MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand in Week 2 of 2021 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2021

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand in Week 2 of 2021 Season

0 of 10

    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Last week's MLB power rankings?

    Crumpled up. Thrown away. A distant memory.

    Welcome to the constant shuffling that is the first few weeks of the MLB season, when the contenders and pretenders have not been clearly defined. A couple of series wins strung together are enough to rocket up the rankings, while a rough patch will send a team plummeting to the bottom.

    After limiting movement to 10 spots in our rankings published after the opening weekend, we didn't impose any restrictions this time around, so expect to see dramatic shifts both up and down.

    As the season progresses, the weekly power rankings will look distinctly different from the MLB standings as hot and cold streaks play a major factor in where teams rank. But for now, with such a small sample size, each team's placement is largely reflective of its record. Run differential was also an important factor in determining where teams fell in the rankings.

    Off we go.

              

    Note: All statistics and analysis in this article reflect MLB action through Sunday's games. Records have been updated to include Monday's results.

Nos. 30-26

1 of 10

    Akil Baddoo
    Akil BaddooCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    30. Pittsburgh Pirates (3-7)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The Pirates won a series! That's not enough to climb out of the No. 30 spot, but it's a start. Phillip Evans looks like this year's Jake Cronenworth as an out-of-nowhere rookie playing his way into the lineup thanks to his bat and defensive versatility. The 28-year-old is hitting .393/.452/.750 with three home runs in 31 plate appearances.

          

    29. Colorado Rockies (3-7)

    Previous Rank: 29

    Third baseman Ryan McMahon is doing his best to make Rockies fans forget about Nolan Arenado. He homered four times last week and sports an 1.126 OPS with five long balls in 10 games. The Rockies picked up a series win over the Arizona Diamondbacks last week but got swept by the Giants over the weekend.

         

    28. Texas Rangers (3-7)

    Previous Rank: 28

    Pitching will be an issue for the Rangers this season, and while the rotation has held its own, a 5.73 ERA and .283 opponents' batting average against the bullpen aren't promising. On a positive note, the under-the-radar move to acquire Nate Lowe looks like a good one as he has an .827 OPS with three home runs and 14 RBI in nine games.

         

    27. Washington Nationals (2-5)

    Previous Rank: 11

    In the Nationals' defense, they started the season with multiple key pieces on the sidelines following a COVID-19 outbreak, including both of their catchers. When they did return to action, a tough task awaited in the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. This team is capable of contending, but it has not been a pretty start.

         

    26. Detroit Tigers (4-6)

    Previous Rank: 21

    After a 1-5 week that included series losses to Minnesota and Cleveland, the Tigers have the second-worst run differential in baseball at minus-25. The pitching staff has struggled to a 5.92 ERA, and the offense has sputtered with a .197 average and 3.2 runs per game. The rebuild continues, but at least Rule 5 pick Akil Baddoo has been a bright spot.

Nos. 25-21

2 of 10

    Sandy Alcantara
    Sandy AlcantaraLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    25. Miami Marlins (3-6)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The Marlins have scored 24 runs in eight games, and 12 came in one game during the opening weekend. That has undermined the pitching staff's stellar 3.66 ERA as Sandy Alcantara (12.0 IP, 1.50 ERA), Pablo Lopez (11.2 IP, 1.54 ERA) and Trevor Rogers (10.0 IP, 1.80 ERA) all look strong. Can they score enough to avoid the NL East cellar?

         

    24. Baltimore Orioles (4-5)

    Previous Rank: 18

    After a 3-0 start, the Orioles stumbled through a 1-5 week with series losses to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Despite the team's struggles, Cedric Mullins continues to be one of the season's breakout stars, hitting .459/.512/.676 through 41 plate appearances. Unfortunately, the rest of the team is hitting .194.

         

    23. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-7)

    Previous Rank: 27

    The D-backs climb a few spots after picking up a series win against a red-hot Cincinnati Reds team over the weekend. The offense has shown power with 13 home runs in 10 games, and starters Luke Weaver (12.2 IP, 2.13 ERA) and Taylor Widener (11.0 IP, 2.45 ERA) are off to strong starts. But this team still looks more like an also-ran than a contender.

         

    22. Chicago Cubs (4-6)

    Previous Rank: 9

    Inept does not do the Cubs offense justice through nine games. With the worst batting average (.167) and on-base percentage (.265) in baseball, it's a small miracle they have managed to score 26 runs and win four games. A series loss to the Pirates over the weekend speaks volumes.

         

    21. Oakland Athletics (4-7)

    Previous Rank: 20

    After a brutal opening weekend in which they were outscored 35-9 in a four-game sweep by the Houston Astros, the Athletics rebounded with a 3-3 week that included some redemption in the form of a weekend series win over the Astros. Losing closer Trevor Rosenthal to thoracic outlet surgery before he made his A's debut is a big blow, but this team could still claw back up the rankings.

Nos. 20-16

3 of 10

    Jacob deGrom
    Jacob deGromLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    20. Toronto Blue Jays (4-6)

    Previous Rank: 8

    Series losses to the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels send the Blue Jays sliding down the rankings, but it's worth mentioning they are the lowest-ranked team with a positive run differential (+7), so there is reason for optimism. Their pitching staff is getting healthy, and the pieces are falling into place.

         

    19. New York Mets (2-3)

    Previous Rank: 6

    After a COVID-19 outbreak for the Nationals delayed the Mets' start to the season, they have been slow out of the gate. In a trend all too familiar to Mets fans, the team continues to forget how to hit when Jacob deGrom takes the mound. He allowed eight hits and one earned run in 14 innings over two starts last week and settled for a loss and a no-decision. His three hits at the plate in those two starts tie him for fourth on the team.

         

    18. New York Yankees (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 12

    Just twice through nine games have Yankees starters pitched beyond the fifth inning. That has put a lot of pressure on a bullpen that is without Zack Britton and just got Justin Wilson back. Domingo German was optioned to the minors, which could mean Deivi Garcia gets his shot in the rotation next time the No. 5 starter spot comes up. The rotation was the X-factor entering the year, and it's been a bright red flag.

         

    17. Tampa Bay Rays (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The defending AL champs snapped a four-game losing streak with a 10-5 victory over the Yankees on Friday and are finally showing signs of life. Chris Archer joined a long list of pitchers on the injured list when he exited his last start with forearm tightness, but the Rays knew their offseason strategy of buying low on Archer, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha would mean tapping into their pitching depth early and often. It will take this team time to find its footing, but it has the talent to be a factor in the AL East.

         

    16. Seattle Mariners (5-4)

    Previous Rank: 17

    The Mariners had the worst run differential (-11) of any team with a winning record entering play Monday, which explains their middle-of-the-road placement in these rankings. The starting rotation has struggled to a 6.23 ERA, and they may have lost James Paxton for the year to a forearm strain that could require Tommy John surgery. How long before we see top prospect Logan Gilbert on a big league mound?

Nos. 15-11

4 of 10

    Yasmani Grandal and Lance Lynn
    Yasmani Grandal and Lance LynnNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    15. Kansas City Royals (4-4)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The Royals played an abridged four-game week, splitting with Cleveland and the White Sox to remain one game above .500. The starting rotation has struggled to a 6.21 ERA and tallied just 29 innings through seven games. However, the bullpen has picked up the slack with a 3.27 ERA and a .205 opponents' batting average in 33 innings.

         

    14. St. Louis Cardinals (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The Cardinals dropped two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers after sweeping a three-game series with the Marlins. They should score plenty of runs this year, and the bullpen looks like a strength, but the starting rotation has an MLB-worst 6.57 ERA. How long before that becomes a serious concern?

         

    13. Chicago White Sox (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 13

    Despite their middling record, the White Sox rank fifth among AL teams with a plus-11 run differential. Lance Lynn threw a shutout in his first home start in a White Sox uniform, and Carlos Rodon threw five scoreless innings in his 2021 debut after winning the No. 5 starter spot this spring. Those two could be major X-factors on the pitching staff. The offense will be fine, but the bullpen needs to get on track after blowing four save opportunities in five chances.

        

    12. Atlanta Braves (4-6)

    Previous Rank: 14

    It's a safe bet that Ronald Acuna Jr. will win an MVP award at some point, and if his hot start is any indication, "some point" might be this year. The 23-year-old is hitting .444/.462/.917 with four home runs, eight RBI and eight runs scored in nine games.

        

    11. Cleveland (5-4)

    Previous Rank: 22

    Another year, another terrific Cleveland rotation that ranks among the MLB leaders in ERA (2.52, fifth), WHIP (0.92, third) and BAA (.169, second). A 4-1 week that included a sweep of the Tigers has pushed their run differential to plus-15, which is tied for the third-highest mark among AL teams.

Nos. 10-6

5 of 10

    Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez
    Xander Bogaerts and J.D. MartinezJulio Cortez/Associated Press

    10. Milwaukee Brewers (6-4)

    Previous Rank: 23

    Would anyone be surprised if Corbin Burnes (12.1 IP, 0.73 ERA, 0.16 WHIP, 20 K) and Brandon Woodruff (11.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 13 K) are the best one-two rotation punch in baseball this year? Offense is the big question mark for the Brewers this season, and losing Kolten Wong to a strained oblique doesn't help.

        

    9. Los Angeles Angels (7-3)

    Previous Rank: 10

    The Angels are the highest-ranked team with a negative run differential (-5), but that's largely a result of a 15-1 blowout loss they suffered to the Blue Jays on Sunday. The 2-3-4-5 of Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh will give pitchers nightmares all season, but the all-important starting rotation has been a mixed bag with a 6.21 ERA that ranks 27th in the majors.

         

    8. San Francisco Giants (6-4)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Giants took two of three from the San Diego Padres last week before sweeping the Rockies. The team's offseason additions may not have moved the needle for fans, but Anthony DeSclafani (2 GS, 0.82 ERA, 11.0 IP) and Aaron Sanchez (1 GS, 1.80 WHIP, 5.0 IP) have looked great in the rotation, and Jake McGee (4/4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 5.1 IP) has been lights out in the closer's role. This team could surprise some people.

         

    7. Boston Red Sox (6-3)

    Previous Rank: 25

    Getting swept is a less than ideal way to start a new season, but the Red Sox responded with a 6-0 week that sent them soaring up to No. 7. J.D. Martinez appears to be back to his old self after a miserable 2020 season, hitting .472/.500/1.083 with seven doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI. Questions remain in the starting rotation, but this lineup will score a ton of runs.

         

    6. Philadelphia Phillies (6-3)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The Phillies bullpen has factored into the decision in six of the team's first nine games. That would have been a disaster a year ago when their relief corps was one of the worst in recent history, but this year the result has been a 5-1 record with three saves in four chances and a 3.73 ERA in 31.1 innings. With a stacked lineup and a solid rotation, the bullpen could push them over the top.

Nos. 5-1

6 of 10

    Clayton Kershaw
    Clayton KershawJed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    5. Minnesota Twins (5-4)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Twins enter the week with the third-highest run differential (+21) in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros. Byron Buxton (.481/.548/1.185, 5 HR) and Nelson Cruz (.444/.469/.926, 4 HR) are both raking for an offense that is averaging 6.1 runs per game, while the pitching staff sits in a tie for third in the majors with a 2.83 ERA.

         

    4. Cincinnati Reds (7-3)

    Previous Rank: 15

    After getting blanked in back-to-back games in the postseason a year ago, the Reds offense has been the best in baseball this year. They lead the majors in batting average (.289), OPS (.882), home runs (16, tied for first) and runs scored (66). Tyler Naquin has been the under-the-radar pickup of the year. The 29-year-old is hitting .290/.389/.806 with five home runs and 14 RBI.

         

    3. Houston Astros (6-4)

    Previous Rank: 3

    Despite a weekend series loss to the Athletics, the Astros hold on to the No. 3 spot in these rankings thanks to a plus-23 run differential that leads all AL teams. Five different players in the starting lineup are hitting over .300, and the pitching staff has posted a solid 3.49 ERA despite injuries to a number of key guys. Late free-agent signing Jake Odorizzi will make his 2021 debut Tuesday.

         

    2. San Diego Padres (8-3)

    Previous Rank: 2

    Even with Mike Clevinger out for the year and Dinelson Lamet nursing a sore elbow, the Padres have baseball's best pitching staff with a 1.78 ERA through 10 games. They have tallied three shutouts, including the no-hitter Joe Musgrove threw Friday. It also sounds like Fernando Tatis Jr. could return from his shoulder injury sooner than expected, with sometime next week not out of the question.

         

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (8-2)

    Previous Rank: 1

    Can the Dodgers go wire-to-wire in the No. 1 spot in these rankings? They picked up two more series wins last week and have looked like the team to beat once again. Hard-throwing reliever Brusdar Graterol is getting close to returning after a bout with COVID-19 put him behind schedule this spring, and he'll be another weapon on a stacked pitching staff.

Complete Rankings

7 of 10

    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    Complete Rankings

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers
    2. San Diego Padres
    3. Houston Astros
    4. Cincinnati Reds
    5. Minnesota Twins
    6. Philadelphia Phillies
    7. Boston Red Sox
    8. San Francisco Giants
    9. Los Angeles Angels
    10. Milwaukee Brewers
    11. Cleveland
    12. Atlanta Braves
    13. Chicago White Sox
    14. St. Louis Cardinals
    15. Kansas City Royals
    16. Seattle Mariners
    17. Tampa Bay Rays
    18. New York Yankees
    19. New York Mets
    20. Toronto Blue Jays
    21. Oakland Athletics
    22. Chicago Cubs
    23. Arizona Diamondbacks
    24. Baltimore Orioles
    25. Miami Marlins
    26. Detroit Tigers
    27. Washington Nationals
    28. Texas Rangers
    29. Colorado Rockies
    30. Pittsburgh Pirates

Highlight of the Week: Joe Musgrove's No-Hitter

8 of 10

    For all the hype that surrounded Yu Darvish and Blake Snell as high-profile additions by the San Diego Padres, hometown kid Joe Musgrove has made the biggest impact of the team's busy offseason of reshaping the pitching staff.

    After tossing six shutout innings in his season debut, he fired the first no-hitter in franchise history against the Texas Rangers on Friday.

    "For him to do it, growing up in San Diego and this being his team, it's about the perfect story written," Padres manager Jayce Tingler told reporters.

    A hit-by-pitch of Joey Gallo in the bottom of the fourth inning was the only thing that kept him from a perfect game, but it was a gem nonetheless.

    Catcher Victor Caratini deserves his share of the credit for a brilliantly called game behind the plate, as Justice delos Santos of MLB.com wrote:

    "According to Musgrove, Caratini knew which formulas would work on specific Texas hitters. With some, Caratini knew he could get them to chase. With others, the backstop knew to pound the zone. Caratini never zeroed in on just one inning, rather creating a nuanced, multi-inning plan of attack with a level of calculus only reserved for the game's sharpest."

    Caratini also caught Alec Mills' no-hitter with the Chicago Cubs, meaning he was behind the plate for MLB's last two no-nos.

Team of the Week

9 of 10

    Ronald Acuna Jr.
    Ronald Acuna Jr.John Bazemore/Associated Press

    C Christian Vazquez, BOS
    (10-for-27, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

    1B Rhys Hoskins, PHI
    (8-for-23, 4 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI)

    2B Eduardo Escobar, ARI
    (8-for-26, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI)

    3B Rafael Devers, BOS
    (8-for-26, 4 HR, 10 RBI)

    SS Bo Bichette, TOR
    (8-for-25, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

    OF Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
    (14-for-24, 4 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI)

    OF Byron Buxton, MIN
    (10-for-19, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Mike Trout, LAA
    (8-for-17, 2 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI)

    DH J.D. Martinez, BOS
    (11-for-24, 4 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI)

    SP Joe Musgrove, SD
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

    SP Lance Lynn, CWS
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K)

    SP Jacob deGrom, NYM
    (2 GS, ND, L, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 21 K)

    SP Clayton Kershaw, LAD
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.0 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 K)

    SP Gerrit Cole, NYY
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 K)

    RP Mark Melancon, SD
    (4 G, 3/3 SV, 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

Way-Too-Early Award Rankings

10 of 10

    Byron Buxton
    Byron BuxtonCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    AL MVP

    1. Byron Buxton, MIN
    2. J.D. Martinez, BOS
    3. Cedric Mullins, BAL

           

    NL MVP

    1. Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
    2. Tyler Naquin, CIN
    3. Max Muncy, LAD

          

    AL Cy Young

    1. Lance Lynn, CWS
    2. Tyler Glasnow, TB
    3. Gerrit Cole, NYY

           

    NL Cy Young

    1. Joe Musgrove, SD
    2. Corbin Burnes, MIL
    3. Jacob deGrom, NYM

             

    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Yermin Mercedes, CWS
    2. Akil Baddoo, DET
    3. Michael Kopech, CWS

           

    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Phillip Evans, PIT
    2. Zach McKinstry, LAD
    3. Jonathan India, CIN

            

    Stats courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.