|Boston has moved into a tie atop the MLB Power Ranking|
With the sweltering hot summer months has come an unfolding of hotly contested battles in four of Major League Baseball's six divisions, as well as both Wildcard races.
When doing the last MLB Power Ranking, the Bosox held a 4.5 game lead in the AL East Division over the arch-rival New York Yankees. That lead has now grown to 10 full games.
The Cleveland Indians led the AL Central Division by 7.5 games a month ago. That lead has now swelled to 12.5 games.
The only true divisional race in the American League is being contested out west. The defending world champion Houston Astros have frittered away most of what was a five-game lead a month ago.
The Astros now lead by just a game over the surprising Oakland Athletics. The top team in last month's rankings, they have now been tied for that number one position.
In the AL Wildcard race, the New York Yankees hold a comfortable seven-game cushion for one of the two available playoff berths.
The Seattle Mariners led Oakland by three games at the all-star break for the other spot. But the A's have flipped the script, now leading the M's by 3.5 games - four in the loss column.
The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels were each above the .500 mark at the break, sitting 8.5 and nine games out in that Wildcard race respectively. Each club still sports a winning record, but only by a single game. Both teams have fallen 11.5 off the Wildcard pace, and their seasons are on life support.
The senior circuit presented a far more interesting picture last month, and it remains so today. The Philadelphia Phillies have yielded the first place position which they held for more than a month. The Atlanta Braves have surged past the Phillies, now leading the NL East by two full games.
There are four teams with winning records in the NL Central Division, led by the Chicago Cubs. The North Siders lead is at two games over the Milwaukee Brewers, but four in the all-important loss column. The Saint Louis Cardinals remain in striking distance just four games back.
The NL West Division was the tightest in the game a month ago and it remains that way today. The Arizona Diamondbacks are on top by a game but tied in the loss column with the Colorado Rockies. The LA Dodgers are two games out, and the San Francisco Giants remain in the race at five games off the pace.
The National League's two Wildcard berths are presently controlled by the Brewers and Phillies. A half-dozen teams still appear to be alive, all within six games of the Phillies, who hold the second of two spots.
When I released my July 1 MLB Power Ranking, only statistics on offense, defense, and pitching were considered. At the all-star break, I began to incorporate a fourth category, winning percentage. This was in order to recognize a club's ability to actually win games despite statistical shortcomings.
I have kept that formula this time around, again researching each of the 30 MLB teams current rankings in the four categories of winning percentage, runs scored, pitching OPS, and fielding percentage. I then assigned each of those rankings a 1-30 value, and added them up to determine an overall score.
The current MLB Power Ranking for mid-August is presented here, with each team's previous rank from July 1 (L) and at the MLB All-Star break in mid-July (R) in parentheses:
1. Houston Astros (1-1)
1. Boston Red Sox (2-2)
3. New York Yankees (5-3)
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (3-7)
4. Cleveland Indians (12T-10)
6. Atlanta Braves (4-4)
7. Oakland Athletics (15-11)
8. Chicago Cubs (7-5)
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (9-6)
9. Colorado Rockies (12T-9)
11. Washington Nationals (8-13)
12. Los Angeles Angels (6-14)
13. Seattle Mariners (11-12)
14. Milwaukee Brewers (9T-8)
15. Saint Louis Cardinals (23T-18T)
16. Tampa Bay Rays (14-15)
17. Philadelphia Phillies (23T-16)
18. San Francisco Giants (22-20)
18. Minnesota Twins (16-17)
20. Pittsburgh Pirates (18-18T)
21. Cincinnati Reds (17-21)
22. Texas Rangers (19T-26)
23. Detroit Tigers (19T-22)
24. Toronto Blue Jays (19T-25)
25. Miami Marlins (26-23)
26. New York Mets (27T-24)
27. Kansas City Royals (27T-27T)
28. San Diego Padres (25-27T)
29. Baltimore Orioles (29-29)
29. Chicago White Sox (30-30)
The next MLB Power Ranking will be released on Labor Day weekend as teams prepare for the stretch run. There will be rankings released in mid-September, and then one final ranking as the conclusion of the MLB regular season.