MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand in Week 3 of 2021 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2021

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand in Week 3 of 2021 Season

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Welcome back to the constant shuffling that is the first few weeks of a new MLB season.

    Who had the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants as top-10 teams when the season began?

    How about the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs ranked below the Pittsburgh Pirates?

    Remember as you dig in to this latest update to our weekly power rankings that this is all about performance, not potential and future outlook.

    If a team is winning, it is going to climb the rankings. If a team is losing, a slide is inevitable. The beauty of this exercise is that it's a fluid process that will continue to change throughout the year.

    Off we go.

            

    Statistics and analysis reflect action through Sunday's games. Records include Monday's results.

Nos. 30-26

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    Ryan McMahon
    Ryan McMahonDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    30. Colorado Rockies (4-12)

    Previous Rank: 29

    Move over, Pittsburgh. There's a new front-runner for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft. The Rockies have been even worse than expected in the early going with an ugly 1-8 stretch following a loss Sunday. They have a laundry list of issues, but at least Ryan McMahon (129 OPS+, 6 HR) has been a bright spot.

             

    29. Detroit Tigers (6-10)

    Previous Rank: 26

    After making some noise with a sweep of the Houston Astros to begin last week, the Tigers dropped four straight to the Oakland Athletics. That moved their run differential to an MLB-worst minus-28, which made it difficult not to drop them further. Success won't be measured by wins and losses as the Tigers work on developing their young talent and building toward the future.

                 

    28. Arizona Diamondbacks (6-10)

    Previous Rank: 23

    A solid start by $85 million man Madison Bumgarner on Sunday (5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) was a positive takeaway for the D-backs from last week, and they also split a four-game series with the Washington Nationals over the weekend. That said, this team is still a long way from looking like a contender.

                 

    27. Chicago Cubs (6-9)

    Previous Rank: 22

    The Cubs snapped to life with a 13-run outburst Saturday, but they have scored just 38 runs in their other 14 games. Meanwhile, the starting rotation ranks 29th in the majors with a 5.91 ERA after ace Kyle Hendricks was shelled for seven earned runs in four innings Sunday. This team is a mess, and each loss is one step closer to a July fire sale.

                 

    26. New York Yankees (5-10)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Yankees entered the week mired in a five-game losing streak after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, and the bright red flag that is the starting rotation behind Gerrit Cole continues to flap in the breeze. The 5-10 start marks New York's worst record through 15 games since 1997. Remember, power rankings are not about potential; they're about performance, and this team simply hasn't performed.

Nos. 25-21

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    Dane Dunning
    Dane DunningTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    25. Pittsburgh Pirates (7-9)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The Pirates escaped the first slide of this article in a shocking development, but they have been playing solid baseball since starting 1-6. Colin Moran (162 OPS+), Bryan Reynolds (142 OPS+), Phillip Evans (137 OPS+) and Adam Frazier (137 OPS+) are off to strong starts at the plate, while JT Brubaker (15.1 IP, 1.76 ERA, 18 K) is a name to know in the starting rotation.

              

    24. Texas Rangers (8-9)

    Previous Rank: 28

    A series win over the Rays and the precipitous slides of a few teams previously slotted ahead of them was enough for the Rangers to climb four spots in this week's rankings. Dane Dunning, the centerpiece of the Lance Lynn trade, threw six scoreless innings Saturday and now sports a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings through his first three starts. The 26-year-old is a dark-horse American League Rookie of the Year candidate.

               

    23. Baltimore Orioles (7-9)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The O's rallied from a 2-8 stretch to take two of three from the Rangers over the weekend. They closed last week with a 6-3 record on the road, compared to 1-6 at Camden Yards. It's a small sample size, but it's worth keeping an eye on that trend. After a slow week, Cedric Mullins is now hitting only .355/.412/.516 with an AL-high-tying 22 hits through 16 games.

               

    22. St. Louis Cardinals (8-8)

    Previous Rank: 14

    Series losses to the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies dropped the Cardinals below .500 and into the bottom third of these rankings. A shaky rotation has been the biggest issue. It ranks dead last with a 6.24 ERA, and St. Louis will need to sort things out behind ace Jack Flaherty if it hopes to avoid sliding any further.

               

    21. Washington Nationals (5-9)

    Previous Rank: 27

    After a COVID-19 delay and a 1-5 start, the Nationals seem to be finding their footing. They took two of three from the Cardinals and then split a four-game series with the D-backs, and the pitching staff recorded a pair of shutouts. A weekend series at the New York Mets will provide a good early barometer.

Nos. 20-16

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

    20. Toronto Blue Jays (7-9)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The Blue Jays are the lowest-ranked team with a positive run differential (plus-9), so there is some reason for optimism. The words "bust" and "overhyped" were comically slapped on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. by casual fans all offseason. Now he's hitting .389/.507/.667 with a 235 OPS+—and a valuable lesson in patience is being learned by those fans. He's still just 22 years old, folks.

              

    19. Miami Marlins (7-8)

    Previous Rank: 25

    Here come the Marlins. With a 5-2 week that included series wins over the Atlanta Braves and Giants, they are well on their way to erasing a forgettable 2-6 start. Rookie second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. has provided a much-needed spark at the plate, while the trio of Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers has been impressive atop the rotation. Don't forget, it's only a matter of time before Sixto Sanchez joins the fray.

                 

    18. Tampa Bay Rays (9-8)

    Previous Rank: 17

    After dropping three straight at home against the Rangers to fall to 5-8, the Rays rallied with a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium over the weekend. Considering all the injuries to the pitching staff and the early struggles by the rotation behind AL Cy Young Award contender Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay will certainly take hovering around the .500 mark while it works on getting back to full strength.

               

    17. Atlanta Braves (7-9)

    Previous Rank: 12

    Some key Braves have suffered injuries, including Opening Day starter Max Fried, fellow starter Drew Smyly, center fielder Cristian Pache and fourth outfielder Ender Inciarte. The early contributions of Huascar Ynoa (4 G, 3 GS, 3.94 ERA, 20 K, 16.0 IP) have been huge, and assuming the injury woes don't become a season-long struggle, Atlanta should be fine.

                  

    16. Minnesota Twins (6-8)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Twins were playing as well as any team before stumbling through a five-game losing streak. A COVID-19 issue led to the postponement of games Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but all tests came back negative Monday, and the team traveled to Oakland. The pause allowed the banged-up Byron Buxton time to recover from a strained hamstring, though Minnesota still has work to do to regain the momentum it had a week ago.

Nos. 15-11

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    Shane Bieber
    Shane BieberPaul Beaty/Associated Press

    15. Houston Astros (7-8)

    Previous Rank: 3

    A 1-5 week with series losses to the Tigers and Mariners dropped the Astros below .500 and sent them tumbling from the No. 3 spot in the rankings, which was tops among AL teams. With Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez sidelined under COVID-19 protocols, and several key members of the pitching staff on the injured list, Houston is far from full strength. An ugly week caused it to slide nonetheless.

               

    14. Cleveland (8-7)

    Previous Rank: 11

    With 13 strikeouts in eight innings Sunday, Shane Bieber became the first pitcher since 1893 to record at least 10 strikeouts in each of his first four starts in a season. That helped Cleveland avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds on the heels of a four-game split with the Chicago White Sox. It's tough to nail down this team's potential, but it should at least be relevant.

                

    13. Philadelphia Phillies (8-8)

    Previous Rank: 6

    Since sprinting out of the gate with a 5-1 start, the Phillies have looked mediocre. Their run differential slipped into the red with a 2-4 showing last week, though they took two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend. Center field has been a black hole in terms of offensive production, and 2016 No. 1 pick Mickey Moniak is now taking a crack at shoring up the position.

               

    12. Milwaukee Brewers (9-7)

    Previous Rank: 10

    The Brewers pitching staff is really good, and the starting rotation has been the best in baseball through 15 games with a 2.07 ERA and each player recording a sub-3.20 ERA. The lineup has been hit and miss, and part of that is because Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Kolten Wong are on the injured list. With a plus-14 run differential, Milwaukee ranks third in the National League and fifth in the majors.

                 

    11. Oakland Athletics (9-7)

    Previous Rank: 21

    No team started worse than the Athletics, who were 0-6 with a minus-37 run differential before they finally got in the win column. They have since gone 9-1 with a plus-26 run differential, climbing above .500 with a four-game sweep of the Tigers over the weekend. Lou Trivino has picked up the slack in the closer's role following Trevor Rosenthal's surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, and he'll be an X-factor.

Nos. 10-6

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    Evan Longoria
    Evan LongoriaJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    10. New York Mets (7-4)

    Previous Rank: 19

    Detractors were quick to call the Mets overhyped when they started 2-3 following a postponed series against the Nationals. With a 5-1 showing last week that included a sweep of the Phillies, a hush has fallen over those haters. Brandon Nimmo is hitting .447 with a .543 on-base percentage through 47 plate appearances, shouldering the offensive load while Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto have been slow out of the gate.

               

    9. Los Angeles Angels (8-6)

    Previous Rank: 9

    The trio of Mike Trout (258 OPS+, 4 HR, 10 RBI), Jared Walsh (215 OPS+, 4 HR, 13 RBI) and Shohei Ohtani (197 OPS+, 4 HR, 12 RBI) is a big reason why the Angels are off to a solid start, and the lineup will be even better once Anthony Rendon returns. The starting rotation remains the X-factor, though, and with a 5.26 ERA that ranks 25th in the majors, it could again be a drag on their hopes of contention.

                  

    8. Chicago White Sox (8-9)

    Previous Rank: 13

    Despite their losing record, the White Sox rank fourth in the majors and second in the AL with a plus-18 run differential. After taking both games of a double-header against the red-hot Red Sox on Sunday, they have earned their spot. Shortstop Tim Anderson went 6-for-14 with a home run in his first three games back after missing time with a strained hamstring.

                 

    7. Kansas City Royals (9-6)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Royals had some upside entering the year after a busy offseason that included under-the-radar additions Carlos Santana, Mike Minor, Michael A. Taylor and Andrew Benintendi, and they are exceeding expectations in the early going. Series wins over the Angels and Blue Jays last week vaulted them into the top 10, and they could be a serious thorn in the side of the rest of the AL Central.

                 

    6. San Francisco Giants (10-6)

    Previous Rank: 8

    Despite a weekend series loss to the streaking Marlins, the Giants maintained their spot inside the top 10 thanks to a series win over a good Reds team and a 3-3 week. Evan Longoria has found the fountain of youth with a 177 OPS+ and four home runs in his first 14 games, and with versatile veterans Wilmer Flores, Tommy La Stella and Donovan Solano on the roster, San Francisco should be able to keep him fresh.

Nos. 5-1

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    Sonny Gray
    Sonny GrayAaron Doster/Associated Press

    5. Seattle Mariners (11-6)

    Previous Rank: 16

    With Mitch Haniger (186 OPS+, 4 HR, 14 RBI) and Ty France (172 OPS+, 3 HR, 10 RBI) leading the way at the plate and a largely unknown bullpen sitting fifth in the majors with a 2.93 ERA, the Mariners are off to a sneaky good start. They face the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Astros and Angels over their next four series, so that will be a great test of whether they're for real.

               

    4. Cincinnati Reds (9-6)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Reds continue to impress despite early struggles by Opening Day starter Luis Castillo and presumptive closer Amir Garrett. The lineup has been firing on all cylinders, and Sonny Gray made his season debut Saturday after nursing a back injury. A three-game series at the Dodgers next week will be a major test, but Cincinnati looks like the real deal.

                

    3. San Diego Padres (10-8)

    Previous Rank: 2

    A four-game split with the Pirates prior to a weekend series loss to the division-rival Dodgers was enough to knock the Padres out of the No. 2 spot, but this is still one of baseball's elite teams. The return of Fernando Tatis Jr. from a shoulder injury that looked like it could sideline him for a long time was a huge boon, and once he hits his stride, the lineup will be that much more dangerous. The bullpen has a 2.53 ERA and an impressive 91 strikeouts in 74.2 innings.

               

    2. Boston Red Sox (11-6)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The Red Sox's week ended with a thud when they lost both ends of a double-header against the White Sox on Sunday, but that was preceded by a 10-1 stretch that made them look like a bona fide contender in the AL East. The offense is stacked, and the bullpen has been terrific, but the starting rotation remains a question mark behind Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez. Where will this team be a month from now?

               

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-4)

    Previous Rank: 1

    Another week, two more series wins for the best team in baseball. Get used to seeing the Dodgers in the No. 1 spot in these rankings, as there's a good chance they'll go wire-to-wire. The franchise record of 106 wins set by the 2019 team could be in jeopardy if they keep rolling like they have: with a plus-38 run differential that leads all of baseball.

Complete Rankings

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Carlos Rodon Tosses a No-Hitter

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    On Dec. 2, the White Sox non-tendered Carlos Rodon.

    At the time, it looked like an unceremonious end with the South Siders for the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft and a pitcher who at one point looked like a future ace. After a strong debut in 2015 and a solid first full season the following year, injuries took their toll, and he averaged just 10 starts and 58 innings over the next four years.

    Rodon took a pay cut to re-sign with the White Sox on a one-year, $3 million deal, but he still had to win his spot in the rotation with a strong spring training.

    After throwing five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in his season debut, he put together the best outing of his career Wednesday with a no-hitter against Cleveland.

    "Any interview with you guys, it's like: 'Oh, there's been some ups and downs. What's it like to go through that, go through some adversity?' It just feels good to finally sit here and tell you, 'I dominated today.' And it felt good," Rodon told reporters. "I've never really done that. I've never done it on this level at least. It feels good to say, 'I did it.'"

    An errant pitch that caught Roberto Perez on the top of the foot with one out in the ninth inning is all that separated Rodon from a perfect game, and he'll look to build on his early success with another outing against Cleveland on Tuesday.

Team of the Week

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    Ronald Acuna Jr.
    Ronald Acuna Jr.Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    C Salvador Perez, KC
    (11-for-28, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI)

    1B Joey Votto, CIN
    (10-for-23, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI)

    2B Jazz Chisholm Jr., MIA
    (9-for-20, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI)

    3B Justin Turner, LAD
    (9-for-20, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI)

    SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
    (10-for-25, 4 2B, 2 RBI)

    OF Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
    (10-for-26, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI)

    OF Mitch Haniger, SEA
    (12-for-28, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    OF Adam Duvall, MIA
    (8-for-27, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI)

    DH Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    (10-for-25, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI)

    SP Carlos Rodon, CWS
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 7 K)

    SP Shane Bieber, CLE
    (2 GS, 2 W, 17.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 24 K)

    SP Tyler Glasnow, TB
    (2 GS, 2 W, 12.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 21 K)

    SP Marcus Stroman, NYM
    (2 GS, 2 W, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

    SP Trevor Bauer, LAD
    (2 GS, W, ND, 13.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 16 K)

    RP Yimi Garcia, MIA
    (4 G, 2 W, 2/2 SV, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

Way-Too-Early Award Rankings

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    Jazz Chisholm Jr.
    Jazz Chisholm Jr.Associated Press

    AL MVP

    1. Mike Trout, LAA
    2. J.D. Martinez, BOS
    3. Byron Buxton, MIN

       

    NL MVP

    1. Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
    2. Justin Turner, LAD
    3. Brandon Nimmo, NYM

       

    AL Cy Young

    1. Tyler Glasnow, TB
    2. Lance Lynn, CWS
    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. Dane Dunning, TEX

       

    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Jazz Chisholm Jr., MIA
    2. Phillip Evans, PIT
    3. Dylan Carlson, STL

       

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