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American, National League

American or National League: The better offensive league

Across the year 2019, both the American and National Leagues have been putting on a clinic at the plate, with franchises setting home run records all across the board. While the AL has commonly been known as the power-hitting league, the NL is not too far behind in terms of slugging and offensive performance.

The sport of baseball seems to be facing a bit of an identity crisis due to the ‘loose’ confirmation of the fact that the baseballs that are currently used are juiced in some way, shape or form. Not to be officially confirmed by the league probably ever, the increase in offensive numbers across the league is astounding and not something that can just be attributed to chance.

Averages in almost all offensive categories across the MLB have been impressive, due to players putting an improved focus on launch angle and hitting metrics, as well as teams relying more on the long ball to score their runs.

In all of the MLB, across 150 games played, teams are averaging .253 at the plate, with 210 home runs, 264 doubles, 1302 hits and 698 runs driven in. This equates out to almost 1.5 home runs per nine innings, almost 9 hits per game, and just a bit over 4.5 runs scored per game, which are all hefty numbers even just as averages for the league.

In direct comparisons between the AL and the NL in all major offensive categories, the AL leads the NL in all categories except for triples, and the two leagues are tied with a .323 on-base percentage. All other focal offensive metrics are led by the AL, showing the stranglehold that that league has on its national counterparts.

Broken down by specific teams, the first four spots for team average, runs scored, hits, runs driven in and OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) are all held by AL teams, with the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox all being sprinkled in throughout those categories in various orders.

Houston leads the entire league in team average, with a .276 average, walks, with 600, hits, at 1,447, plate appearances, with a whopping 5,963, OBP, at .354, and OPS, with a .848. Leading the AL in the vast majority of offensive categories is a testament to the importance that this team has put on developing their offensive skillset, which shows through players like Alex Bregman, George Springer, Jose Altuve and rookie designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, who continues to mash the cover off of the ball ever since he was called up to the big leagues.

The NL has the likes of Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado, and rookie Pete Alonso, while the AL boasts players like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr., among other sluggers and offensive juggernauts. While the pieces for the NL are in place to threaten their big brothers for offensive supremacy, the AL looks to have that area of the sport of baseball locked down for the time being.