MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand at Quarter Mark of 2021 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2021

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand at Quarter Mark of 2021 Season

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    Paul Beaty/Associated Press

    We have reached the quarter mark of the 2021 MLB season, and parity still reigns supreme, as there is no clear-cut No. 1 team in baseball right now.

    In fact, as many as six different teams could make a case for being worthy of the No. 1 spot in this week's power rankings. Several others reside just outside that conversation, but they have the potential to join them with a strong performance this coming week.

    As you dig in to this latest update to our weekly power rankings, remember that this is all about performance rather than potential and future outlook.

    If a team is winning, it's 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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    Adam Frazier
    Adam FrazierCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    30. Minnesota Twins (13-26)

    Previous Rank: 27

    Entering play Monday, the Twins had only four wins in the month of May and an 8-23 record overall since jumping out to a strong 5-2 start. Despite having a lot of the same pieces they did while making three postseason appearances in the last four years, this is just not a very good team right now. It might be time to start considering who they could sell off in July.


    29. Colorado Rockies (15-27)

    Previous Rank: 29

    The Rockies strung together three straight wins for just the second time this season last week, but they still finished with a 3-4 record to remain firmly entrenched as the worst team in the National League. Rookie outfielder Yonathan Daza is quietly hitting .347/.370/.432 with six extra-base hits in 101 plate appearances, and he has long been viewed as the best defensive outfielder in the Colorado system.


    28. Detroit Tigers (15-26)

    Previous Rank: 30

    With a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals and a walk-off win against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, the Tigers are coming off arguably their most successful week of the season. In the process, they moved out of the AL Central cellar for the first time this month. An MLB-worst minus-69 run differential keeps them from climbing any higher, but it was a positive week.


    27. Pittsburgh Pirates (17-23)

    Previous Rank: 28

    The Pirates scored consecutive walk-off victories over the San Francisco Giants on Friday and Saturday, but they are still searching for their first series win since taking two of three from the Twins in late April. Adam Frazier is hitting .323/.390/.462 with 17 extra-base hits after another strong showing last week, and he could be one of the most sought-after trade chips of this year's deadline.


    26. Baltimore Orioles (17-23)

    Previous Rank: 26

    With an offense that averages only 3.85 runs per game and a starting rotation that ranks 28th in the majors with a 4.94 ERA, the Orioles are still very much in the early stages of rebuilding. A 12-14 record during the month of April could prove to be the high point of the season, and they have yet to post back-to-back wins in May.

Nos. 25-21

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    Kyle Gibson
    Kyle GibsonJohn Hefti/Associated Press

    25. Los Angeles Angels (18-22)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Angels fall in the rankings for the fifth straight week after peaking in the No. 9 spot. Shohei Ohtani is making a compelling early MVP case with a 143 OPS+ and 12 home runs offensively and a 2.10 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 25.2 innings on the mound. Unfortunately, the rotation as a whole once again looks like an insurmountable issue with a 5.38 ERA that ranks last in the majors.


    24. Texas Rangers (19-24)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Rangers had been trending upward in the rankings, reaching a peak position of No. 18 last week. After back-to-back series sweeps against the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros last week, they slid back down into the bottom third of the rankings. Veteran Kyle Gibson (9 GS, 2.32 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) is shaping up to be one of the prizes of the trade deadline.


    23. Arizona Diamondbacks (18-24)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The D-backs were 4-11 in the month of May after a weekend series loss to the Washington Nationals, and they are without some of their best players right now as Zac Gallen, Ketel Marte, Carson Kelly, Asdrubal Cabrera and Taylor Widener are all on the injured list. Get ready for a second-half youth movement if they continue to scuffle.


    22. Washington Nationals (16-21)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The Nationals went 3-1 to close out last week, snapping an ugly 1-7 stretch and moving out of the NL East cellar in the process. Erick Fedde turned in the best start of his career Sunday with seven shutout innings in a 3-0 victory, and Washington desperately needs more of that from its complementary players. This team has become far too reliant on the production of a handful of stars.


    21. Miami Marlins (18-22)

    Previous Rank: 22

    With a positive run differential on the year and a pitching staff that ranks seventh in the majors with a 3.55 ERA, the Marlins are a better team than their record might indicate. It's all about finding consistent production offensively, and the return of rookie standout Jazz Chisholm on Sunday is a huge addition to the top of the lineup.

Nos. 20-16

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    Jarred Kelenic
    Jarred KelenicElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    20. Kansas City Royals (18-22)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Royals lost 11 in a row before splitting a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, and that solid showing against the AL Central leader could be exactly what they needed to get back on track. They may have played over their heads a bit early on, but they're also better than what we've seen for most of May.


    19. Chicago Cubs (20-20)

    Previous Rank: 17

    Last week brought a few positive signs for the Cubs, including a series win over the Tigers on the road and a strong outing from ace Kyle Hendricks (8.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER), who has gotten off to a rocky start in 2021. However, after dropping a quick two-game series against Cleveland, they continue to battle for a .500 record. That could be as good as it gets for a team approaching a major crossroads.


    18. Atlanta Braves (19-22)

    Previous Rank: 14

    Aside from perhaps the Twins, there's a strong case to be made that the Braves have been the most disappointing team in baseball so far. They were swept by the Blue Jays at home to begin last week, but they managed to salvage things by taking two of three from the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend. A banged-up outfield and a shaky bullpen are among their early issues.


    17. Cincinnati Reds (19-20)

    Previous Rank: 20

    Since stumbling through a seven-game losing streak in late April, the Reds had gone 10-7 in their last 17 games entering play Monday. They took two of three from the Pirates and split a four-game set with the Rockies last week to claw back to .500 on the year, but they still have work to do before they're viewed as contenders. Ace Luis Castillo was shelled again Thursday when he allowed 10 hits and eight earned runs in 3.2 innings, and he has to figure things out for the Reds to make a push up the NL Central standings.


    16. Seattle Mariners (21-21)

    Previous Rank: 19

    It was an exciting week for Mariners fans, as top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert both joined the MLB roster. Gilbert allowed five hits and four earned runs in four innings in his MLB debut, while Kelenic is off to a 3-for-18 start with two doubles and a home run. With three wins in a row over Cleveland to close out the week, they are once again trending in the right direction.

Nos. 15-11

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    Robbie Ray
    Robbie RayChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    15. Philadelphia Phillies (21-20)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Phillies are banged up right now with Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto both considered day-to-day and Didi Gregorius potentially headed for the injured list with an elbow injury. But a 3-3 week that included a series win over the Nationals is enough for them to hold steady in the No. 15 spot.


    14. New York Mets (19-16)

    Previous Rank: 12

    Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil joined a long list of Mets players currently on the injured list last week, and the team is now relying on guys like Kevin Pillar, Jonathan Villar, Jose Peraza and Khalil Lee to fill bigger-than-expected roles. They had a seven-game winning streak snapped when they were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, and their depth will be put to the test in the week to come.


    13. Milwaukee Brewers (21-20)

    Previous Rank: 7

    Since a series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers vaulted them to No. 2 in our weekly power rankings two weeks ago, the Brewers have gone 4-9 with a minus-15 run differential. There are simply too many holes in the lineup right now, with Omar Narvaez (165 OPS+), Avisail Garcia (109 OPS+) and Lorenzo Cain (101 OPS+) the only regulars producing above a league-average clip. The offense has been held to two or fewer runs 15 times.


    12. Cleveland (21-18)

    Previous Rank: 11

    Cleveland was off to a 9-2 start in the month of May before losing three in a row to the Mariners over the weekend, including a rare dud from Shane Bieber (4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 7 K) on Sunday. The pitching staff ranks eighth in the majors with a 3.56 ERA, but the offense has been inconsistent at best. Someone besides Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes needs to emerge as a consistent contributor.


    11. Toronto Blue Jays (22-17)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The Blue Jays are 10-5 with a plus-19 run differential in May, and they went 5-1 last week with a sweep of the Braves and a weekend series win over the Phillies. Slowly but surely, the pieces are falling into place on the pitching staff, with Hyun Jin Ryu rounding into ace form and Robbie Ray emerging as a solid No. 2 option. They just need to get George Springer and several of their key bullpen arms back healthy.

Nos. 10-6

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    Aaron Judge
    Aaron JudgeTerrance Williams/Associated Press

    10. Tampa Bay Rays (23-19)

    Previous Rank: 13

    After bottoming out in the No. 20 spot in these rankings two weeks ago, the Rays have reclaimed a spot in the top 10 for the first time since the second week of the season. They are currently working on a four-game winning streak and have a 10-5 record with a plus-31 run differential since the calendar has flipped to May. Ji-Man Choi, Francisco Mejia and Diego Castillo all returned from the injured list last week.


    9. Los Angeles Dodgers (23-18)

    Previous Rank: 10

    After five straight series losses, the Dodgers finally returned to the right side of the ledger last week with a two-game sweep of the Mariners and a weekend series win over the Marlins. Albert Pujols and Yoshi Tsutsugo were added to the bench in a pair of transactions, but the roster was also dealt a significant blow when Corey Seager suffered a fractured hand. There's an All-Star team worth of talent on the Dodgers injured list right now.


    8. St. Louis Cardinals (23-18)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Cardinals were 15-5 in their last 20 games when they rolled into Petco Park for a three-game series with the Padres this past weekend, and another series win might have given them a strong case for the No. 1 spot in these rankings. Instead, they were outscored 23-10 while being swept, which knocked them out of the top five. This still looks like the best team in the NL Central right now, and they'll get an in-house boost this week with Miles Mikolas expected to make his 2021 debut.


    7. New York Yankees (22-19)

    Previous Rank: 8

    Since briefly occupying the No. 26 spot in these rankings a few weeks ago, the Yankees have been steadily climbing. A 4-2 week that included series wins over the Rays and Orioles has them nipping at the heels of the rival Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings. Aaron Judge had four home runs in his last three games entering play on Monday.


    6. Boston Red Sox (25-17)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Red Sox have a 16-14 record since sprinting out of the gates to a 9-3 start, and their lead over the rest of the AL East continues to shrink with each passing week. A big three-game series on the road against a hot Blue Jays team awaits this coming week, which will be a big test of their division supremacy. The trio of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers can't be expected to do it all offensively.

Nos. 5-1

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    Buster Posey
    Buster PoseyGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    5. Houston Astros (24-17)

    Previous Rank: 9

    After outscoring the Angels and Rangers by a staggering 23 runs during a 6-1 week, the Astros now own the second-best run differential (+56) in baseball. Myles Straw is struggling to produce as the everyday center fielder and the bullpen could use a few proven arms, but this is otherwise a well-balanced team built to contend. With a 19-8 record against the AL West, they are ready to make some noise in Oakland this week.


    4. San Diego Padres (25-17)

    Previous Rank: 6

    A three-game sweep of the Cardinalsthe No. 3 team in last week's rankingswas enough for the Padres to rejoin the top five after they took two of three from the Rockies earlier in the week. With an MLB-leading 2.86 team ERA and an offense that has continued to produce despite being without several big names, this team is worthy of being mentioned among the best in baseball right now.


    3. Chicago White Sox (25-15)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Astros have closed the gap, but the White Sox still lead the majors with a plus-61 run differential. After a series sweep of the Twins and a four-game split with the Royals, they move up two spots to No. 3 overall in this week's rankings. Billy Hamilton went 4-for-13 with two extra-base hits and two steals last week, and he'll be counted on to hold down the fort in center field for the time being with Luis Robert sidelined.


    2. San Francisco Giants (25-16)

    Previous Rank: 2

    For all that's been made of how good the Giants starting rotation has been this year, the veteran foursome of Buster Posey (223 OPS+, 8 HR, 12 RBI), Brandon Crawford (142 OPS+, 9 HR, 21 RBI), Brandon Belt (140 OPS+, 8 HR, 21 RBI) and Evan Longoria (117 OPS+, 4 HR, 14 RBI) also deserves a ton of credit for carrying the offense after showing varying levels of diminished production over the past few years. Can they keep it up all season?


    1. Oakland Athletics (25-17)

    Previous Rank: 1

    After climbing into the No. 1 slot in these rankings for the first time last week, the Athletics took care of business with series wins over the Red Sox and Twins to hold onto the top spot. Since finally winning their first game of the season on April 7, the A's lead the majors with a 25-11 record and have a plus-29 run differential.

Complete Rankings

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    Paul Beaty/Associated Press

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Corbin Burnes' Record-Setting Streak Ends

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    Corbin Burnes' rise from an 8.82 ERA in 49 innings of work in 2019 to one of the most overpowering starters in baseball has given the Milwaukee Brewers a second bona fide ace alongside All-Star Brandon Woodruff.

    On Thursday, Burnes ran his 2021 strikeout total to 58 before he finally issued his first walk of the season, setting a new MLB record for strikeouts to start a season before issuing a walk. The record previously belonged to Kenley Jansen with 51, while Adam Wainwright held the record for a starter at 35.

    "We're talking about baseball history," Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters. "We're talking about rare air and special records. It's an amazing accomplishment."

    Despite missing two weeks with an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive test, Burnes looked sharp against the St. Louis Cardinals aside from his lone walk to Tommy Edman. He allowed five hits and one earned run while striking out nine in five innings.

    Expect the 26-year-old to be squarely in the NL Cy Young conversation all season.

Team of the Week

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    Aaron Judge
    Aaron JudgeFrank Franklin II/Associated Press

    C Salvador Perez, KC
    (8-for-25, 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI)

    1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    (9-for-25, 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI)

    2B Adam Frazier, PIT
    (12-for-28, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI)

    3B Josh Fuentes, COL
    (11-for-22, 3 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI)

    SS Trea Turner, WAS
    (11-for-26, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Aaron Judge, NYY
    (12-for-21, 2B, 5 HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Kyle Tucker, HOU
    (10-for-25, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI)

    OF Mitch Haniger, SEA
    (7-for-21, 2 2B, 4 HR, 5 RBI)

    DH Trea Mancini, BAL
    (7-for-21, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI)

    SP Freddy Peralta, MIL
    (2 GS, W, ND, 13.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 16 K)

    SP Gerrit Cole, NYY
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K)

    SP Trevor Bauer, LAD
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

    SP Lance McCullers Jr., HOU
    (2 GS, W, ND, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 14 K)

    SP Luke Weaver, ARI
    (2 GS, W, ND, 10.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

    RP Kenley Jansen, LAD
    (2 G, 2/2 SV, 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

Quarter Mark Award Rankings

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    Trevor Rogers
    Trevor RogersRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    AL MVP

    1. Mike Trout, LAA
    2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    3. J.D. Martinez, BOS


    NL MVP

    1. Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
    2. Kris Bryant, CHC
    3. Jesse Winker, CIN


    AL Cy Young

    1. Gerrit Cole, NYY
    2. John Means, BAL
    3. Tyler Glasnow, TB


    NL Cy Young

    1. Jacob deGrom, NYM
    2. Brandon Woodruff, MIL
    3. Kevin Gausman, SF


    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Yermin Mercedes, CWS
    2. Adolis Garcia, TEX
    3. Michael Kopech, CWS


    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Trevor Rogers, MIA
    2. Ryan Weathers, SD
    3. Jazz Chisholm, MIA


    Stats courtesy of and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.