Our first power rankings since the trade deadline.
It’s been almost a full month since we updated our MLB Power Rankings. With the All-Star Game, the draft and then a couple crazy weeks leading up to the most insane trade deadline in history, a lot of teams have either improved or waived a white flag on the 2021 campaign.
However, the playoff races are shaping up to be a hot mess. Some teams surprisingly bought at the deadline (Reds, Braves) while others sold the farm to look to the future (Cubs, Nationals).
Deals have helped some of the teams at/near the top of our list. But health continues to be the biggest concern for some teams with October dreams.
With that, let’s get into our Aug. 6 update of our MLB Power Rankings. As always, let us know what we got right and where we were way off.
1. San Francisco Giants
The Giants, somehow, still have the best record in baseball. Their big play at the deadline was adding Kris Bryant from the Cubs. Their pitching has been strong and their offense has held up its end of the bargain. If you’re willing to embrace the chaos, the Giants appear destined for another postseason.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Are we overhyping the Dodgers again? Maybe. They’re five games back of the Giants in the National League West and just split two games at home against the Astros. But we absolutely love the additions of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner at the deadline. Add to those the return of Corey Seager and the Dodgers look like they want to repeat.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have the best record in the American League and, thanks to the Red Sox becoming incredibly mediocre since the start of July, have started to separate themselves from the pack in the American League East.
4. Houston Astros
The Astros listened to the noise at Dodger Stadium and played through it well. They made some smooth moves to add depth to their bullpen at the deadline and should get Alex Bregman back at some point. Could we get a Dodgers-Astros World Series remix?
5. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox just got Eloy Jimenez back from an injury that kept him out of the lineup all year and should get Luis Robert back in August. Add to that the addition of Craig Kimbrel to their bullpen — giving the Sox the two best closers in baseball this year — and they’re a dangerous proposition for any team down the stretch.
6. New York Yankees
Yes, we’re going to put the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox even though Boston is five games in front of the Bombers. Anthony Rizzo has been better than advertised and the offense is starting to wake up. How/When they get Gerrit Cole back from the COVID list is critical, but the Yankees look like a team that woke up at the deadline.
7. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are 11-14 since the start of July. They’re praying for Chris Sale to return to the rotation and make a big impact but that might be asking too much. They should add Kyle Schwarber to the lineup at some point as well, but they’re sliding the wrong direction right now.
8. Milwaukee Brewers
Based on their record and division lead, the Brewers should be higher on our list. But they have placed a number of significant players, including closer Josh Hader, on the COVID list this week. Like the White Sox, their division isn’t putting much pressure on them but they need to get healthy.
9. Toronto Blue Jays
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might be the only player in the American League who could steal the MVP away from Shohei Ohtani. Toronto is rolling right now and the addition of Jose Berrios to their rotation will make them a tough out down the stretch.
10. Oakland A’s
The addition of Starling Marte was a bold move at the deadline. Oakland also made some tweaks to their bullpen and have had some impressive wins this week. They control their own destiny in the wild card race.
11. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are getting MVP candidate Nick Castellanos back from injury and made a few moves to bolster their bullpen at the deadline. As the National League East battles to be the least-mediocre team, the Reds have a chance to make noise in the Wild Card race.
12. San Diego Padres
Like the Brewers, the Padres slip in our rankings because health is such a massive concern. There is some question whether or not Fernando Tatis Jr. will be able to return this season after another injury, which is a huge blow to their lineup. They made a few nice additions at the deadline, however.
13. Seattle Mariners
So the entire free world is throwing around blockbuster trades at the deadline and Jerry DiPoto stands pat? What the **** is that about? DiPoto (rightfully) believes his young team is on the rise and didn’t want to mortgage prospects to make a potentially fruitless chase of a playoff spot this year. They’re a year or two away from being legit contenders.
14. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies host the Mets for three games this weekend with the top spot in the National League East on the line. They made a big addition to their rotation at the deadline and Bryce Harper is becoming a darkhorse MVP candidate. They might sprint right past the Mets and not look back.
15. New York Mets
For now, the Mets are in first place in the National League East. But the wild card isn’t going to be a reality for any team in the division, so they need to get their act together quickly and turn things around. Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor being out for an extended period of time — at this time of year — isn’t helping.
16. Atlanta Braves
The Braves, like the Phillies, were bold at the deadline because the Mets have refused to put the division away. Atlanta went out and acquired an entire new outfield, adding significant offense in the absence of Ronald Acuña Jr. They should also get Ian Anderson back in their rotation soon.
17. Detroit Tigers
Yup, Detroit is in our top 20. Their young pitching has been terrific and Miguel Cabrera is on the cusp of 500 home runs. For all the hype that other divisions get, the American League Central could be devastating at the top when the Tigers’ youth movement catches up with the White Sox.
18. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Shohei has been doing it alone for a while, but he’s getting help now. Anthony Rendon’s season is over but Mike Trout might be back soon and both Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell look like they’re ready for prime time. This season is a lost one for the Angels but the future may be brighter than we had thought.
19. Colorado Rockies
Give credit where it’s due. The Rockies are 5-5 in their last 10 (albeit with a few against what’s left of the Cubs) and the young players they have stepping in for guys like Nolan Arenado have been solid. Brendan Rogers is legit.
20. St. Louis Cardinals
What the hell are Jon Lester and JA Happ going to do to help the Cardinals get into the playoffs? Is there an AARP special for early admission? They’ve been a massive disappointment this year after going big with the Arenado trade.
21. Miami Marlins
Look, they’re in the basement of a mediocre division but the Marlins have a positive run differential and their young players come to work hard every day. They got tremendous value in the Marte trade; Jesus Luzardo might be their ace in the next couple years, and they have a lot of good, young pitching on the way.
22. Cleveland Guardians
It’s been a bad year in Cleveland, and their rebrand didn’t go over well on social media. But here we are with them headed into the future hoping they can guard a 3-1 lead if they ever get back to the World Series.
23. Kansas City Royals
The Royals only sold Jorge Soler (to Atlanta) at the deadline, which was a bit of surprise given their position in the standings. It’s been a tough season in KC but Bobby Witt Jr. and a group of young pitchers have hopes high in the next 3-4 years.
24. Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore is 5-5 in their last 10 and it’s exciting to watch Cedric Mullins play every day. Adley Rutschman is going to get to the big leagues at some point and, when he does, their offense will start to put fear in people.
25. Washington Nationals
They still have Juan Soto.
26. Minnesota Twins
They traded away two of their fan favorites — Berrios and Nelson Cruz — before the deadline. They get a nod ahead of the Cubs because they have a few young players who are already at the big league level who have been impressive.
27. Chicago Cubs
They traded away three players — Rizzo, Bryant and Javier Báez — who are all hitting in the middle of the lineup for potential playoff teams now. What’s left in Chicago is ugly. We feel terrible for Willson Contreras.
28. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Cubs have been absolutely awful since the start of June but they’re still more than 10 games in front of the Pirates in the standings. They’re praying this year’s draft starts a new era in Pittsburgh baseball.
29. Texas Rangers
Gallo left but they, unlike the Mets, were able to sign the superstar pitcher they drafted out of Vanderbilt. They have deep pockets and a lot of cap space heading into the winter.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks
They didn’t sell as much as the Cubs or Nationals did — and they should have. This is a broken team that needs significant repairs.