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Does Practice Make Perfect?


Unlike the National League, pitchers do not hit in the American League. As a result pitchers in the National League take much more batting practice. Does that extra batting practice lead to better results offensively? Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs looks into that very thing. The article can be read here.

Pitchers can give us a glimpse into how people not selected for their offense might perform offensively in the major leagues. Pitchers, after all, bat thousands of times, and this gives us some pretty good samples. And pitchers can also tell us a little something about the effect of regular practice. Regular batting practice, that is, because we have an American League and a National League, and the leagues have different rules.

The data for this study was gathered using PITCHf/x data from 2008-2012. American League batters struck out 7% more than their National League counterparts did. On the other hand they walked roughly the same amount of the time. Pitchers in the American League hit grounballs 5% more, which shouldn't be all that surprising.

That doesn't mean National League pitchers are far superior pitchers, because both are still quite bad. Since interleague play is changing for the 2013-2014 season it will be interesting to see if American League pitchers adjust.

Question for the community:

1) Do you think American League pitchers will be able to eventually make the necessary adjustments?