Entering Monday's game, the American League is hitting .247, with an on-base percentage of .317 and a slugging percentage of .391. The AL hasn't had a batting average that low since the league hit .239 in 1972 ... a total so pathetic the league instituted the designated hitter rule for 1973.
The Mariners are hitting .226 with 11 home runs. The Rays are hitting .227 with a .286 OBP. The A's have 10 home runs. The Twins have hit nine home runs and are scoring less than 3.4 runs per game. Overall, the league is averaging 4.31 runs per game, down from the 4.45 of last season and similar to the scoring levels from 1988 to 1992.
In the midst of this offensive slack, the Yankees are scoring 6.06 runs per game, thanks to pounding 36 home runs in 18 games. The last team to score six runs per game was the 2000 White Sox, which scored 6.04 -- but compared to an AL average of 5.30 runs per game.
Since 1900, 30 teams have scored at least six runs per game. I compared each of their runs per game against the league average ... and the 2011 Yankees rank No. 1 on the list. Here is the top 10:
Does this enter the 2011 Yankees into the discussion of greatest offenses of all time? I think it does -- although, obviously, we're just speculating 18 games into the season and they're not going to keep hitting two home runs per game. Also, don't mistake the above list as a list of the greatest offenses of all time: High-scoring teams happen in high-scoring eras (for example, four teams in the 1930 National League averaged more than six runs per game). What makes the Yankees unusual so far is they're scoring a lot of runs in a lower-scoring era than the 2000 White Sox or 1999 Indians or 1996 Mariners, other recent teams that topped the six-run barrier.
As for greatest offensive teams ever, we'll have to delve into that at a different time -- a lot goes into that including era, park effects and so on.