Just over 100 players have switched leagues this offseason, and I suspected that the American League was getting the better of many of these transactions. In order to investigate the suspicion, I constructed lists of the players who have switched leagues. Many of these players will likely be of little consequence (the D'Backs got Mulholland, the imbalance is corrected!), so the lists that you see below are of the top ten position players and the top ten pitchers to switch from the American League to the National League, and from the National League to the American League.
I have used Hardball Times' 2005 Win Shares Above Bench to sort the players. I am not trying to use this as a definitive rating of all of these players - that's not the point - I just want to make this objective and a little bit empirical and I think that WSAB does that quite well.
AL to NL - Position Players Player Old Team New Team WSAB Mueller Red Sox Dodgers 8 Rowand White Sox Phillies 7 Hudson Blue Jays D'Backs 6 Jones Twins Cubs 4 Soriano Rangers Nationals 4 Castillo Athletics Nationals 4 Mirabelli Red Sox Padres 2 Renteria Red Sox Braves 2 Castro Orioles Nationals 1 Alomar Rangers Dodgers 0 Total 38Notables with fewer WSAB: H. Ramirez, G. Gross, C. Young, E. Byrnes, S. Finley, A. Gonzalez.
AL to NL - Pitchers Player Old Team New Team WSAB Young Rangers Padres 6 Howry Cleveland Cubs 6 Gordon Yankees Phillies 4 Vizcaino White Sox D'Backs 3 Bush Blue Jays Brewers 2 Bradford Red Sox Mets 1 Marte White Sox Pirates 1 Hernandez White Sox D'Backs 1 Batista Blue Jays D'Backs 1 Borowski Devil Rays Marlins 1 Total 28Notables with fewer WSAB: Z. Jackson, S. Kline, M. Stanton, S. Ponson, J. Grimsley.
NL to AL - Position Players Player Old Team New Team WSAB Glaus D'Backs Blue Jays 12 Wilkerson Nationals Rangers 10 Castillo Marlins Twins 7 Grudziel'k Cardinals Royals 7 Overbay Brewers Blue Jays 6 Sanders Cardinals Royals 6 Loretta Padres Red Sox 6 Perez Dodgers Athletics 5 Bradley Dodgers Athletics 5 Mackowiak Pirates White Sox 3 Total 67Notables with fewer WSAB: R. Hernandez, J. Conine, E. Alfonzo, J. Phillips, J. Thome, M. Lowell, A. Marte, S. Burroughs, D. Mientkiewicz.
NL to AL - Pitchers Player Old Team New Team WSAB Beckett Marlins Red Sox 9 Jones Marlins Tigers 9 Vazquez D'Backs White Sox 8 Burnett Marlins Blue Jays 6 Carrasco Nationals Angels 6 Loaiza Nationals Athletics 5 Seanez Padres Red Sox 5 Farnsworth Braves Yankees 3 Padilla Phillies Rangers 2 Eaton Padres Rangers 2 Total 55Notables with fewer WSAB: A. Otsuka, G. Mota, L. Hawkins, R. Villone, M. Redman.
Adding up the total Win Shares Above Bench of the forty players listed above yields a 122-66 advantage for the American League. Also, the notables (who for whatever reason accumulated fewer than two WSAB in 2005) going to the American League, such as Thome, Lowell, Mota, Hernandez, Otsuka and Marte appear to provide more promise for 2006 than their cohorts going to the National League.
Boston, Oakland, Texas, Toronto and Kansas City have led the raid on the National League talent cupboard.
The American League was better in 2005, and it does not appear as though that will change in 2006.