On the heels of the NL league leaders, which were released last weekend, come the Top 5 leaders for the American League, which reflect a surprising number of non-contending squads and their players occupying spots in many of the team and individual batting categories. Most impressive are the Indians, who have representatives in all six individual batting lists, and are featured in five of the six team batting lists; not bad for a team rooted in sixth place in the AL East.
As far as individual numbers go, it seems to me that many of the players leading in both the NL and AL are well behind the pace of their 1978 namesakes. For example, through the end of July in SP78, J.R. Richard and Nolan Ryan lead in strikeouts in their respective leagues, with 172 and 138 K’s, yet during the actual ’78 season they finished with 303 and 260! Right now, they’d have to almost double their four-month SP78 output in just two months!
Also, it’s nice to see a little variety in the names that grace the American League lists; not just the big names and All-Stars, but secondary players like Jim Norris, Leon Roberts, Dave Rozema, and Ruppert Jones. Hopefully these minor stars, as well as a few others, will be found among the leaders once the season ends.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I made sure to check the stats for pitchers who batted in the AL—all six of them—and add their numbers to the team totals.