MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 4 Weeks Before 2021 Playoffs

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2021

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 4 Weeks Before 2021 Playoffs

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    The final month of the 2021 MLB season is upon us.

    There were still 17 teams within five games of a postseason spot entering play on Monday, and outside of a couple division leaders running away with things, there is a lot that will need to be sorted out before the playoff picture takes shape.

    For now, the shuffling continues in our weekly power rankings.

    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. Check out last week's power rankings here.

Nos. 30-26

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    David Bednar
    David BednarIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    30. Arizona Diamondbacks (45-93)

    Previous Rank: 28

    With eight losses in their last nine games, the D-backs have once again fallen to the No. 30 spot in our rankings. On a positive note, Luke Weaver returned to the mound on Wednesday after missing three-and-a-half months with a rotator cuff strain. He allowed four hits and one earned run in six strong innings to pick up the win.

                                

    29. Pittsburgh Pirates (49-89)

    Previous Rank: 27

    The Pirates had a rough go of it in the Windy City last week, suffering three-game sweeps to the White Sox and Cubs before leaving town. Reliever David Bednar has quietly posted a 0.70 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 10.9 K/9 with six holds and two saves in 22 appearances since the beginning of July. The 26-year-old was acquired in the Joe Musgrove trade during the offseason.

                     

    28. Baltimore Orioles (43-93)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The Orioles took two of three from the New York Yankees on the road over the weekend, and they still have a chance to win the season series with a 7-9 record and three games left to go later this month. Former Los Angeles Angels top prospect Chris Ellis has been a nice find since he was claimed off waivers in late August, posting a 2.84 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 12.2 innings over three starts in an Orioles uniform.

                

    27. Texas Rangers (49-88)

    Previous Rank: 29

    The Rangers snapped a string of four straight series losses by taking two of three from the Colorado Rockies last week, and they still have a chance to shake things up in the AL West with three games left against the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros. Recent call-ups A.J. Alexy (1 GS, 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA) and Glenn Otto (2 GS, 9.2 IP, 1.86 ERA) are auditioning for 2022 rotation spots.

                         

    26. Washington Nationals (57-80)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Nationals are an NL-worst 8-25 since the trade deadline, but their massive fire sale has opened the door for some unexpected contributors. Outfielder Lane Thomas, who was acquired in the deal that sent Jon Lester to the St. Louis Cardinals, has taken over as the everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter. The 26-year-old is hitting .328/.403/.567 with five doubles and three home runs in 77 plate appearances with the Nats.

Nos. 25-21

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    Jorge Polanco
    Jorge PolancoDouglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

    25. Miami Marlins (57-80)

    Previous Rank: 24

    With three series wins in their last four, including taking two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend, the Marlins are poised to be a thorn in the side of contenders down the stretch. Shortstop Miguel Rojas is hitting .533/.563/.800 with three multi-hit games since the calendar flipped to September.

                    

    24. Minnesota Twins (60-77)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Twins scuffled last week with series losses to the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays, but second baseman Jorge Polanco just keeps raking. The 28-year-old is hitting .322/.368/.633 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI in 45 games since the All-Star break, and the 4.7 WAR he has compiled on the year is already a career high.

                     

    23. Colorado Rockies (63-75)

    Previous Rank: 22

    With a series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers two weeks ago and a four-game split with the Atlanta Braves last week, the Rockies are playing solid baseball right now. In fact, they are a .500 team with a plus-10 run differential since the All-Star break. That said, they also dropped two of three to the Texas Rangers last week.

                

    22. Chicago Cubs (64-75)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The Cubs went 6-0 last week to match their longest winning streak of the season, picking up series wins over the Twins and Pirates. First baseman Frank Schwindel continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the second half, and after another big week at the plate, he's now hitting .370/.419/.706 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 129 plate appearances.

                         

    21. Kansas City Royals (62-75)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The Royals are 25-22 since the All-Star break, and they took two of three from the first-place Chicago White Sox over the weekend. That included a 6-0 shutout on Sunday behind seven scoreless innings from Brady Singer and home run No. 41 for Salvador Perez.

Nos. 20-16

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    Jose Suarez
    Jose SuarezKatelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

    20. Detroit Tigers (65-74)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Tigers' chances of finishing with a winning record have faded since they were just three games under .500 in the middle of August, but there are still plenty of positive takeaways from this season. Rookie pitchers Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal look the part of long-term rotation staples, while Eric Haase and Akil Baddoo have come out of nowhere with strong offensive seasons.

                                

    19. Los Angeles Angels (68-70)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The Angels picked up series wins over the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers last week to pull within a game of a .500 record. However, it's too little, too late with a 10-game deficit and six teams ahead of them in the AL wild-card standings. Left-hander Jose Suarez threw the first complete game of his career on Saturday with a five-hitter against the Texas Rangers.

                     

    18. Cleveland (68-67)

    Previous Rank: 17

    With a 13-8 record in its last 21 games, Cleveland is back over the .500 mark but still 8.5 games back in the wild-card race. Aaron Civale is slated to return on Tuesday from a finger injury that has sidelined him since June, and this team still has a chance to finish the season on a high note to build some momentum going into next year.

                

    17. St. Louis Cardinals (69-67)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Cardinals lost a heartbreaker to the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday and went 3-3 overall last week to continue treading water on the outskirts of the wild-card picture. It looked like this team was hitting its stride with a six-game winning streak in the middle of August, but an 8-10 record since has kept it from making up any ground.

                         

    16. New York Mets (69-69)

    Previous Rank: 18

    With seven wins in their last eight games beating up on the Nationals and Marlins, the Mets are once again alive in the NL East race. A three-game series at home against the New York Yankees this coming weekend is part of a fairly difficult remaining schedule that also includes the Cardinals, Phillies, Red Sox, Brewers and Braves.

Nos. 15-11

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    Adam Duvall
    Adam DuvallIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    15. Philadelphia Phillies (71-66)

    Previous Rank: 13

    The Phillies won six in a row before dropping two of three to the Miami Marlins over the weekend, and they entered play on Monday just two games back in the NL East standings. Ranger Suarez has a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings since joining the starting rotation at the beginning of August, but he was pulled early from his most recent start with triceps tightness.

                                

    14. Cincinnati Reds (73-66)

    Previous Rank: 10

    With a 4-8 record over the last two weeks, the Reds enter play on Monday a half-game behind the San Diego Padres for the second NL wild-card spot. Slugger Jesse Winker is closing in on a rehab assignment, while Nick Castellanos is once again swinging a hot bat. Can the bullpen hold up down the stretch?

                     

    13. Oakland Athletics (74-63)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Athletics have stumbled to a 7-15 record in their last 22 games, and they were swept over the weekend by a fellow wild-card contender in the Toronto Blue Jays. Their final 13 games are all against the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, the two teams they are currently chasing in the AL West standings.

                

    12. San Diego Padres (73-64)

    Previous Rank: 16

    With an ugly month of August in the rearview, the Padres are once again showing signs of life after series wins over the Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros last week. They have 16 games remaining against the San Francisco Giants (10) and Los Angeles Dodgers (6), so the road ahead is not an easy one, but they seem to be back on track.

                         

    11. Atlanta Braves (72-64)

    Previous Rank: 8

    After getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers and splitting a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies, the Braves enter the week clinging to a narrow two-game lead in the NL East standings. Veteran Charlie Morton agreed to a one-year, $20 million extension on Monday that also includes a $20 million club option for 2023.

Nos. 10-6

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    Kyle Schwarber
    Kyle SchwarberJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    10. Toronto Blue Jays (74-62)

    Previous Rank: 14

    The Blue Jays swept the Oakland Athletics over the weekend to improve to 7-1 in their last eight games, and they are still very much alive in the wild-card race, despite the fact that they are fourth in their own division. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player in Blue Jays history with a 40-homer season when he went deep on Monday afternoon.

                     

    9. Seattle Mariners (75-63)

    Previous Rank: 12

    With series wins over the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks last week, the Mariners improved to 16-7 in their last 23 games. They still have work to do in the wild-card race, but there is some legitimate hope that the 20-year postseason drought will be snapped. The contributions of Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider at the back of the bullpen can't be understated.

                 

    8. Boston Red Sox (79-61)

    Previous Rank: 9

    After splitting a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays and taking two of three from Cleveland, the Red Sox remain staked to a wild-card spot. Kyle Schwarber has taken over as the team's primary leadoff hitter, and he's batting .319/.449/.569 with 10 extra-base hits and 15 runs scored in 20 games since he was acquired at the deadline.

                

    7. New York Yankees (78-59)

    Previous Rank: 4

    Since their 13-game winning streak was snapped on Aug. 28, the Yankees have gone 2-6 in their last eight games, including a series loss to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. It's time to pull the plug on the Andrew Heaney bullpen experiment after he was knocked around again on Sunday, and that multi-inning bullpen spot could be filled by Luis Gil.

                        

    6. Chicago White Sox (79-58)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The White Sox remain comfortably atop the AL Central standings, but they will be without Lance Lynn (knee inflammation) and Lucas Giolito (strained hamstring) for the foreseeable future. Shortstop Tim Anderson is also on the shelf with a hamstring injury, and they'll need to get healthy down the stretch to live up to their potential.

Nos. 5-1

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    Adrian Houser
    Adrian HouserJohn Fisher/Getty Images

    5. Houston Astros (80-57)

    Previous Rank: 6

    Once they're finished with their current three-game series against the Mariners, the Astros' next 14 games will be against the Angels, Rangers and Diamondbacks. That will be a golden opportunity for them to create some breathing room atop the AL West standings, and they could emerge as the team to beat in the American League.

           

    4. Tampa Bay Rays (87-51)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Rays split a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox and took two of three from the Minnesota Twins last week to remain comfortably atop the AL East standings. Shortstop Wander Franco is now hitting .280/.341/.461 with 25 extra-base hits and a 127 OPS+ in 255 plate appearances as he has quickly settled in to life in the big leagues.

                     

    3. Milwaukee Brewers (84-55)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Brewers made a statement last week when they took three of four from the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park, and they have the best record in the National League since the All-Star break. Adrian Houser made a strong case for being the No. 4 starter in the postseason when he tossed his first shutout on Saturday.

                

    2. Los Angeles Dodgers (87-51)

    Previous Rank: 2

    The Dodgers would have moved into the No. 1 spot with a series win over the Giants, but instead they dropped two of three to their rivals over the weekend. Speedy Trea Turner (.31984) enters play on Monday leading Nick Castellanos (.31982) by the narrowest of margins in the NL batting title race.

                         

    1. San Francisco Giants (88-50)

    Previous Rank: 1

    The Giants defended their standing as baseball's best team with a weekend series win over the rival Dodgers, but they've stumbled a bit of late with a 4-6 record in their last 10 games. The relief corps has posted an NL-best 3.08 ERA on the year, and that group will need to continue to carry the load down the stretch and on into October.

Complete Rankings

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: A Pinch-Hit, Walk-Off, Grand Slam for Dan Vogelbach

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    With the Milwaukee Brewers trailing 5-2 with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, burly slugger Dan Vogelbach was called on to pinch hit with the bases loaded against St. Louis Cardinals closer Alex Reyes, who had just entered the game.

    He got a 1-0 fastball out over the plate and didn't miss it, clearing the wall in right field and giving the Brewers the win and the series victory on Sunday.

    "Vogelbach joined MLB's 'ultimate slam' club with his clutch blast, becoming the 28th player on record to hit a bases-loaded, walk-off homer when his team enters its final at-bat trailing by three runs," wrote Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

    Vogelbach missed most of the summer recovering from a hamstring injury. In his absence, the club acquired Rowdy Tellez to serve as the primary first baseman, pushing Vogelbach to a bench role. Still, he was ready when called upon in a big spot.

    "I enjoy being in those situations, whether I fail or whether I succeed," Vogelbach told reporters. "As a competitor, you always want to be in those situations and be the guy that steps up to the plate in that situation. I'm just happy that I was able to come through for the guys who grinded all game. It seemed like we were playing from behind the whole time."

Team of the Week

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    Frank Schwindel
    Frank SchwindelNuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

    C Salvador Perez, KC
    (6-for-22, 3 HR, 8 RBI)

    1B Frank Schwindel, CHC
    (12-for-26, 5 HR, 12 RBI)

    2B Javier Baez, NYM
    (8-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI)

    3B Jeimer Candelario, DET
    (10-for-27, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

    SS Bo Bichette, TOR
    (10-for-22, 3 2B, 2 RBI)

    OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr., TOR
    (7-for-18, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI)

    OF Mark Canha, OAK
    (7-for-22, 4 HR, 9 RBI)

    OF Ian Happ, CHC
    (11-for-27, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI)

    DH J.D. Martinez, BOS
    (9-for-30, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI)

    SP Adrian Houser, MIL
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

    SP Jose Suarez, LAA
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

    SP Blake Snell, SD
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K)

    SP Gerrit Cole, NYY
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 15 K)

    SP Robbie Ray, TOR
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 20 K)

    RP Raisel Iglesias, LAA
    (3 G, 3/3 SV, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

Award Rankings

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    Jonathan India
    Jonathan IndiaDylan Buell/Getty Images

    If the season ended today, this is what my MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year ballots would look like:

          

    AL MVP

    1. Shohei Ohtani, LAA
    2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    3. Aaron Judge, NYY
    4. Matt Olson, OAK
    5. Cedric Mullins, BAL
    6. Carlos Correa, HOU
    7. Salvador Perez, KC
    8. Marcus Semien, TOR
    9. Jose Ramirez, CLE
    10. Rafael Devers, BOS

          

    NL MVP

    1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
    2. Bryce Harper, PHI
    3. Max Muncy, LAD
    4. Juan Soto, WAS
    5. Trea Turner, LAD
    6. Willy Adames, MIL
    7. Austin Riley, ATL
    8. Jesse Winker, CIN
    9. Buster Posey, SF
    10. Freddie Freeman, ATL

         

    AL Cy Young

    1. Robbie Ray, TOR
    2. Gerrit Cole, NYY
    3. Lance Lynn, CWS
    4. Carlos Rodon, CWS
    5. Chris Bassitt, OAK

              

    NL Cy Young

    1. Walker Buehler, LAD
    2. Brandon Woodruff, MIL
    3. Max Scherzer, LAD
    4. Zack Wheeler, PHI
    5. Corbin Burnes, MIL

          

    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Randy Arozarena, TB
    2. Adolis Garcia, TEX
    3. Casey Mize, DET

            

    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Jonathan India, CIN
    2. Trevor Rogers, MIA
    3. Patrick Wisdom, CHC

            

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

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