It’s time to update our MLB Power Rankings as the calendar rolls into May.
Now that we have more than one full month of baseball having been played, it’s a good time to take stock of how teams are playing across Major League Baseball.
When we last posted our Power Rankings on Opening Day, it was easy to pick the lead dogs: the Dodgers, Yankees, Padres and Braves were the easy picks at the top of the list based on overall depth and talent.
Unfortunately for all four of those teams, the regular season hasn’t started the way they (or their fans) had hoped. And for others, it’s been a brutal first five weeks (cough, Twins, cough).
So let’s get back into the grind. Here are our first in-season Power Rankings of the 2021 season. Feel free to let us know what we got right or wrong!
1. Boston Red Sox
In March, many thought this might be a tough sell in Boston this season. and yet here we are with JD Martinez bouncing back to his MVP form and the Red Sox having the best record in the game. They’re getting Chris Sale back at some point this year which could help them put more pressure on the rest of the division.
2. Cleveland Indians
Like Boston, the prevailing thought in the preseason was that this would be a hard year in Cleveland. They traded away their best player (Francisco Lindor) and undermined their pitching depth in the same deal when they included Carlos Carrasco. That hasn’t stopped the Indians’ ridiculous pitching depth from making them a hard beat so far. Can they keep it up?
3. San Francisco Giants
A third team to start our list who was an afterthought in the preseason that has been a revelation in the season’s first month. The Giants celebrated Willie Mays’ birthday on Thursday with the best record in the National League. Nobody saw them being on top of the NL West in May.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals split with the Mets this week but they’ve won seven of their last ten in spite of a pitching staff that has struggled early on. The NL Central appears to be completely up for grabs and it’s been the Cardinals — without a healthy Yadier Molina — who have taken the early lead.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa never goes away, do they? Winners of five straight and seven of their last ten, the Rays are sticking with the Red Sox in a division race that’s heating up.
6. Oakland A’s
Oakland rolled off a 13-game win streak already this year, helping propel them to the top of the AL West. Here’s the rub: they’re 6-14 in their other 20 games. Hot or cold, the A’s can pick it and their pitching is surviving through injuries to a couple young phenoms, Jesus Luzardo and AJ Puk.
7. San Diego Padres
Fernando Tatis, Jr., suffered a scary injury early but came back to be as exciting as ever. The Padres enjoyed the first no-hitter in franchise history earlier this season from Joe Musgrove, not Blake Snell or Yu Darvish. They’re deep enough to make this a fun season in southern California.
8. Chicago White Sox
The Sox are in a tough spot early on. They lost Eloy Jimenez for most (if not all) of the regular season to an injury in spring training and now will be without Luis Robert for 3-4 months with a torn hip flexor. Will they get active in the trade market already to replace two of their best bats? Chicago’s pitching has been marvelous, including an unlikely no-hitter from Carlos Rodon.
9. Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays have been playing at their spring training complex in Florida and will move their “home” to Buffalo in June. Their offense has been good and their pitching has been solid; Toronto is tied with San Francisco for the third-best run differential (+30) in baseball entering Friday’s games.
10. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies continue to be an enigmatic team. They have won their last four games and and six of their last ten, but they have been outscored by 12 runs thus far this season. It’s feast or famine in Philly.
11. New York Yankees
A big series win against the Astros and the red-hot bat of Giancarlo Stanton put an up arrow next to the Yankees right now. Their pitching is still a concern, as it their defense, but they’re starting to mash the baseball.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers
Injuries and inconsistent play have killed the Dodgers lately. Clayton Kershaw had the shortest start of his career in Chicago earlier this week to start a three-game series in which the Cubs swept the Dodgers at Wrigley, including two extra-inning comeback losses for LA.
13. Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been a fun surprise thus far. Their young pitching is coming along and the bats have been good enough even though one of their best offensive threats, Adalberto Mondesi, hasn’t played in a game yet.
14. Seattle Mariners
What do we make of these Mariners? They come into Friday at 17-15 thanks in large part to the resurgence of Mitch Haniger. Nobody seems to want to run away with the AL West and the Mariners have plenty of young reinforcements ready to help, including Jarred Kelenic. Kelenic started his season with a two-homer game in Triple-A.
15. Texas Rangers
Joey Gallo has led the Rangers to seven wins in their last ten and, like the Mariners, Texas is making things interesting in the AL West. They have a few bats still waiting to wake up, though.
16. Houston Astros
They heard it loud and all day at Yankee Stadium this week. With Carlos Correa in a walk year, this is a significant season for this generation of Astros. They’re hanging around .500 so far, allowing the rest of the division to see a chance.
17. Milwaukee Brewers
Christian Yelich hasn’t been right all year and now injuries are starting to hit their pitching staff, which has been terrific. Craig Counsell hasn’t used his best relievers while behind yet this season, which is something to keep an eye on moving forward.
18. Chicago Cubs
Kris Bryant is playing at an MVP level again and Javier Baez has started to pick up as well, ranking among the NL leaders in RBI and home runs. If Chicago’s pitching can come around the Cubs might be in a position to make a run in the NL Central.
19. New York Mets
No team has had worse luck with weather this year than the Mets, who are praying Jacob deGrom can rejoin the rotation this weekend after getting an MRI on his lat earlier this week. They have their issues but have shown flashes of their high ceiling. If/When Lindor gets going they’ll be dangerous.
20. Atlanta Braves
Ronald Acuna, Jr., has been as-advertised thus far but the pitching in Atlanta has not. They come into Friday two games under .500 having allowed 151 runs, which ranks in the bottom ten in the big leaguers.
21. Miami Marlins
They’re still waiting for Sixto Sanchez to rejoin the rotation but Jesus Aguilar has been a marvelous addition to their lineup, finding the form that made him an All-Star. With the NL East all hanging around the .500 mark so far, Miami isn’t out of it by any means.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Dbax had a hypothetical no-hitter earlier this year from Madison Bumgarner (in the seven-inning first game of a double-header) but the rest of their pitching hasn’t been great thus far.
23. Washington Nationals
The Nationals have had injuries everywhere, none more significant than Juan Soto missing a big chunk of the season thus far. They come into the Bronx this weekend for a big series against the Yankees.
9 innings that will last a lifetime. pic.twitter.com/VKlByyfzSO
— Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) May 6, 2021
24. Baltimore Orioles
The O’s have actually been better than advertised and the no-hitter from John Means earlier this week was amazing; the only batter who reached was on a dropped third strike and was subsequently caught stealing. Don’t sleep on Baltimore.
25. Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati had dealt with more almost-fights and subsequent suspensions than any team in the game this year. Their offense has been lights out at times; their pitching has been a massive disappointment. If their arms get it right they’ll compete in the NL Central.
26. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Mike Trout is off to the best start of his historic career and Shohei Ohtani is doing things we haven’t seen since Babe Ruth and yet here we are, talking about them struggling to get to .500 and the decision to part ways with an icon, Albert Pujols. When will the Angels get it right?
27. Pittsburgh Pirates
We said in March that this was going to be a long year in Pittsburgh and it’s started that way.
28. Minnesota Twins
The Twins are 11-12 in regulation-length games this season. They’re a ridiculous 0-7 in extra inning games to date, putting them in the shocking position of being closer to last place in the AL Central than first. Their bullpen is a wreck. Will they make changes soon?
29. Colorado Rockies
The loss of Nolan Arenado set this season up to be underwhelming and the Rockies have done precisely that. The clock is ticking on the fire sale in which Trevor Story could be the biggest piece available before the trade deadline.
30. Detroit Tigers
Casey Mize and the young arms in Detroit have started to show up but it’s going to be a long road for the Tigers. Their future hope is in Spencer Torkelson, who is off to a rough start in High-A (.083 average thus far).