We’ve talked before about the advantages to picking up an American League pitcher who has just been dealt to a National League team. The Phillies Cliff Lee is the most talked-about example in 2009.
But, research from ESPN shows that former AL pitchers are producing at a much greater rate since moving to the senior circuit. ESPN analyzed the statistics of the following pitchers who have all moved from the AL to the NL this season:
- Rafael Betancourt, Rockies
- Jose Contreras, Rockies
- Cliff Lee, Phillies
- George Sherrill, Dodgers
- Vicente Padilla, Dodgers
- Clayton Richard, Padres
- Brad Penny, Giants
- John Smoltz, Cardinals
As a group, these 8 pitchers had an ERA of 4.70 in the American League. Since moving to the National League, the ERA of the group is 2.61.
One obvious reason for the improvement in ERA is the lack of the designated hitter in the National League. But, there may be other reasons.
“The American League is just tougher,” said Matt Herges who moved from Cleveland to Colorado this year. “You hate to admit it, but it is.”
Fantasy Baseball Dugout Analysis: Brad Penny of the Giants is the best pickup of the bunch for your September playoff or stretch run. Penny was 7-8, 5.60 for the Red Sox and was 1-6 in his final 11 starts for Boston. Since coming to San Francisco, Penny is 2-0, 1.20, including tossing 8 innings of shutout ball against the defending World Series champion Phillies.