Bob Howry has been a decent middle reliever for a long time. In fact, at one point he was really good. Then, in 2004 and 2005 he was just ok...not great. After a move to the National League, he was excellent...far better than he's been the past few years. I'm a big believer in the impact of pitching in the AL vs. the NL. I think that not only is the AL tougher because of the designated hitter, but that there's been a fairly big skill gap between the two leagues for the past few years.
Year League Team IP BB K
2004 AL CLE 42.2 12 39
2005 AL CLE 73 16 48
2006 NL CHC 76.2 17 71
So this is a case where a pitcher did better because of moving to the NL and we can expect more of the same in 2007, right? Not necessarily. For relief pitchers, I think the impact of the designated hitter is much less than starters. Even in the NL, relievers aren't facing many pitchers, because typically a pinch hitter is sent up to bat when it's the pitcher's turn. So I don't expect Howry to exactly duplicate 2006, although I do think he'll still be an effective reliever. I think he actually was somewhat unlucky ending up with a 3.17 ERA in 2006, so he could certainly repeat that, even if his peripherals aren't as good this year.