javier baez
Courtesy IG: @cubs

Some teams made major moves in the past week. How do the power rankings look as we begin June?

Tab Bamford

Where do we begin? Cody Bellinger returns for the Dodgers and racks up six RBI in the first inning. The Cubs sweep the Padres. The Rays hand it to the Yankees in the Bronx — again. And the Orioles and Diamondbacks continue their struggles.

At least now we can vote for the 2021 All-Star Game starters. But what position players on either side of New York are really worthy of a starting spot this year? We can’t vote for pitching, so… maybe it’s time to show love to other teams?

In any event, it’s that time. Let’s jump into the rankings for the first time in June.

1. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs? They’re three games behind the best overall record in baseball, but here’s our rationale: they have the best record in their last 10 games (8-2) in baseball and they just swept the Padres. They have also swept the Dodgers already this year, and had the best record in MLB in May. Could the Cubs become buyers at the deadline?

2. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have the Yankees’ number these days. They’re tied with the Giants for the best record in baseball and continue to show diverse ways to win games. Who would have thought Tampa would have a pitcher throw a complete game?

3. San Francisco Giants

The Dodgers are healthy and clearly visible in the rearview mirror, but the Giants just keep rolling. It’s been a truly impressive first two months in San Francisco. Can they keep it up?

4. Chicago White Sox

They’re 21-9 at home and have the best run differential (+82) in the American League. And they’re doing it without 2/3 of their outfield; Eloy Jimenez hasn’t played a single regular season game and Luis Robert has missed most of the year thus far.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have the best run differential in baseball (+83) and just got Cody Bellinger back off the injured list. It’s a three-team race in the NL West and the Dodgers’ bats are just getting back together. Look out!

6. Boston Red Sox

They’re still in second in the AL East and have an impressive 17-10 record away from Fenway Park. Their +44 run differential is 11-times the Yankees’ mark entering play on Friday.

7. San Diego Padres

Last week’s No. 1 spot drops to seven after a rough sweep at the hands of the Cubs in Chicago. Fernando Tatis, Jr. may be the frontrunner for the NL MVP at this point but he needs to stay healthy for the Padres to stay in the mix in the NL West.

8. Oakland A’s

The A’s are starting to get some of their arms back from injuries, which is needed because the Astros are coming on hard right now. If Oakland can stay healthy for four or five weeks they could cement their spot as a playoff team before the All-Star Game.

9. Houston Astros

Houston’s run differential (+58) is 57 runs better than Oakland’s entering Friday but they’re still in second place. It’s shaping up to be a two-team race in the AL West but the Astros have their hands full with Oakland going nowhere.

10. Cleveland Indians

No Lindor? No problem apparently. The Indians are still chasing the White Sox in the AL Central but their pitching has been absolutely dominant. This may be the best managing job of Tito Francona’s career.

Jacob deGrom
Courtesy Twitter: @Mets

11. New York Mets

Even with so many players missing significant time this season, the Mets are still in first place in the NL East entering June. Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher on the planet and there really isn’t much discussion about it at this point.

12. Toronto Blue Jays

Now the Buffalo Blue Jays with a transition of their “home” ballpark to upstate New York, the Jays’ offense has been impressive. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is your frontrunner for the AL MVP at this point, leading a potent offense into the crowded race for the top of the AL East.

13. New York Yankees

We have some serious concerns about the Yankees’ pitching at this point, and they haven’t consistently scored runs all year. Their run differential (+4) is 43 runs worse than Toronto’s at this point, which is a concern when you look around the top four in the division.

14. Kansas City Royals

The Royals ride a four-game win streak into Friday’s action and they’re 7-3 in their last 10 games. Salvador Perez might be the best catcher in the American League again this year, which is a welcome sign for KC fans.

15. St. Louis Cardinals

What do we do with the Cardinals? They’re one game in front of Milwaukee for second in the NL Central but they just lost their ace, Jack Flaherty, for what appears to be a significant amount of time — and he did it swinging the bat. St. Louis is in trouble.

16. Atlanta Braves

The Braves are in the same boat as the Cardinals — a huge part of their plans is now missing. Marcell Ozuna is going to be out of action of a while because of a domestic violence incident. Will they jump into the trade market early to replace an important player in their lineup?

17. Seattle Mariners

Seattle is 7-3 in their last 10 and their future is making heads turn at the Olympic qualifiers in Florida, where Julio Rodriguez is obliterating baseballs for the Dominican Republic. They probably don’t have the horses to make a run in the AL West but Mariners fans should be excited for the coming years.

18. Milwaukee Brewers

We probably could have put Milwaukee higher on the list based on their 7-3 record over their past 10 games, but they’re under .500 at home (14-15). The door is wide open for them to make a run in the Central with Flaherty missing in St. Louis but they have been consistently inconsistent all year.

19. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels get a bump up to 19 this week because they’re the lowest team in our rankings with an above-.500 record in their past 10 games. It’s been a disappointing season for the Angels due in large part to injuries, but Shohei Ohtani is must-see TV. Can he hit and pitch in the All-Star Game this year? Please?

20. Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies have been plagued with inconsistent play all year and they’re digging a deep hole in the division they might not be able to climb out of. This is an expensive roster to be under 11-19 on the road thus far.

 

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21. Cincinnati Reds

What the heck is wrong with their pitching? Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray have been massive disappointments. The bats are performing but they’re well back of the Cubs now in the division.

22. Miami Marlins

Losers of six straight entering Friday, we’re actually overvaluing the Marlins here because they’re the lowest-ranked team with a positive run differential. If their pitching can get it together consistently for a few weeks they could be interesting.

23. Colorado Rockies

Congrats to the Rockies for their four-game win streak entering Friday. They’re still near the bottom of the league, but they’ve been pitching incredibly well — especially at home. We still expect them to sell before the deadline, however.

24. Washington Nationals

At some point they have to turn it around… right? Unfortunately, Stephen Strasburg is now out injured (again) and they’re looking up too far at a division that doesn’t figure to fold this year. It might be a sell year in our nation’s capital.

25. Detroit Tigers

Casey Mize is starting to get comfortable in the big leagues, which is a scary proposition for opponents. The Tigers are 5-5 in their last 10 and aren’t the easy win they have been in recent years. Now we wait for the bats to catch up with the arms.

26. Minnesota Twins

Just when you think they might be able to turn things around they lose a couple in a row and look terrible doing it. The loss of Byron Buxton from the lineup was brutal but the overall roster just isn’t performing. It might be a sell year for Minnesota, who were supposed to compete for a division title.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates

They got Ke’Bryan Hayes back from injury (finally) on Thursday, which is a bright light to their future. But the present has been ugly on the mound in Pittsburgh.

28. Baltimore Orioles

They jump a few teams despite having the worst record in the game because they’ve won their last two games entering Friday. It’s been a brutal season for Baltimore but the future is coming. John Means and Cedric Mullins should both be in Denver for the All-Star Game.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks

When your announcer making racist comments during the broadcast takes attention away from a the worst month in the game, you know things have gone way off the rails. Arizona needs to start selling soon, and have some attractive assets to put on the market.

30. Texas Rangers

They enter Friday on a league-worst nine-game losing streak. The For Sale sign should be up in Texas, and Joey Gallo could be a big name that brings back a strong return if they decide he’s available.

 

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