MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 2 Weeks Before Playoffs

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2021

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 2 Weeks Before Playoffs

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    With two weeks to go in the MLB regular season, there are still seven postseason spots up for grabs. The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers are the only teams who have punched their ticket to the playoffs.

    The St. Louis Cardinals are charging hard, the Toronto Blue Jays are still hot, and there's still plenty of time for others to shake things up over the final few series.

    The shuffling continued 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 Monday's games. Records include Tuesday's results. Check out last week's power rankings here.

Nos. 30-26

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    Austin Hays
    Austin HaysAdam Glanzman/Getty Images

    30. Arizona Diamondbacks (48-103)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The D-backs are 4-17 in their last 21 games, including series losses to the Dodgers and Houston Astros last week. The franchise record for losses is 111 during the 2004 season, so they'll need to finish strong to avoid a new level of futility.

       

    29. Baltimore Orioles (48-103)

    Previous Rank: 29

    After eight losses in their last 10 games, the O's are in lockstep with the D-backs in the race for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft. Outfielder Austin Hays has a .999 OPS with seven home runs and 18 RBI in September as he tries to solidify his long-term spot alongside Cedric Mullins.

       

    28. Washington Nationals (62-89)

    Previous Rank: 28

    The Nats are 19-42 since the All-Star break, and they have not won consecutive games since Aug. 20. A rebuild is under way, and while they have piled up the losses, there have been a few bright spots among the young players, including catcher Keibert Ruiz and outfielder Lane Thomas, who were both acquired at the trade deadline.

       

    27. Texas Rangers (55-96)

    Previous Rank: 26

    With series losses to the Astros and Chicago White Sox last week, the Rangers are in danger of reaching the 100-loss mark for the first time since 1973. First baseman Nathaniel Lowe has been a bright spot in his first year with the team, posting a 111 OPS+ with 15 home runs, 68 RBI and 2.0 WAR.

       

    26. Pittsburgh Pirates (57-94)

    Previous Rank: 27

    The Pirates have rattled off four straight series wins, taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins last week while going 8-5 in their last 13 games. Scrap heap pickup Yoshi Tsutsugo is hitting .306/.394/.682 with eight home runs and 21 RBI in 31 games since he was signed Aug. 16, and he is controllable through 2025.

Nos. 25-21

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    Brendan Rodgers
    Brendan RodgersIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    25. Minnesota Twins (66-85)

    Previous Rank: 24

    After briefly climbing to fourth place in the American League Central, the Twins have stumbled through three straight series losses. Second baseman Jorge Polanco hit his 30th home run last week, and he has a 130 OPS+ with 31 home runs, 90 RBI, 91 runs and 5.4 WAR thanks to a big second half.

       

    24. Miami Marlins (64-87)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The Marlins have one of the most exciting collections of young pitchers in baseball, but they have also received promising production from Jesus Sanchez, Bryan De La Cruz, Lewis Brinson and Lewin Diaz in the middle of the batting order. They have fallen short of expectations after a surprise playoff appearance last year, but the future is bright.

       

    23. Chicago Cubs (67-84)

    Previous Rank: 22

    The Cubs will have a chance to play spoiler against the rival Cardinals with seven of their final 10 games against the streaking Redbirds. Beyond that opportunity to shake things up in the National League Central, the final few weeks will be about continuing to assess the roster for 2022 and beyond. First baseman Frank Schwindel is hitting .363/.408/.673 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 44 games since he was signed off waivers.

       

    22. Kansas City Royals (69-83)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Royals are 33-29 since the All-Star break, and the quartet of Nicky Lopez, Salvador Perez, Hunter Dozier and Andrew Benintendi have been carrying the lineup for the past several weeks. That offensive core, coupled with a young pitching staff on the rise, makes this team a sleeper pick to contend in 2022. They've already far exceeded their win totals from 2018 and 2019.

       

    21. Colorado Rockies (70-80)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Rockies are 10-7 in September and went 7-2 with series wins over the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Nationals on their recent road trip. Former top prospect Brendan Rodgers is hitting .305/.338/.507 with 22 extra-base hits in 49 games since the All-Star break, finally living up to the hype that came with being the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft.

Nos. 20-16

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    Alex Cobb
    Alex CobbIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    20. Los Angeles Angels (72-79)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The Angels pulled within two games of .500 with a series win over the White Sox last week, but they've lost four in a row since and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. Veteran Alex Cobb threw five scoreless innings against Chicago in his most recent start, and he's 8-3 with a 3.59 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 82.2 innings. Re-signing him should be a priority.

       

    19. New York Mets (73-78)

    Previous Rank: 17

    The Mets have lost three of their last four series, effectively extinguishing any remaining postseason hopes. They sit six games back in the National League East and 7.5 back in the wild-card race. While the season will go down as an unmitigated disaster for a franchise that began the year with sky-high expectations, another busy offseason could turn the tide.

       

    18. Cleveland (74-76)

    Previous Rank: 20

    With road series wins over the Twins and New York Yankees last week, Cleveland continued to be difficult to beat when everything is clicking. As usual, Jose Ramirez is swinging one of the hottest bats in baseball down the stretch with a .979 OPS, 13 home runs and 34 RBI in 46 games since the beginning of August.

       

    17. Detroit Tigers (74-78)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Tigers are 8-3 in their last 11 games, and they are just a game behind Cleveland for second place in the all-but-decided AL Central. They're not going to the postseason, but this year has marked a big step forward, and an aggressive offseason could be forthcoming after multiple years of shopping in the free-agency bargain bin.

       

    16. San Diego Padres (76-74)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Padres' slide continued. They are 10-24 in their last 34 games, and they face a four-game deficit with two teams to pass for the second National League wild-card spot. The dugout yelling match between Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado perfectly illustrated the state of things, and manager Jayce Tingler could find his job in jeopardy as a result.

Nos. 15-11

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    Jarred Kelenic
    Jarred KelenicAbbie Parr/Getty Images

    15. Philadelphia Phillies (77-74)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The Phillies play the Orioles, Pirates and Marlins in three of their final four series, putting them in prime position to make a late push in the wild-card race. After rebounding from a shaky stretch with series wins over the Cubs and Mets, they are poised to be in the thick of things to the bitter end. Will Bryce Harper win his second NL MVP Award?

       

    14. Cincinnati Reds (78-74)

    Previous Rank: 14

    With series losses to the Pirates and Dodgers last week, the Reds are three games back in the NL wild-card standings. They play the Pirates and Nationals in eight of their final 10 games, but they haven't exactly been taking care of business against sub-.500 teams. The bullpen has improved just as the offense has gone quiet.

       

    13. Atlanta Braves (79-70)

    Previous Rank: 8

    After seizing control of the NL East with a red-hot August, the Braves are 8-9 in September despite outscoring opponents 84-68. They piled up 11 runs Monday behind a three-double game from Austin Riley and home run No. 37 from Adam Duvall. It's been a rocky road, but this club can still be dangerous in October.

      

    12. Oakland Athletics (82-69)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Athletics' five-game winning streak ended with a loss to the Mariners on Monday, and they face a two-game deficit in the wild-card race. They exclusively play Seattle and Houston the rest of the way, and they've gone just 8-18 against those teams.

        

    11. Seattle Mariners (82-69)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Mariners are three games back with three teams to overtake for the second American League wild-card spot as they continue to chase their first postseason appearance since 2001. Center fielder Jarred Kelenic has a 1.174 OPS with five home runs, 10 RBI and three multihit performances in his last nine games. A strong finish to a trying rookie year could be the jumping off point for a big 2022 season.

Nos. 10-6

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    Jon Lester
    Jon LesterJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    10. New York Yankees (85-67)

    Previous Rank: 9

    The Yankees are 6-4 in their last 10 games since stumbling through a seven-game losing streak, and once they wrap up their series with the Rangers, they will face the three teams ahead of them in the American League East to wrap up the year. The offense is averaging 4.1 runs per game in September after plating 5.3 runs per contest in August.

       

    9. St. Louis Cardinals (81-69)

    Previous Rank: 13

    The Cardinals are the hottest team in baseball, riding a nine-game winning streak. They have averaged 6.3 runs per game with a plus-30 run differential during that stretch, and they are in the driver's seat for a wild-card berth. Veteran Jon Lester earned his 200th career win Monday, and he has a 2.27 ERA in 35.2 innings over his last six starts.

       

    8. Chicago White Sox (85-66)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The White Sox went 3-3 last week, and the AL Central leaders have a 15-15 record in their last 30 games. They are coasting with a commanding lead in the division, and a clash with the Astros in the American League Division Series looks increasingly likely. Can they flip the switch in October after seemingly taking their foot off the gas?

       

    7. Toronto Blue Jays (85-66)

    Previous Rank: 6

    With a 15-4 record and a plus-59 run differential in September, the Blue Jays have gone from fourth in the AL East to a half-game up for the second AL wild card. Rookie Alek Manoah will compete with Steven Matz for the No. 3 spot in the postseason rotation. He threw eight innings of one-hit, 10-strikeout ball against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 13 but struggled with his command Tuesday.

         

    6. Boston Red Sox (87-65)

    Previous Rank: 10

    The Red Sox have won six in a row and refuse to go away despite ceding control of the AL East to the Rays at the trade deadline. Rookie Bobby Dalbec is hitting .316/.409/.737 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI in 39 games since the beginning of August.

Nos. 5-1

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    Shane Baz
    Shane BazJulio Aguilar/Getty Images

    5. Houston Astros (90-61)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Astros have outscored opponents by 38 runs in September, tallying double digits five times, including a 10-0 victory over the Angels on Monday. With Michael Brantley (knee) and Jake Odorizzi (foot) on the injured list, they will need to get healthy before the playoffs begin. But this team is built for October success.

       

    4. Milwaukee Brewers (91-60)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Brewers clinched a playoff spot with a victory over the Cubs on Saturday, joining the Giants and Dodgers as part of the NL playoff picture. Left-hander Eric Lauer has made 13 straight starts without allowing more than three runs, continuing to build his case to be the No. 4 starter in October.

       

    3. Tampa Bay Rays (93-59)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The second-highest scoring team in baseball, the Rays have sputtered in September with eight games of three or fewer runs. Their arms are still the anchor, though, with Drew Rasmussen posting a 1.33 ERA in six starts since moving into the rotation full-time and Shane Baz pitching well in his MLB debut Monday.

       

    2. Los Angeles Dodgers (97-54)

    Previous Rank: 2

    After going 5-1 last week with series wins over the D-backs and Reds, the Dodgers are just one game back in the NL West. With Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin healthy, the starting rotation is stacked once again. Series against the Rockies and D-backs this week give them a golden opportunity to leapfrog the Giants.

       

    1. San Francisco Giants (98-53)

    Previous Rank: 1

    The Giants are on their way to their first 100-win season since 2003, but the Dodgers are nipping at their heels. They will close the regular season against the Padres, Rockies, D-backs and Padres again, and they're 33-12 against those teams. Can they wrap up an unlikely division title?

Complete Rankings

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Salvador Perez Breaks Catcher HR Record

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    With a fifth-inning blast off Cleveland right-hander Triston McKenzie on Monday, Salvador Perez broke the single-season record for home runs by a catcher.

    He overtook Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. Here's a look at the list of 40-homer seasons by catchers:

    • Salvador Perez, 2021: 46
    • Johnny Bench, 1970: 45
    • Javy Lopez, 2003: 43
    • Roy Campanella, 1953: 41
    • Todd Hundley, 1996: 41
    • Johnny Bench, 1972: 40
    • Mike Piazza, 1997: 40
    • Mike Piazza, 1999: 40

    "Every home run is special, but that one—it's just hard to get your head around it," manager Mike Matheny told reporters. "It's a long history of this game and how many great players have come through. For him to do something that nobody has done, it's amazing. For a guy that's so respected and loved in this clubhouse, it was different than your normal home run."

    With 20 home runs since the beginning of August, Perez is swinging a hot bat and has a shot to reach 50 long balls.

Team of the Week

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    Alek Manoah
    Alek ManoahCole Burston/Getty Images

    C Salvador Perez, KC
    (7-for-26, 3 HR, 8 RBI)

    1B Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    (10-for-23, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

    2B Brendan Rodgers, COL
    (8-for-22, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI)

    3B Jose Ramirez, CLE
    (10-for-20, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

    SS Carlos Correa, HOU
    (7-for-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI)

    OF Tyler O'Neill, STL
    (9-for-23, 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI)

    OF Bryce Harper, PHI
    (9-for-20, 6 2B, HR, 8 RBI)

    OF Joey Gallo, NYY
    (7-for-17, 5 HR, 5 RBI)

    DH Franmil Reyes, CLE
    (7-for-20, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

    SP Alek Manoah, TOR
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K)

    SP Wily Peralta, DET
    (2 GS, W, ND, 13.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 8 K)

    SP Sandy Alcantara, MIA
    (2 GS, W, ND, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K)

    SP Max Scherzer, LAD
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K)

    SP Max Fried, ATL
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K)

    RP Jordan Romano, TOR
    (3 G, 2/2 SV, 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K)

       

    Note: Stats reflect games from Sept. 13-19.

Award Rankings

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    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperRob Tringali/Getty Images

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

       

    AL MVP

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

          

    NL MVP

    1. Bryce Harper, PHI
    2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
    3. Juan Soto, WAS
    4. Max Muncy, LAD
    5. Trea Turner, LAD
    6. Brandon Crawford, SF
    7. Austin Riley, ATL
    8. Willy Adames, MIL
    9. Freddie Freeman, ATL
    10. Bryan Reynolds, PIT

         

    AL Cy Young

    1. Robbie Ray, TOR
    2. Gerrit Cole, NYY
    3. Lance Lynn, CWS
    4. Carlos Rodon, CWS
    5. Lance McCullers Jr., HOU

              

    NL Cy Young

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

          

    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Randy Arozarena, TB
    2. Casey Mize, DET
    3. Luis Garcia, HOU

            

    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Jonathan India, CIN
    2. Trevor Rogers, MIA
    3. Dylan Carlson, STL

       

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

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