The Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers emerged as the heavy favorites in the American League, after making significant pitching upgrades at the trade deadline.  But since the end of the July deadline – and throughout the month of August – the red hot teams in the AL have instead been the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners.  How will these facts be reflected in the latest edition of MLB Power Rankings?

Each of these three franchises is making a hard push towards the postseason, with the Mariners being placed in the toughest position, with both the Angels and A’s residing in the same division.

Consider the following stat lines and comparisons since the MLB trade deadline:

Record:

  • The Royals are 14-3 in August, which is the best mark in baseball
  • The trio of the O’s, Mariners and Royals have combined to go 36-13 this month
  • Compare that to the Tigers and A’s,combining to go 15-19 in August

Offense:

  • Kansas City’s 87 runs are more than any other team in August (17 games)
  • Baltimore has scored 79 runs (3rd in MLB) this month, and Seattle 77 (4th)
  • Compare the above to the Tigers (65 – 15th), A’s (62 -16th) and Angels (60 – 17th)
  • The Orioles have hit an MLB-best 28 HR this month (7 more than any other team).  Heck, even the light-hitting Royals have launched 16 homers
  • The Royals have the best average in baseball this month – a .284 mark.  The Orioles are right there in third, hitting .272 as a team.

Pitching:

  • The Mariners have posted a ridiculous MLB-leading 2.04 team ERA in 16 games this month
  • The Royals (2.98 ERA – 6th in MLB) and Orioles (3.08 ERA – 7th) have also pitched great since the deadline
  • Compare the above to the Angels (10th), A’s (12th) and Tigers (14th in MLB)
  • Seattle (.218) and Baltimore (.221) are the top two teams in opponents batting average
Buck Showalter and the Orioles have a large lead in the AL East

Buck Showalter has the Baltimore Orioles pointed toward the postseason

Over the last three weeks (since the last MLB Power Rankings at TWHS), Seattle, Baltimore and Kansas City posted the biggest gains.  Kansas City leads the group, already notching fourteen August victories and taking over the AL Central division lead.  The top five winners since the last edition are:

Kansas City Royals: +67 points

Seattle Mariners: +49 points

Baltimore Orioles: +32 points

Washington Nationals: +29 points

San Diego Padres: +27 points

Elsewhere, the Blue Jays have struggled, falling six spots to 14th place in the latest rankings.  Toronto headlines this edition’s bottom five, which also features the A’s:

Toronto Blue Jays: -45 points

Oakland Athletics: -32 points

Arizona Diamondbacks: -32 points

Pittsburgh Pirates: -31 points

Chicago White Sox: -31 points

Despite a rough August, Oakland holds onto the lead, albeit a much smaller one.  Even with the weight of its recent struggles, the A’s land on top due to its strong resume over the course of the season.  The Rays – backed by a surge both offensively and in its pitching staff – are also a surprise in 11th place.  The latest rankings are as follows, highlighting clubs with positive or negative jumps:

KP’s MLB Power Rankings: August 19, 2014

Note: Statistics and point totals as of August 19, 2014 and do not include tonight’s games

1. Oakland Athletics (156 points) –Previously: #1 (-32) 

2. Los Angeles Angels (142 points) –Previously: #2 (+6)

3. Washington Nationals (138 points) –Previously: #4 (+29)

4. Baltimore Orioles (129 points) –Previously: #6 (+32)

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (122 points) –Previously: #3 (+2)

6. Seattle Mariners (121 points) –Previously: #10 (+49)

7. Kansas City Royals (115 points) –Previously: #14 (+67)

8. Milwaukee Brewers (110 points) –Previously: #7 (+23)

9. Detroit Tigers (78 points) –Previously: #5 (-20)

10. San Francisco Giants (68 points) –Previously: #11 (+4)

11. Tampa Bay Rays (57 points) –Previously: #15 (+12)

12. St. Louis Cardinals (52 points) –Previously: #12 (-7)

13. Atlanta Braves (43 points) –Previously: #9 (-30)

14. Toronto Blue Jays (32 points) –Previously: #8 (-45)

15. Cleveland Indians (28 points) –Previously: #18 (+10)

16. Pittsburgh Pirates (19 points) –Previously: #13 (-31)

17. Cincinnati Reds (16 points) –Previously: #20 (+5)

18. New York Yankees (16 points) –Previously: #16 (-10)

19. Miami Marlins (13 points) –Previously: #17 (-5)

20. San Diego Padres (-1 point) –Previously: #22 (+27)

21. New York Mets (-3 points) –Previously: #19 (-18)

22. Chicago White Sox (-28 points) –Previously: #21 (-31)

23. Boston Red Sox (-36 points) –Previously: #24 (-5)

24. Minnesota Twins (-37 points) –Previously: #25 (-2)

25. Chicago Cubs (-49 points) –Previously: #28 (+12)

26. Philadelphia Phillies (-61 points) –Previously: #26 (-15)

27. Arizona Diamondbacks (-62 points) –Previously: #23 (-32)

28. Colorado Rockies (-78 points) –Previously: #27 (-25)

29. Houston Astros (-86 points) –Previously: #30 (+8)

30. Texas Rangers (-109 points) –Previously: #29 (-25)

* All stats as of August 19th, 2014, and per MLB.com and ESPN.com

Note: RED = Falling 3+ spots from last week, GREEN = Rising 3+ spots from last week

The Wife Hates Sports’ MLB Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record.  It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system.  The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and pitching staff, too.