So, How Good are these A's?
As the chart on the right shows, the 2014 A's have had the best start of the season since 1984, ranking fourth overall since 1964, when the Motor City Kitties also posted a .684 Pythagorean winning percentage through June 23. Those Tigers went on to win the 1984 World Series, a trend which is prevalent among the most dominant nine teams through this point in the season since 1964. In fact, four of the nine teams went on to win the World Series, three others lost it, and two lost in the NLCS. While these teams all regressed slightly during the latter portion of the regular season, they still won an average of 102 games, with no team winning fewer than 97. To me, this appears like pretty good company for the A's.
So, The A's are Winning the World Series Then, Right?
One of the things that makes what the A's have done so remarkable is that parity has risen to almost unprecedented levels across the league. It's been 16 years since the 1998 Braves came close to matching what the A's are doing today; before that, 14 years had passed since any team put up a Pythagorean win percentage this far in the season above .660. But before 1984? Four teams in the 1970s, and two all-time great O's teams in the 60s all dominated the league. While the league's teams has trended toward mediocre (records-wise) in recent decades, the A's stand out as dominant, a feat which has become exceedingly rare. Here's to Oakland's historic early season dominance. Maybe someday, someone will notice.