A.L. vs N.L.: is there a new leader?

Chris Vafinis@ChristFamNolesContributor IIIMay 15, 2008

   The point of this headline is, as most baseball fans know, that the American League has been the dominant of the two leagues.  In fact, the American League team has won 8 of the last 13 World Series championships and 10 of the last 11 All-Star games.  Obviously, the American League has won more often when it came to matchups between the two leagues.  However, even though it is only one-fourth of the way through the season, the stats show that the National League might be the more dominant league in the 2008 season.

   Now, I know that stats are not the only thing to look at, but they are very telling of the strength that the hitters and pitchers possess.  I want to go through all of the major stats and team records.

  Start with comparing batting averages:

  1. Victor Martinez (.333)                          Chipper Jones (.418)
  2. Joe Mauer (.328)                                 Lance Berkman (.388)
  3. Mark Grudzielanek (.319)                     Rafael Furcal (.366)
  4. Kevin Youkilis (.318)                            Albert Pujols (.355)
  5. Hideki Matsui (.317)                             Miguel Tejada (.345)

   Basically, the highest batting average of the American League is not even as high as the fifth place batter in the National League.  In fact, not until you reach the eighth spot does it match Martinez's batting average.  Added to that, Matsui's AL fifth-place batting average is comparable to the 18th spot in the NL

   Looking at another batting stat, home runs, the American League has only one batter in the double digits, Carlos Quentin, while the National League has six.  In fact, the second place in the AL, who has 8 home runs, matches the 14th place batter in the NL.  The RBI category has the AL leading, but every other spot in the rankings is dictated by the NL

   Now, I know that people might say that pitching is better in the American League and, therefore, more difficult to hit on.  I beg to differ.  Look at the top five Major League ERAs:

  1. Cliff Lee (0.67) -- AL
  2. Edison Volquez (1.12) -- NL
  3. Tim Lincecum (1.61) -- NL
  4. Zack Greinke (1.93) -- AL
  5. Carlos Zambrano (2.03) -- NL

  If you notice, there are more NL pitchers than AL.  Plus, the winningest pitcher this season, Brandon Webb, is an NLpitcher.  The stats for both pitching and hitting are very strong in the favor of the National League.  Let's look at the team records as well

   The division leaders' records are as follows:

   American League

  1. Tampa Bay (24-17)
  2. Cleveland (22-19)
  3. LA Angels (24-18)

   National League

  1. Florida Marlins (23-17)
  2. Chicago Cubs (25-16)
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-15)

   The National League has more wins accumulated and a higher win percentage.  In all areas, the National League is beating the American League.  Will this translate over to the All-Star game and possibly the World Series?  Who knows?  What's very sad is the unbelievable start that Chipper Jones is having is seemingly going for nothing since the Atlanta Braves cannot seem to win.  The American League seems to be getting older while the National League teams are very full of young talent (look at the Diamondbacks and Marlins).  Let's see how the rest of the season plays out.