MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Before 2021 Trade Deadline

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2021

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Before 2021 Trade Deadline

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The 2021 MLB trade deadline is fast approaching.

    Contending teams will have until 4 p.m. ET Friday to put the finishing touches on their rosters for the postseason push, which means teams on the bubble will need to decide among buying, selling and standing pat.

    Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo and more or less the entire Chicago Cubs roster are among the biggest pieces who could be moved.

    As you dig into this latest update, remember that it is all about performance rather than potential and future outlook.

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

             

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

Nos. 30-26

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    Matt Harvey
    Matt HarveyNick Wass/Associated Press

    30. Arizona Diamondbacks (31-70)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The D-backs are 5-2 in their last seven games, including a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates that stands as one of their highlights of the season. Right-hander Merrill Kelly threw six strong innings in a win Saturday, and with a 3.89 FIP in 123 innings and a reasonable $5.3 million club option for 2022, he is an under-the-radar trade candidate.

               

    29. Texas Rangers (35-65)

    Previous Rank: 27

    Mired in a 12-game losing streak and poised to sell at the deadline, the Rangers could soon have a compelling case for the No. 30 spot. Right fielder Joey Gallo, starter Kyle Gibson and closer Ian Kennedy are the leading candidates to be dealt.

                

    28. Baltimore Orioles (34-64)

    Previous Rank: 28

    The Orioles salvaged a split in this year's Beltway Series with a three-game home sweep of the Washington Nationals over the weekend. Don't look now, but Matt Harvey is pitching extremely well with strong starts July 18 (W, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R) and Saturday (W, 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R). Will that be enough to generate trade interest?

             

    27. Pittsburgh Pirates (38-61)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The visiting Pirates took two of three from the MLB-best San Francisco Giants, but only after they were swept by the lowly Diamondbacks. Second baseman Adam Frazier was the first domino to fall before what could be a busy trade deadline when he was shipped to the San Diego Padres. Closer Richard Rodriguez and starter Tyler Anderson could be the next to go.

               

    26. Minnesota Twins (43-58)

    Previous Rank: 26

    Buster Olney of ESPN reported earlier this month that the Twins were unlikely to trade anyone who is controllable beyond 2021. Slugger Nelson Cruz was headed for free agency, so trading him made sense, and shortstop Andrelton Simmons would also fit the bill. The big question is how the team will handle Byron Buxton after he rejected an extension offer.

Nos. 25-21

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    Jonathan Schoop
    Jonathan SchoopColin E. Braley/Associated Press

    25. Colorado Rockies (43-57)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The Rockies fell to 3-10 against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a series loss over the weekend, and all indications are they will sell at the deadline. Shortstop Trevor Story is their most high-profile trade piece, while first baseman C.J. Cron, relievers Mychal Givens and Daniel Bard and starter German Marquez could also be discussed.

              

    24. Kansas City Royals (43-55)

    Previous Rank: 29

    The Royals went 5-0 last week with two wins over the Milwaukee Brewers and a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers. Top prospect Daniel Lynch threw eight scoreless innings Sunday in his return to the MLB roster after struggling to a 15.75 ERA over three starts in May, and the youth movement will continue in the second half.

            

    23. Miami Marlins (43-57)

    Previous Rank: 23

    With a 4-7 record and minus-16 run differential since the All-Star break, the Marlins have failed to make the pre-deadline push they needed to justify trying to contend. That likely means center fielder Starling Marte will be sent packing, while first baseman Jesus Aguilar and reliever Yimi Garcia should also be of interest to contenders.

                            

    22. Washington Nationals (45-54)

    Previous Rank: 22

    After climbing back into the playoff picture with a 19-9 June, the Nationals have stumbled through a 5-15 July. They were swept at the Orioles over the weekend to fall to eight games back in the NL East and 11 back in the wild-card race. Contenders have surely circled Max Scherzer.

              

    21. Detroit Tigers (47-55)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Tigers had a seven-game winning streak snapped when they were swept at the Royals over the weekend, but they are still 11-9 with a plus-12 run differential in July. Their strong play of late could be reason enough for the young, rebuilding club to stand pat. Otherwise, veteran Jonathan Schoop appears to be their most likely trade candidate.

Nos. 20-16

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    Craig Kimbrel
    Craig KimbrelRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    20. Chicago Cubs (50-51)

    Previous Rank: 20

    What will the Cubs look like next week? They lost three of four to the rival St. Louis Cardinals last week, and it's only a matter of time before some of their longtime core pieces are elsewhere. Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel and Zach Davies are all candidates to be traded.

              

    19. Atlanta Braves (49-51)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Braves continued to tread water with a two-game split with the San Diego Padres and a four-game split with the Philadelphia Phillies last week. The additions of Joc Pederson and Stephen Vogt earlier this month made it clear they intend to contend, but they have not made any progress since the All-Star break. If they decide to pivot, veteran Charlie Morton would be of interest to pitching-needy clubs.

                

    18. St. Louis Cardinals (50-50)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The Cardinals have not been better than one game above .500 since June 16, but they have also been no worse than four games below .500 during that stretch. Without any short-term trade chips, they will likely stand pat and hope to make a wild-card push down the stretch.

             

    17. Los Angeles Angels (50-49)

    Previous Rank: 17

    Pitching continues to be the X-factor for the Angels. Veteran Alex Cobb and left-hander Patrick Sandoval have been throwing the ball well alongside ace Shohei Ohtani, and Jaime Barria allowed only four hits and two earned runs in seven innings Sunday after two months at Triple-A. With Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon still on the shelf, the Angels have one of the tougher buy vs. sell decisions.

            

    16. Cleveland (49-48)

    Previous Rank: 16

    Who's ready for the Cleveland Guardians? While news of the team's new nickname provided some excitement last week, the club's on-field performance continues to be lacking as it's gone 7-13 with a minus-25 run differential in July to fall nine games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Will anyone be willing to meet an "extremely high" asking price for Jose Ramirez at the deadline?

Nos. 15-11

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

    15. Philadelphia Phillies (50-49)

    Previous Rank: 15

    President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the Phillies will be "aggressive" at the trade deadline, and while they have hovered around .500 for most of the year, they were just four games back in the NL East entering Monday. The relief corps has a 4.73 ERA and 23 blown saves in 46 chances, so bullpen help will be atop the shopping list.

             

    14. Toronto Blue Jays (49-47)

    Previous Rank: 10

    The Blue Jays came out of the All-Star break with a convincing sweep of the Rangers before suffering a pair of series losses to the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets last week. They still rank fourth in the American League with a plus-86 run differential, and the offense is firing on all cylinders. But the rotation could use another frontline arm alongside Robbie Ray and Hyun Jin Ryu, and the bullpen needs help as well.

              

    13. New York Yankees (51-47)

    Previous Rank: 14

    Three losses in four games against the rival Red Sox over the weekend, including blowing a 4-0 lead and no-hitter in a 5-4 loss Sunday, might have been the final nail in the coffin for the 2021 Yankees. This team is simply not good enough to justify mortgaging long-term assets for short-term help, so it will likely be up to the in-house talent to lead any late-season push.

          

    12. Cincinnati Reds (51-49)

    Previous Rank: 13

    The Reds came away with a 3-3 split last week, dropping two of three to the Mets before picking up a series win over the Cardinals. Losing Nick Castellanos to a fractured right wrist earlier this month was a major blow, but the back end of the starting rotation and the bullpen will decide if they can contend for a postseason berth.

              

    11. Oakland Athletics (56-45)

    Previous Rank: 9

    Three straight losses at the Mariners over the weekend trimmed the Athletics' lead to just 1.5 games over the upstart M's for second place in the AL West. The starting rotation has been brilliant with a 3.69 ERA that ranks third in the American League, but the A's could use another late-inning bullpen arm and some sort of offensive spark.

Nos. 10-6

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    Josiah Gray
    Josiah GrayMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    10. New York Mets (53-45)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Mets maintained their hold atop the NL East with series wins over the Reds and Blue Jays last week. They also added veteran left-hander Rich Hill in a trade with the Rays. With Carlos Carrasco finally set to make his team debut and Jacob deGrom throwing off a mound Sunday while working his way back from a strained forearm, things are looking up for the rotation.

            

    9. Seattle Mariners (55-46)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Mariners were 23-11 since June 12 entering play Monday, good for the second-best record in baseball during that span. With a chance to snap a playoff drought that stretches back to 2001, they will look to buy, though not in a way that will alter their long-term outlook. An upgrade at second base and another quality starter could be enough to get them over the hump.

          

    8. San Diego Padres (58-44)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The addition of versatile All-Star Adam Frazier gave the Padres a lot of options. They could shift Jake Cronenworth to first base in place of the underperforming Eric Hosmer and use Frazier at second base, or they could slot Frazier at a corner outfield spot. Either way, the National League hits leader (125) was a big addition to an already loaded lineup. Another setup reliever could be the final piece of the puzzle.

            

    7. Chicago White Sox (59-41)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The White Sox have a 21-28 record against teams that are over .500, including two losses in three games at the Brewers over the weekend, so questions remain about their ability to beat good teams. However, with Eloy Jimenez back in action and Luis Robert on the comeback trail, the South Siders will get in-house reinforcements who will trump what most other contenders accomplish at the deadline.

               

    6. Los Angeles Dodgers (61-40)

    Previous Rank: 2

    The Dodgers are 8-9 since July 4, and they dropped three of four to the division-leading Giants at home last week in what was a golden opportunity to seize the No. 1 spot in these rankings. Top prospect Josiah Gray racked up 13 strikeouts in eight innings in his first two MLB appearances, but he also allowed seven hits, five walks and six earned runs. L.A. will be a major player on the pitching market.

Nos. 5-1

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    Rowdy Tellez
    Rowdy TellezAaron Gash/Associated Press

    5. Milwaukee Brewers (58-42)

    Previous Rank: 6

    The Brewers outscored the White Sox 14-5 in a weekend series win, and they will face the last-place Pirates in nine of their next 19 games. The additions of Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez have helped transform the offense, but Milwaukee could still look to add another bat at the deadline as the clear favorite to win the NL Central.

               

    4. Houston Astros (61-40)

    Previous Rank: 8

    The Astros are 34-20 at home after taking two of three from Cleveland before sweeping the Rangers last week. An upgrade in center field and a bullpen arm or two might be enough to make them the favorites to win the American League, especially with injured third baseman Alex Bregman having begun a rehab assignment Monday.

              

    3. Boston Red Sox (62-39)

    Previous Rank: 5

    After taking three of four from the Yankees over the weekend, the Red Sox are 10-3 against their rivals and 27-13 against the AL East. Chris Sale made his second rehab start for Double-A Portland on Sunday and struck out nine hitters in 3.2 innings, though he did allow six hits, a walk and two earned runs. He will take the mound for Triple-A Worcester on Saturday, and he could be the single biggest X-factor in baseball for the stretch run.

              

    2. Tampa Bay Rays (60-40)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Rays blurred the line between buyer and seller last week, acquiring slugger Nelson Cruz from the Twins while also sending veteran left-hander Rich Hill to the Mets. They approach things differently than most contenders because of their small-market restrictions, but after a 5-2 week with series wins over Baltimore and Cleveland, they are no-doubt contenders and arguably the team to beat in the AL.

            

    1. San Francisco Giants (62-37)

    Previous Rank: 1

    Will the Giants mortgage some of their deep farm system to make short-term upgrades? This team has arrived as a serious contender sooner than expected, and it is not going to abandon its plans to build a sustainable future, but San Francisco is also too good to not actively seek upgrades. It's going to be an interesting deadline for the NL West leader.

Complete Rankings

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Fernando Tatis Jr. Fastest Ever to 50 HR and 50 SB

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Fernando Tatis Jr. entered play Monday leading the National League in home runs (30) and steals (23), a feat that has been accomplished just three times in the modern era, according to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com.

    Tatis' most recent stolen base against the Miami Marlins on Thursday was the 50th of his career, and he became the fastest player in history to tally 50 home runs and 50 steals.

    Here's a look at the five fastest to reach that milestone, courtesy of MLB Network:

    • Fernando Tatis Jr.: 223 games
    • Ronald Acuna Jr.: 251 games
    • Eric Davis: 258 games
    • Mike Trout: 266 games
    • Darryl Strawberry: 276 games

    Will he be the first player to record a 50-50 season?

    That remains to be seen, but for now, he can hang his hat on being baseball's most productive power-speed threat ever just 226 games into his career.

Team of the Week

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    Patrick Sandoval
    Patrick SandovalJim Mone/Associated Press

    C Daulton Varsho, ARI
    (9-for-19, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI)

    1B Pete Alonso, NYM
    (10-for-27, 5 HR, 10 RBI)

    2B Jorge Polanco, MIN
    (10-for-25, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

    3B Austin Riley, ATL
    (7-for-21, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

    SS Chris Taylor, LAD
    (12-for-29, 2 2B, 5 HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Harrison Bader, STL
    (13-for-27, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

    OF Enrique Hernandez, BOS
    (10-for-25, 4 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI)

    OF Randy Arozarena, TB
    (10-for-27, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI)

    DH Trey Mancini, BAL
    (10-for-24, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI)

    SP Patrick Sandoval, LAA
    (1 GS, W, 8.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K)

    SP Marcus Stroman, NYM
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K)

    SP Daniel Lynch, KC
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)

    SP Touki Toussaint, ATL
    (2 GS, W, L, 13.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 15 K)

    SP Lance Lynn, CWS
    (2 GS, W, ND, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

    RP Mark Melancon, SD
    (3 G, 3/3 SV, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)

Award Rankings

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    Lance Lynn
    Lance LynnCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    AL MVP

    1. Shohei Ohtani, LAA
    2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    3. Matt Olson, OAK

          

    NL MVP

    1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
    2. Max Muncy, LAD
    3. Trea Turner, WAS

         

    AL Cy Young

    1. Lance Lynn, CWS
    2. Carlos Rodon, CWS
    3. Kyle Gibson, TEX

              

    NL Cy Young

    1. Jacob deGrom, NYM
    2. Brandon Woodruff, MIL
    3. Corbin Burnes, MIL

           

    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Adolis Garcia, TEX
    2. Luis Garcia, HOU
    3. Randy Arozarena, TB

            

    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Trevor Rogers, MIA
    2. Ian Anderson, ATL
    3. Jonathan India, CIN

            

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

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