How are teams trending as we reach the end of May?
We have reached Memorial Day Weekend and most teams around MLB have played roughly one-quarter of their 2021 schedule. So it’s a good time to take stock of how teams are playing, who is dealing with significant injury and/or performance issues and start identifying potential sellers.
Colorado is going to sell. The only question is when. And both New York teams have some serious needs that might not be able to be fixed with internal options.
So let’s crank up this week’s edition of our MLB Power Rankings.
1. San Diego Padres
They have the best record in baseball and arguably the most exciting player in the game. What more do you want?
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
When the Padres went all-in this past winter, we hoped for a season-long battle between these two teams. We’re getting it, and that’s awesome.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
They had an 11-game win streak snapped earlier this week but they’re on top of the American League at the end of May — and haven’t promoted Wander Franco (yet).
4. New York Yankees
They swept the Chicago White Sox last weekend in impressive fashion. The loss of Corey Kluber might force them to make a move to bolster their rotation soon.
5. Chicago White Sox
Their pitching has been really good, led by Carlos Rodon (who knew?) and a strong bullpen. How they keep putting up big offense without Luis Robert or Eloy Jimenez is a testament to their organizational depth.
6. San Francisco Giants
They’re hanging around in the NL West just long enough to be interesting, but they have a few veterans in the final year of their contracts (Brandon Crawford) who might be tempting trade bait before the deadline.
7. Oakland A’s
Our West Coast bias continues with a fourth California-based team making our top ten. The A’s are by far the highest ranked team with a negative run differential (minus-six) thus far, but they keep winning games in spite of that reality.
8. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are only 14-13 at home to start the season but are near the top of MLB with a strong 30-20 start to the year. At some point they need to go on a run at home if they want to stay near the top of a terrific AL East.
9. Cleveland Indians
It’s all about the pitching in Cleveland, who are somehow in the playoff mix post-Lindor. Credit their coaches and the staff they’ve built for keeping them competitive after their latest enormous defection.
The Magician. pic.twitter.com/yZX7HgUFCU
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 27, 2021
10. Chicago Cubs
Just watch the video of Javier Baez doing his thing in Pittsburgh on Thursday. When you’re no longer as confused as we were, note that the Cubs are tied for first in the NL Central and they’re rolling with maybe the best bullpen in baseball.
11. Houston Astros
Houston might have the most potent offense in baseball right now, but they’re still chasing Oakland in the AL West. Their pitching is starting to get healthy so look out for the Astros.
12. St. Louis Cardinals
A brutal stretch of games against both Chicago teams slips the Cardinals down the list. They were uncharacteristically bad defensively against the White Sox, leading to the first loss of the year for Jack Flaherty.
13. New York Mets
Can you imagine how good this team could be if they had literally half of their Opening Day roster in one piece? James McCann and Francisco Lindor are the only two guys who have been there most of the time and neither one has hit yet but the Mets are still in first place somehow.
14. Toronto Blue Jays
If the kid they put on the mound at Yankee Stadium for his MLB debut can do that again and again for the Blue Jays they might have a lead dog in their rotation. The offense isn’t the problem for Toronto, but the arms are coming.
15. Miami Marlins
Jesus Aguilar has rediscovered his swing and has been terrific in the middle of their lineup. Jazz Chisholm might be one of the most entertaining players in the NL East for the next decade, too. The Marlins are coming, folks. Don’t sleep on them.
16. Philadelphia Phillies
Since Joe Girardi isn’t telling the media anything about his players any more, we’ll reserve comment on their play as well.
17. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers played the Padres tough this week and their pitching keeps getting it done. The addition of Willy Adames from Tampa is a really nice early season move that improves their roster.
18. Atlanta Braves
Atlanta could probably be higher on this list but the loss of Marcell Ozuna for the next six weeks is a huge blow. Austin Riley has been incredible thus far but the Braves might be in the market for an outfielder to cover the loss of Ozuna.
19. Minnesota Twins
The Twins had been in the cellar for us for a few weeks, but a four-game win streak and winning seven of their last ten has made them interesting again. Maybe they aren’t quite out of it yet.
Trea Turner is on pace for 36 HR and 36 SB this season.
Only 1 SS in @MLB history has reached 36/36 in a single season.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 27, 2021
20. Washington Nationals
It’s been a struggle to get on track to start yet another season for the Nationals, who have never been good out of the gate under Dave Martinez. But Trea Turner has been playing at an MVP level all year.
21. Kansas City Royals
When will we see Bobby Witt, Jr? The Royals may join the list of sellers to make room for the youth movement at some point as May has been a tough month in KC.
22. Cincinnati Reds
Their offense is fun and dynamic and powerful. Their pitching has been one of the biggest disappointments in baseball this season, led by the confounding mediocrity of Luis Castillo. How can that much talent be this bad?
23. Seattle Mariners
If they eventually want to make room for the youngsters in their outfield, Mitch Haniger could become one of the most popular names on the trade market. He’s having a terrific bounce-back season in Seattle.
24. Los Angeles Angels
How bad are things going for the Angels right now? Shohei Ohtani missed a start because he got stuck in traffic. He’s still must-see TV every night but the rest of that roster has been a tire fire.
25. Texas Rangers
Will they trade Joey Gallo? They have a truckload of cap space heading into one of the strong free agent winters in recent history and everyone believes they’ll be aggressive spenders, so whether or not they sell is TBD.
26. Detroit Tigers
Their young pitching is really exciting, but the learning curve is going to be tough to watch. As they gain valuable experience this year, the Tigers could make life miserable for folks down the stretch.
27. Colorado Rockies
The only way the Rockies get out of the cellar is if teams are playing just awful baseball. And there are three teams worthy of that distinction this week. Trevor Story won’t finish the season in Denver, so how soon do they start making/taking calls on their superstar shortstop? Remember: the Rockies host the All-Star Game this year and Story might be their only representative.
28. Baltimore Orioles
They have the worst record in the league but we actually like some of their young pieces. John Means is a legit ace and Cedric Mullins might be an all-star this year. But their complete roster has serious issues in baseball’s strongest division.
29. Arizona Diamondbacks
They’re riding an 11-game losing streak right now and the trade calls may have already started. They have some solid veterans who could help teams dealing with significant injuries and this is a lost season in the desert.
30. Pittsburgh Pirates
They’re dead last based on one play (see the video of Javy Baez). But the Bucs also have the worst run differential (-84) in MLB right now and just look like a Little League team far too often. It’s ugly in the Steel City and actually appears to be getting worse.