The 2021 Major League Baseball season rolls on as we are one-third of the way through a 162-game schedule, with the MLB standings delivering quite a few surprises.
As the temperatures heat up, so are the divisional races across the league. The San Francisco Giants lead the NL West, but both the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers would make the postseason if the MLB playoffs today.
Meanwhile, the AL East (Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox), AL West (Oakland Athletics, Houston Astros) and NL Central (New York Mets, Chicago Cubs) are providing great storylines for the summer ahead.
Let’s dive into our latest MLB power rankings for the 2021 season, updated every weekend.
1. Tampa Bay Rays (2)
Tampa Bay just keeps taking care of its business. Operating with one of the lowest payrolls in MLB, the Rays became the first club to reach 40 wins and they are closing in on being 20 games above a .500 record. Best of all, we might only be a few weeks away from Wander Franco being promoted.
2. San Francisco Giants (4)
Teams who make the mistake of loading the bases when facing the Giants are asking for trouble. San Francisco leads MLB in run production when the bases are juiced, a credit to a lineup with few stars. The Giants have the pitching to compete, they just need to add another big bat via trade.
3. Chicago White Sox (5)
After a cold spell and some controversy, the White Sox are back on track. Chicago is 7-3 in its past 10 games and leads baseball in run differential (+103). What makes this team so remarkable, it’s doing all of this without Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez.
4. Boston Red Sox (3)
Boston slips a bit in the MLB power rankings after some trouble against the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros. Fortunately, the distance between them and other AL Wild Card contenders is significant. We’re still not completely sold on this team getting it done in October, but big moves at the trade deadline can change that.
5. Oakland Athletics (7)
Beat the teams that are on your schedule. Oakland is certainly benefiting from a recent stretch of opponents that all sit at the bottom of the MLB standings. But it’s crucial to knock down the teams that you are supposed to and that’s just what we’re seeing from the Athletics. If there’s one concern, Jesus Luzardo does not look right this year.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (6)
MLB let pitchers know that umpires will start cracking down on the use of sticky substances. Coincidentally, Trevor Bauer has a 4.74 ERA and four home runs allowed in his last three starts. Needless to say, given the allegations against the Dodgers, everyone will be watching this pitching staff closely in the next few weeks.
7. San Diego Padres (1)
The Padres are scuffling as of late, dropping three of their past four series. Cold spells happen, but the fact that San Diego is losing to the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets is a bit concerning for their October forecast. Expect general manager AJ Preller to be aggressive on the trade market.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (9)
Milwaukee is largely being carried by its starting rotation this season, keeping this club afloat through injuries and struggles. With Christian Yelich healthy and producing, we’re seeing more signs of what this team is capable of at its peak. The Brewers would be wise to add a middle-of-the-order hitter, but we’d feel confident betting on this current roster to win the division.
9. New York Mets (10)
Jacob deGrom gave everyone another scare this week, but it seems his forearm injury won’t be a long-term issue. But the thought of losing him is another sign that New York needs to acquire another starting pitcher, especially with Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco suffering setbacks.
10. Houston Astros (8)
Even if the Astros don’t win the division, they should feel confident about a potential AL Wild Card Game against Boston. Houston is 5-2 against the Red Sox this season and they are all pretty convincing victories. If the Astros can strengthen the bullpen, a deep postseason run is possible.
11. Chicago Cubs (13)
After hitting just one home run in 51 April at-bats, Joc Pederson went deep in three consecutive games this past week. It’s the version of the player the Cubs expected and his return to form, combined with this great lineup, makes the upcoming series against the Mets even more fascinating.
12. Toronto Blue Jays (11)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is on his way to winning AL MVP, delivering the breakout season everyone knew was possible. Unfortunately for Toronto, George Springer is still injured and this rotation isn’t exactly getting the job done. If both issues are resolved by July, the Blue Jays can heat up quickly.
13. Cleveland Indians (12)
A series against the Seattle Mariners helped tip the scales a bit, but a negative run differential (-4) is still alarming for a team with playoff aspirations. If Cleveland doesn’t make significant additions in July, there’s zero reason to believe they sustain this level of play.
14. New York Yankees (14)
New York’s descent down the standings continues and it could soon plummet even further down MLB power rankings. We’ve seen hot and cold streaks from this club, going from 16-16 to 28-19 and now 33-31. Things will get better, but there’s nothing to suggest the Yankees are remotely close to competing for the AL pennant.
15. Philadelphia Phillies (17)
Three walk-off victories in a week, with two coming off Jean Segura’s bat. Philadelphia found its way back to a .500 record, but the real test comes this week. If the Phillies can take one series against the Dodgers and Giants, we’ll start to believe in this club a bit.
16. Cincinnati Reds (20)
Cincinnati’s rotation carried it for two seasons and the lineup prevented it from being a contender. We’ve seen a role reversal this season, with the Reds’ batting order carrying the third-highest OPS (.762) and its rotation in the middle of the pack (4.10 ERA). If things don’t turn around, Sonny Gray and Nick Castellanos will be hot names at the trade deadline.
17. Los Angeles Angels (20)
The Angels fought their way back to a respectable record, winning 11 of their last 14 games. Sweeping both the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks is a great step forward, especially with Mike Trout. If Los Angeles can take a series from the Oakland Athletics and dominates the Detroit Tigers, it will ascend further up the MLB power rankings.
18. Atlanta Braves (16)
It’s just not working out for the Braves this season. While they avoided a series sweep in Miami, a sub-.500 record is still alarming. Things won’t get any easier in the next 10 days with matchups against the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets.
19. St. Louis Cardinals (15)
Just a few weeks ago, the Cardinals were a top-10 team in the MLB power rankings and surging with a 30-22 record. Since then, St. Louis has dropped 11 of its last 13 games. Injuries have resulted in one of the worst rotations in MLB and barring a sudden trade, the Cardinals record will get worse.
20. Kansas City Royals (18)
We’ll give credit to the Royals for giving some of their young players opportunities to shine. It’s nice to see from a team that looks good for a few weeks then goes ice cold. From 14-7 to 16-20 and later from 29-26 to 30-34, that about sums up the Royals.