MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 1 Week Before Playoffs

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2021

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 1 Week Before Playoffs

0 of 10

    Quinn Harris/Getty Images

    One more week.

    That's all that remains in the 2021 MLB regular season, and with four postseason spots still up for grabs, there is plenty of excitement on tap before the playoffs begin.

    This week, the shuffling continued in our weekly power rankings.

    If a team is winning, it climbs 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

1 of 10

    Max Kranick
    Max KranickBryan Cereijo/Getty Images

    30. Arizona Diamondbacks (50-107)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The battle for the bottom rages on as the D-backs try to secure the No. 1 pick for the third time in franchise historyJustin Upton (2005) and Dansby Swanson (2015) were their top selections. Center fielder Ketel Marte has played just 84 games, but he's hitting .324/.385/.538 with 41 extra-base hits, and he'll be a hot commodity this offseason if he's made available via trade.

        

    29. Baltimore Orioles (51-106)

    Previous Rank: 29

    The Orioles have also picked No. 1 just twice in their franchise history, selecting right-hander Ben McDonald in 1989 and catcher Adley Rutschman in 2019. There are some promising young pieces on the roster, but until the pitching staff and its MLB-worst 5.83 ERA improves, Baltimore will continue to be a non-factor.

        

    28. Texas Rangers (58-99)

    Previous Rank: 27

    The Rangers have not lost 100 games since 1973, and without any clear building blocks, the next few years could be rough. Nathaniel Lowe, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Nick Solak, Adolis Garcia, Dane Dunning and Kolby Allard have the potential to be long-term pieces, but there's not a future star in that group.

        

    27. Pittsburgh Pirates (59-98)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Pirates went 4-6 on their final road trip of the season, stealing a win from the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies as they battled for wild-card position. Right-hander Max Kranick threw five scoreless innings in the win over the Phillies, and the 24-year-old has shown enough in eight starts that he could battle for a rotation spot in spring training.

        

    26. Miami Marlins (64-93)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The Marlins lost five in a row to close out last week, scoring just 11 runs during that skid. With a wealth of young pitching, upgrading the lineup figures to be the focal point of the offseason. Rookie catcher Nick Fortes has been a bright spot of late. The 24-year-old is 8-for-19 with three home runs in his first eight big league games after making his MLB debut Sept. 18.

Nos. 25-21

2 of 10

    C.J. Cron
    C.J. CronDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    25. Washington Nationals (65-93)

    Previous Rank: 28

    The Nationals won three in a row last week before losing three in a row at the Reds, which pushed them past the 90-loss mark for the first time since 2010. Despite their record, Juan Soto is playing his way into National League MVP contention with an absurd .430/.590/.744 line in 122 plate appearances in September.

        

    24. Chicago Cubs (67-90)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Cubs had lost 13 of 15 entering Tuesday. That included a four-game sweep at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals to close out their home schedule. While there have been unexpected bright spots offensively, the pitching staff has a horrendous 6.06 ERA since the All-Star break and will need to be rebuilt around Kyle Hendricks this offseason.

        

    23. Minnesota Twins (70-87)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The Twins won four in a row last week before dropping back-to-back games to the Toronto Blue Jays. They'll look to avoid a last-place finish in the American League Central with series against the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals to close out the year. Byron Buxton has a .926 OPS with six doubles and six home runs in his last 20 games.

        

    22. Colorado Rockies (72-85)

    Previous Rank: 21

    After winning a season-high-tying five in a row earlier this month, the Rockies were 1-7 in their last eight games entering Tuesday. First baseman C.J. Cron has cooled since his torrid August, but he's still hitting .277/.369/.530 for a 127 OPS+ with 28 home runs and 89 RBI while playing on a one-year, $1 million contract.

        

    21. Kansas City Royals (72-85)

    Previous Rank: 22

    With Kris Bubic (4 GS, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 26.0 IP) and Brady Singer (3 GS, 3.86 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 18.2 IP) throwing the ball well in September and several other young players gaining valuable experience, the Royals will have plenty of positives to take into the offseason despite another losing season. Keep an eye on this team as a dark horse in 2022.

Nos. 20-16

3 of 10

    Alex Cobb
    Alex CobbAdam Bettcher/Getty Images

    20. New York Mets (75-82)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The Mets were eliminated from playoff contention Saturday. They were 1-10 in their last 11 games entering Tuesday, so a tumultuous season is ending in fittingly ugly fashion. With Marcus Stroman, Javier Baez, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto among their notable players headed for free agency, a busy offseason awaits.

        

    19. Los Angeles Angels (74-83)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The Angels were 2-8 in their last 10 games, all against American League West foes, entering Tuesday, and they've struggled to a 26-44 record against those rivals. After missing nearly two months with a wrist injury, veteran Alex Cobb returned to action Sept. 16 and has allowed just six hits and one earned run in 10.2 innings in two starts. He'll be a free agent this offseason.

        

    18. Detroit Tigers (75-82)

    Previous Rank: 17

    The Tigers are 13-10 in September as they try to chase down Cleveland for the No. 2 spot in the AL Central. Michael Fulmer, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year, has made a successful transition to the bullpen this year, posting a 0.75 ERA with four saves and three holds in 10 appearances in September.

        

    17. San Diego Padres (78-79)

    Previous Rank: 16

    Viewed as a bona fide title contender when the season began, the Padres will have to fight just to avoid a losing record after a 6-16 start to September. Their playoff hopes ended with a loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, but they can still impact the National League West with series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants to wrap up the regular season.

        

    16. Cleveland (77-80)

    Previous Rank: 18

    After more than three months spent nursing a strained shoulder, 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber tossed three perfect innings against the Chicago White Sox on Friday. Pitching remains Cleveland's roster, but something will need to be done to upgrade the lineup behind Jose Ramirez, Franmil Reyes and Amed Rosario.

Nos. 15-11

4 of 10

    Adam Duvall
    Adam DuvallLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    15. Philadelphia Phillies (81-76)

    Previous Rank: 15

    With a 9-3 record in their last 12 games entering Tuesday, the Phillies are still alive in the National League East and can make up ground during a three-game series at the division-leading Braves. Left-hander Ranger Suarez has a 1.69 ERA in 58.2 innings over 11 starts after two more strong outings last week.

          

    14. Cincinnati Reds (82-76)

    Previous Rank: 14

    The Reds closed their home schedule with four straight wins, including a 13-1 victory over the Pirates on Monday, but the red-hot Cardinals have sprinted into the No. 2 wild-card spot. With Nick Castellanos poised to opt out of the final two years of his contract, the Reds will have a big decision to make this offseason on one of their most productive hitters.

            

    13. Oakland Athletics (85-73)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Athletics have been streaky, and their wild-card hopes have evaporated despite the fact that they swept a three-game series from the American League West-leading Houston Astros over the weekend with a pair of walk-off wins. Right-hander Frankie Montas (13-9, 3.48 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 200 K, 181 IP) is having the best season no one is talking about.

          

    12. Atlanta Braves (84-72)

    Previous Rank: 13

    Can the Braves hold on and win their fourth straight NL East title? They had a 2.5-game lead over the Phillies entering Tuesday, and they could put the final nail in the coffin during the teams' three-game series. Adam Duvall (111), Ozzie Albies (103) and Austin Riley (100) are three of the five players in the National League with 100 RBI.

          

    11. Toronto Blue Jays (87-70)

    Previous Rank: 7

    A series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays and a four-game split with the Twins dropped the Blue Jays to fourth in the AL East standings once again, though they are still alive in the AL wild-card race. With a 2.49 ERA and a .195 opponents' batting average in his last four starts, Alek Manoah is making as big an impact as any rookie in baseball.

Nos. 10-6

5 of 10

    Chris Flexen
    Chris FlexenSteph Chambers/Getty Images

    10. Boston Red Sox (88-69)

    Previous Rank: 6

    The homestanding Red Sox were swept by the rival New York Yankees over the weekend, and they dropped to the No. 2 AL wild-card spot as a result. With road series against the Orioles and Nationals to close out the year, they have as friendly a remaining schedule as any team. Would it be Chris Sale or Nathan Eovaldi in the AL Wild Card Game?

            

    9. Seattle Mariners (88-70)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Mariners entered Tuesday working on an 8-1 stretch as they try to crash the party and claim a wild-card spot. They close out the year at home against the Athletics and Angels. With a 3.67 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 174.1 innings over 30 starts, Chris Flexen might be the most underappreciated pitcher in baseball.

       

    8. Chicago White Sox (90-68)

    Previous Rank: 8

    With a 35-33 record since the All-Star break, the White Sox have been on cruise control for the better part of two months, and flipping the switch in October might be easier said than done. Lance Lynn has been knocked around twice in his last four starts, and Carlos Rodon has pitched just 38 innings since the All-Star break, raising some questions about the postseason rotation.

          

    7. New York Yankees (90-67)

    Previous Rank: 10

    After sweeping the Rangers and Red Sox last week, the Yankees brought momentum into a tough final week against the Blue Jays and Rays as they look to punch their ticket to the playoffs. With Jameson Taillon (ankle) activated from the injured list Monday and Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder) close to returning as well, the pitching staff is getting healthy at the right time.

          

    6. St. Louis Cardinals (88-69)

    Previous Rank: 9

    Three weeks ago, the Cardinals were No. 17 in these power rankings and looked like a non-factor in the playoff picture. They've since climbed to No. 13, No. 9 and now No. 6. They're riding a 16-game winning streak that has them comfortably in the second NL wild-card slot. With a veteran rotation and a red-hot Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of the lineup, this team could shake things up in October.

Nos. 5-1

6 of 10

    Kyle Tucker
    Kyle TuckerJayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    5. Houston Astros (92-65)

    Previous Rank: 5

    Even after getting swept by the A's over the weekend, the Astros still have a 4.5-game lead in the AL West as they set their sights on an American League Division Series matchup with the White Sox. Outfielder Kyle Tucker is making a strong case for some down-ballot AL MVP support with a 144 OPS+, 67 extra-base hits, 14 steals and 5.0 WAR in 134 games.

        

    4. Milwaukee Brewers (94-63)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Brewers lost five in a row last week, tying their second-longest losing streak of the season, but they clinched the NL Central with an 8-4 victory over the Mets on Sunday. The starting rotation and back end of the bullpen is good enough to carry this team to a title regardless of whether the offense is firing on all cylinders.

        

    3. Tampa Bay Rays (97-60)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Rays have gone 52-29 with a plus-142 run differential at home this season, so home-field advantage is paramount. Top prospect Shane Baz has been dominant in his first two big league starts, and it's worth watching how he is utilized in October. If you recall, Matt Moore started a game during the 2011 postseason after making just one regular-season start in three appearances as a September call-up.

        

    2. Los Angeles Dodgers (101-56)

    Previous Rank: 2

    The Dodgers have won five straight series, but they made up just a half-game on the Giants in the NL West during that time. Pitcher wins don't mean much in today's game, but Julio Urias will have a shot at his 20th victory Saturday. The Padres and Brewers await during the season's final week as the Dodgers try to track down the Giants and claim their ninth straight NL West title.

        

    1. San Francisco Giants (103-54)

    Previous Rank: 1

    With an 18-6 record and a plus-56 run differential in September, the Giants are rolling. Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Logan Webb will anchor the postseason rotation in front of the best bullpen in baseball, and the lineup is averaging 6.1 runs per game in September. However, they'll be without Brandon Belt for the foreseeable future after he suffered a fractured thumb on Monday. San Francisco was a combined 12-13 against the Dodgers and Cardinalsits most likely National League Division Series opponents.

Complete Rankings

7 of 10

    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Cedric Mullins Becomes Baltimore's First 30/30 Player

8 of 10

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    With a three-run home run off Texas Rangers right-hander Spencer Howard on Friday, Cedric Mullins reached 30 home runs and became the first 30-30 player in Baltimore Orioles history.

    Outfielder Ken Williams is the only other player in franchise history to accomplish the feat with a 39-homer, 37-steal season in 1922, but that was when the O's were still the St. Louis Browns. (They were sold and moved after the 1953 season.)

    It's been a breakout season in every sense of the word for Mullins, who entered the year as a fringe big leaguer and will end it as a budding superstar for the rebuilding club.

    The 26-year-old is hitting .299/.369/.535 with 36 doubles, five triples, 30 home runs, 59 RBI, 89 runs and 30 steals in 153 games, tallying 6.1 WAR along the way.

    "I always felt I had 30 bags in me," Mullins told reporters. "The 30 homers I always envisioned, if my power clicked like it has. It's an amazing feat and I'm proud of this moment. It's surreal."

Team of the Week

9 of 10

    Giancarlo Stanton
    Giancarlo StantonBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    C Keibert Ruiz, WAS
    (10-for-23, 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    1B Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    (12-for-32, 2 2B, 5 HR, 11 RBI)

    2B Trea Turner, LAD
    (11-for-24, 2 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI)

    3B Austin Riley, ATL
    (13-for-32, 4 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI)

    SS J.P. Crawford, SEA
    (11-for-32, 4 2B, HR, 3 RBI)

    OF Juan Soto, WAS
    (10-for-21, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 14 BB)

    OF Harrison Bader, STL
    (15-for-29, 5 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Tyler O'Neill, STL
    (9-for-34, 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI)

    DH Giancarlo Stanton, NYY
    (9-for-22, 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI)

    SP Max Fried, ATL
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)

    SP Ranger Suarez, PHI
    (2 GS, W, L, 15.0 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K)

    SP Shane Baz, TB
    (2 GS, 2 W, 10.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 14 K)

    SP Kris Bubic, KC
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 E, 1 BB, 6 K)

    SP Chris Flexen, SEA
    (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)

    RP Giovanny Gallegos, STL
    (4 G, 4/4 SV, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K)

       

    Note: Stats reflect games from Sept. 20-26.

Award Rankings

10 of 10

    Juan Soto
    Juan SotoDylan Buell/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. Marcus Semien, TOR
    7. Carlos Correa, HOU
    8. Cedric Mullins, BAL
    9. Jose Ramirez, CLE
    10. Rafael Devers, BOS

          

    NL MVP

    1. Juan Soto, WAS
    2. Bryce Harper, PHI
    3. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
    4. Trea Turner, LAD
    5. Austin Riley, ATL
    6. Brandon Crawford, SF
    7. Joey Votto, CIN
    8. Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    9. Freddie Freeman, ATL
    10. Bryan Reynolds, PIT

         

    AL Cy Young

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

              

    NL Cy Young

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

          

    AL Rookie of the Year

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

            

    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.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!