernandez.)

Also, another correction … Vazquez really isn’t struggling; this is who he is. You should know from his White Sox days and from his old manager Ozzie Guillen claiming he wasn’t a big-game pitcher. Too bad, every game with the Yanks is big. The biggest change isn’t so much changing leagues as going to the Yanks. Luckily, this is a h2h league.

18 04 2010

A follow-up: You may be right about the AL east offense (esp. Boston) being a little overrated.

27 04 2010
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