MLB Power Rankings: Rays claim top spot, Yankees continue slide

Welcome to the sixth edition of RunSportBet’s MLB Power Rankings for the 2021 season.

1. Tampa Bay Rays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
38-23 7-3 +75 4 (+3) ??

Austin Meadows is back. After struggling last season and the beginning of this year, the 2019 breakout All-Star is hitting .302/.413/.679 with five home runs, three doubles, and an MLB-leading 22 RBIs over the last 15 days. How valuable has Meadows been to the club over that stretch? Well, he’s driven in 30.5% of Tampa’s runs.

2. Chicago White Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
36-23 7-3 +85 6 (+4) ??

Tony La Russa has received plenty of criticism for his management of the White Sox. But the ultimate determining factor is in the win-loss column, and La Russa’s excelled there. Chicago is tied for the AL’s second-best record, has the largest division lead of any first-place team, and seems poised to pull away. The club is deep, talented, and firing on all cylinders.

3. Boston Red Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
36-23 7-3 +52 3 (-) 

While Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Rafael Devers generate most of the headlines, it’s Hunter Renfroe who has been the best offensive Red Sox player over the last two weeks. The 29-year-old has benefited from being an everyday player this campaign and is slashing .485/.541/.879 with two home runs and seven doubles in his last 10 games. Renfroe’s improved his OPS by more than 100 points over last season.

4. San Francisco Giants

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
37-22 7-3 +70 7 (+3) ??

The Giants were supposed to come back to earth after the Dodgers showed up on their schedule. Instead, they’ve turned things up a notch and shockingly grabbed hold of top spot in the ultra-competitive NL West, partially due to winning three of four over their bitter rivals last weekend. The schedule makers also handed the team a gift – San Francisco won’t face an opponent with a winning record again until June 25. That’s a huge cushion for a unit that just lost one of its most important hitters in Evan Longoria to a shoulder injury.

5. San Diego Padres

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
36-25 4-6 +70 1 (-4) ??

Fernando Tatis Jr. is hitting .379/.466/.897 with eight home runs since returning from the COVID-19 IL on May 19. Tatis is a joy to watch, but now the question is, can he get some help? Despite employing baseball’s brightest young superstar, among other notable names, the Padres rank 15th in the majors by wRC+. San Diego’s lost six of its last eight and has been held to three runs or fewer in seven straight games. This is still an amazingly good squad, but the puzzle is far from complete. If the Padres want to get out of second place and put some distance between themselves and their California rivals, they’ll need to find some more offensive punch somewhere.

Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images Sport / Getty

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
34-25 4-6 +83 2 (-4) ??

The Dodgers lost seven out of 12 following a hot stretch, falling to third in the NL West. To make matters worse, L.A. dropped three out of four to the division-leading Giants at the end of May. However, the club got a massive boost with Cody Bellinger’s return, and he’s got one homer and seven RBIs in seven games since recovering from a broken leg. The defending champions will be a powerhouse when healthy again.

7. Oakland Athletics

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
35-26 6-4 +6 8 (+1) ??

Home has not been where the heart is for the A’s, who are just 17-17 at the Oakland Coliseum this year. Oakland’s been doing most of its damage on the road, where it sports an 18-9 mark. The upcoming nine-game homestand against some lesser teams presents an excellent chance for the A’s to create some space between themselves and the hard-charging Astros, who are their biggest threat in the AL West and sport a vastly superior run differential.

8. Houston Astros

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
33-26 6-4 +69 9 (+1) ??

The emergence of Houston’s young core of starting pitchers bodes well for the club’s long-term success. Jose Urquidy, Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Framber Valdez, and Lance McCullers are all 27 or younger and have a combined 3.10 ERA over 232 2/3 innings. With Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke both hitting free agency after this season, the Astros appear to be in good shape and could use the more than $65 million coming off the books from those two veteran pitchers to spend elsewhere.

9. Toronto Blue Jays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
30-27 6-4 +36 12 (+3) ??

It’s impossible to talk about the Blue Jays without focusing on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s incredible season. The 22-year-old has erupted into a superstar and has kept an injured Toronto team in the playoff race. Guerrero leads the AL in WAR, home runs, average, on-base percentage, slugging, and wRC+, and he’s already surpassed his career-best mark for homers from 2019 in half the number of contests.

Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

10. New York Mets

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
29-23 7-3 +11 11 (+1) ??

What more can be said about Jacob deGrom? DeGrom twirled a seven-inning gem in San Diego on Saturday, lowering his ERA to 0.62 – yes, you read that right – and WHIP to 0.57. The right-hander has struck out 93 and walked just eight. It seems like he’s getting better every time he takes the mound, which feels impossible until you remember who you’re talking about. The Mets have had an unbelievably bad run of luck with injuries, and Francisco Lindor’s been slow to get going, yet they maintain first-place in the NL West thanks in large part to deGrom.

11. Chicago Cubs

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
33-26 6-4 +30 14 (+3) ??

The Cubs showed a lot of smarts by promoting Patrick Wisdom from Triple-A in late May. The 29-year-old, who had just 43 big-league games under his belt before this campaign, has been hitting out of his mind since joining the big club, producing a .412/.444/1.088 line with seven home runs over his last 13 games. Wisdom’s two homers Sunday helped the team snap a three-game mini-skid against the Giants.

12. Milwaukee Brewers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
33-26 9-1 -4 15 (+3) ??

The three-headed pitching monster of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta continues to be the Brewers’ heartbeat. The trio has combined for 278 strikeouts and allowed just 41 earned runs over 199 1/3 innings. All three hurlers find themselves within the top 14 in WAR. Offensively, Avisail Garcia, who went deep seven times in May, and Omar Narvaez (.916 OPS) lead the way with Christian Yelich struggling to stay healthy.

13. New York Yankees

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
31-29 2-8 -4 5 (-8) ??

There’s a legitimate reason to be concerned about the offense. The Yankees rank 25th in MLB in OPS and 29th in runs scored over the last 30 days – ahead of only the Marlins. DJ LeMahieu hasn’t homered in 26 games, while Giancarlo Stanton is 2-for-24 with 12 strikeouts since coming off the IL. The fact that New York doesn’t really have a center fielder only complicates matters, with Aaron Hicks undergoing season-ending surgery. Aaron Judge has played two games at the position, but that doesn’t seem like a sustainable solution.

14. St. Louis Cardinals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
31-29 3-7 -18 10 (-4) ??

The Cardinals dropped out of first in the NL Central after losing five straight, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds. The club will have to bounce back without injured pitchers Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, and Kwang-hyun Kim. Flaherty, who owns a 2.90 ERA with 1.03 WHIP over 62 innings, is expected to miss a significant amount of time with an oblique strain.

15. Atlanta Braves

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
28-29 5-5 -3 13 (-2) ??

Everybody is waiting for the Braves to go on a run, but it still hasn’t happened. The World Series contenders are below .500 despite another MVP-caliber season from Ronald Acuna Jr., whose 17 homers are tied for tops in the Senior Circuit. One key area where the team needs to improve is pitching. Both the rotation and bullpen have gone from strong to weak as Atlanta’s hurlers have collectively accrued 3.7 WAR, which is in the bottom third in all of baseball. No. 1 starter Max Fried owns a 4.63 ERA across nine starts.

Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty

16. Cincinnati Reds

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
28-29 7-3 -22 19 (+3) ??

The Reds are clawing their way back into the mix thanks to monster seasons from Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos. The duo occupies the top two spots in the NL for OPS and batting average. Winker, who became the first player in franchise history to have multiple three home run games in the same season, is tied for the league lead in round-trippers, while Castellanos had a 21-game hit streak end Sunday.

17. Cleveland Indians

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
31-26 5-5 -15 16 (-1) ??

Allowing 18 runs to the lowly Orioles is not a good look. However, that’s exactly what the Indians did Sunday to continue a mediocre stretch of five wins in 11 matchups. The problem has been the offense, with Jose Ramirez being the only healthy regular who has an .800 OPS or better. Making matters worse is the reality that the pitching staff – which is middle-of-the-pack with a 4.15 ERA – simply isn’t good enough to carry the club this time around.

18. Philadelphia Phillies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
28-30 5-5 -11 17 (-1) ??

In what seems like a yearly issue, the Phillies’ bullpen is once again letting the team down. Dave Dombrowski added new relievers in the offseason, but the result has been the same. The group owns a 4.53 ERA, which is the fifth-worst among NL squads. The starting pitchers have been good – particularly Zack Wheeler, who owns the third-best WAR (2.6) behind deGrom and Burnes.

19. Kansas City Royals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
29-28 6-4 -6 20 (+1) ??

The Royals rebounded nicely after ending an 11-game skid in mid-May. Kansas City won 13 out of its next 21 contests and still maintains the second-best run-differential in the division. Salvador Perez has been the team’s MVP, hitting 14 homers with 40 RBIs while posting an .818 OPS. However, losing Adalberto Mondesi to the IL does hurt some of the team’s momentum.

Abbie Parr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

20. Seattle Mariners

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
30-31 6-4 -54 22 (+2) ??

The hype surrounding Jarred Kelenic produced nearly impossible expectations for him to fulfill. Even so, the start of his big-league career has been woeful, to say the least. Kelenic is slashing .096/.185/.193 and hasn’t recorded a hit since May 24. The 21-year-old got most of Sunday off, presumably to try and clear his head. At some point, he’ll turn it around, but until he does, there will be more dark days in Seattle.

21. Miami Marlins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
24-33 2-8 -3 18 (-3) ??

The Marlins recently ended a nine-game skid that dropped the club near the division’s basement. Miami beat the Pirates on Sunday, salvaging one win out of an ugly four-game series that should’ve put the team back on track. The starting rotation received a big blow when Elieser Hernandez went down with a long-term quad injury during his first start of the season.

22. Washington Nationals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
24-32 3-7 -31 21 (-1) ??

Would the Nationals re-sign Stephen Strasburg over Anthony Rendon if they had a crystal ball? The 2019 World Series MVP has a 5.74 ERA with 1.46 WHIP over 26 2/3 innings in seven starts since signing a seven-year, $245-million contract. The 32-year-old’s back on the IL while Washington searches for stability in the rotation. Strasburg’s replacement, Austin Voth, is also now out with a broken nose after a pitch hit him in the face Sunday.

23. Los Angeles Angels

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
27-32 5-5 -42 25 (+2) ??

Is it too early to crown the most disappointing club of 2021? With Mike Trout sidelined, the Angels still have the most interesting player in the sport in Shohei Ohtani – yet they continue to lose. To his credit, Alex Cobb has looked sharp, winning his last three straight while posting a 2.25 ERA over his last four starts. L.A. is only a handful of games under .500, and it’s not early anymore, but there’s still enough runway to turn this around.

24. Minnesota Twins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
24-35 4-6 -35 23 (-1) ??

Josh Donaldson is making headlines off the field while the Twins continue to be mystifyingly bad. The third baseman has said he’s got a whole catalog of pitchers who are cheating and has openly questioned if Gerrit Cole’s used foreign substances to increase his spin rate. Minnesota did get some good news about star outfielder Byron Buxton, who could begin a rehab assignment this week. Buxton owns a stunning 2.5 WAR in just 24 games during the 2021 campaign.

25. Detroit Tigers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
24-35 5-5 -58 28 (+3) ??

There’s nothing particularly redeeming about this Tigers roster, but the offense has been especially damning, ranking dead last in WAR. Detroit’s not the worst at hitting, though – the Pirates and Rockies have a worse collective wRC+ – it’s the inability to play anything resembling defense that is costing the team. Almost no one on the roster has been worth positive runs, according to FanGraphs’ defensive rating, with Jeimer Candelario and Jonathan Schoop being huge liabilities in the field.

26. Texas Rangers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
23-38 1-9 -50 24 (-2) ??

Texas might be the only club that wants to move to the AL East. The Rangers are 10-8 against the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays this season despite their collective winning record. In fact, Texas has a losing record against all but three of the 14 teams it’s faced this campaign (Boston, Tampa Bay, Minnesota).

Ralph Freso / Getty Images Sport / Getty

27. Colorado Rockies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
24-36 5-5 -39 29 (+2) ??

Jon Gray joined Trevor Story on the IL with a flexor strain, meaning the Rockies’ two biggest trade chips heading into next month’s deadline are both sidelined. If the front office wants to make a major splash – a full teardown should be an option – maybe Ryan McMahon becomes a trade option. The 26-year-old infielder is enjoying a career year and is only under control through the 2023 season.

28. Baltimore Orioles

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
21-38 4-6 -53 26 (-2) ??

The good news: Adley Rutschman is dominating Double-A with eight homers so far. The less good news: The current big-league roster has very few bright spots. Ryan Mountcastle has turned it on of late, smashing three homers in his last four games. If Mountcastle can undo his cold start and build on his breakout 2020 campaign, the rebuild will have some surer footing.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
20-41 2-8 -64 27 (-2) ??

The Diamondbacks barely survived a 13-game losing streak, but it’s not like the ship was righted – they’re now back on a brand new five-game skid. Arizona still hasn’t won two straight contests in nearly a month, and the last time the club won three straight was April 27. It’s much worse than preseason projections hypothesized for the D-Backs, and it’s largely due to their league-worst 5.02 ERA, thanks in part to dismal campaigns from Merrill Kelly and Madison Bumgarner.

30. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
23-35 5-5 -75 30 (-)

Kevin Newman, Gregory Polanco, and Erik Gonzalez all rank among the worst position players in the league, accruing a combined minus-0.5 WAR. The good news is Ke’Bryan Hayes is back and already ranks fourth on the team in WAR despite only playing six games so far this season.