From SABR member Jim Turvey at Beyond the Box Score on December 12, 2017:
On May 30, Michael Salfino published a piece for FiveThirtyEight titled, “Who Needs A DH? The NL Is Outhitting The AL, Somehow.” The piece noted that through the first two months of the season — despite the fact that, you know, pitchers have to hit in the National League — the Senior Circuit was outstriping the Junior Circuit by a five-point OPS edge (.739 for the NL; .734 for the AL).
Salfino included a chart that showed this would have been the first time since the inception of the designated hitter in 1973 that the NL would have outhit the AL (the two tied with an OPS of .681 in 1976).
The American League has had a stranglehold on the title of “Most Offensive League” since 1973, which makes perfect sense, given that (again) they get to replace the pitcher with a hitter of their choice. Since 1973, the AL has posted a .262/.328/.419 slash line, compared to .257/.326/.408 for the NL. That’s a five-point wRC+ gap.
Now, the American League ended up bouncing back by the end of the season to restore order to offensive supremacy in baseball. In fact, by the end of the season, they once again had a five-point wRC+ advantage over the NL. That’s the beauty of baseball — the season is long enough that the numbers typically track back to the mean.
Read the full article here: https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2017/12/12/16741442/who-killed-the-dh
Originally published: December 14, 2017. Last Updated: December 14, 2017.