How has expansion affected pitching?

Updated: July 5, 2002, 1:19 PM ET
By by Corey Roberts, STATS. Inc.
With Major League Baseball continuing to discuss the possibility of cutting teams from the leagues, many are asking if a move so drastic is needed. Those in favor of the idea believe that with fewer major league teams, the better the competition will be. There also is widespread belief that pitching has suffered because of the current number of teams, with not enough talented hurlers to make up those squads. With numerous batters belting 50-plus home runs each year over the past few seasons, those who hold this belief possess quality data to back up their theory.

Over the past 11 years, there have been two expansions in MLB -- in 1993 and 1998. The few years following those additions of new teams, hitters seem to have a distinct advantage over their counterparts on the mound. However, pitchers may have the last laugh in the matchup. The numbers suggest that pitchers, although they may go through a rough period after an expansion, seem to turn things around and steal that advantage back from the batters, or at least return to a respectable level of performance.