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2021 MLB Power Rankings 3.0

By Kyle Glaser

Our third installment of MLB power rankings is here.

We've got a new team at the top of the list after the Dodgers limped through the start of the month and the White Sox embarked on a six-game winning streak. Other notable risers include the Mets, Indians and Yankees.

RELATED: See the top 30 prospects in each MLB farm system

You can find our full 1-30 rankings below. All records and statistics are through May 13, and capsules are written by Kyle Glaser, Mark Chiarelli and Chris Trenkle.

30 Matches
See Full List Expand Collapse All Updated on: 4/30/2021
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    Chicago White Sox


    For all the concerns about manager Tony La Russa’s missteps, the injuries to OFs Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert and slow starts from 1B Jose Abreu, RHP Lucas Giolito and C Yasmani Grandal, the White Sox own the majors’ best record and best run differential at +66. Give credit to unlikely heroes DH Yermin Mercedes and LHP Carlos Rodon, who show no signs of slowing down from their hot starts. Mercedes is on a six-game hitting streak and leads the White Sox in hits (42), batting average (.382), on-base percentage (.424) and slugging percentage (.591). Rodon looks like a Cy Young candidate with a 5-0, 0.58 record in five starts, including his no-hitter, and has raised the ceiling of an already excellent White Sox rotation. With Rodon leading the way, the White Sox have the lowest ERA (3.20) in the American League (CT).

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    San Francisco Giants


    It’s probably time for the Giants to extend RHP Kevin Gausman. The 30-year-old righthander impressed in 2020 and has been even better in seven starts this season, going 3-0, 1.97 with 47 strikeouts and 12 walks in 45.2 innings. Originally considered a candidate to be flipped at the deadline, Gausman instead looks like a front-of-the-rotation starter the Giants will need to contend both now and in the future. (CT)

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    Boston Red Sox


    Boston has cooled off a bit since its nine-game winning streak in April, going 14-12 over its last 26 games, but it still owns baseball’s fourth-best run differential (+36) and the trio of SS Xander Bogaerts, 3B Rafael Devers and DH J.D. Martinez has been as good as any in baseball. Bogaerts leads all qualified shortstops in wRC+ (179), wOBA (.431) and slugging percentage (.603) and is tied for the lead in homers (8). While those three were mostly known commodities entering 2021, Red Sox pitching was not. But SP Garrett Richards (3.89 ERA) and Nick Pivetta (3.19 ERA) have stabilized Boston’s rotation. Richards in particular is one to watch—He’s posted a 2.16 ERA with 26 strikeouts to just five walks over his last four starts, crediting a change to his mechanics for the improved strike-throwing. (MC)

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    Los Angeles Dodgers


    On the one hand, the Dodgers have the most talented roster in baseball. On the other hand, they’re third in their own division and have lost series to losing teams like the Angels, Reds and Cubs in addition to posting losing records against winning teams like the Padres and Brewers. On the whole, there are still plenty of reasons to be bullish. They’ve stayed afloat despite getting battered by a litany of injuries, 1B Max Muncy is heating up with four homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games and all four of their healthy starters have ERAs below 3.50. Particularly encouraging is the continued growth of LHP Julio Urias, who broke through in 2020 and has been even better this season at 5-1, 3.26 with 52 strikeouts and seven walks in 49.2 innings. (CT)

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    Houston Astros


    After a bit of an up-and-down start, the Astros are 14-7 in their last 21 games and own the majors’ second-best run differential at +45. Not coincidentally, that uptick began the day DH Yordan Alvarez made his first start after returning from the Covid-19-related injured list. The 2019 American League Rookie of the Year has been a tour de force this season, batting .350 with seven home runs, 22 RBIs and a .997 OPS that ranks eighth in the major leagues. After missing most of last season following knee surgery, he has returned to his former status as one of the game’s most fearsome hitters. (KG)

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    St. Louis Cardinals


    After a sluggish start, the Cardinals have gone 15-5 in their last 20 games to begin to pull away from the pack in the NL Central. They aren’t great in any one area, but they’re consistently solid across the board and have gotten big recent contributions from OF Dylan Carlson and 3B Nolan Arenado. Carlson ranks third on the team in hits (37), second in batting average (.285) and first in on-base percentage (.364), while Arenado is returning to his all-star form (.842 OPS, 24 RBIs) as predicted. (CT)

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    San Diego Padres


    The Padres have demonstrated impressive resilience this season, and that will be tested again with SS Fernando Tatis Jr., OF Wil Myers, 1B Eric Hosmer, UTIL Jurickson Profar and OF Jorge Mateo all going on the COVID-19-related injured list this week. The driving force behind the Padres success is a vaunted pitching staff that has been as good as advertised, even with Blake Snell struggling. The Padres own an MLB-best 2.82 ERA and are fourth with a 1.12 WHIP. (CT)

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    Oakland Athletics


    RHP Chris Bassitt seems to be getting better with age. At 32 years old, Bassitt is striking out more batters (26% strikeout percentage) and limiting damage (.345 expected slugging percentage) better than ever before. He’s throwing his slider more against righthanded batters and they’re hitting just .087 against it with a 66.7% whiff percentage. His sustained success coupled with the emergence of LHP Cole Irvin (3.29 ERA in seven starts) has stabilized an A’s rotation that is without LHP Jesus Luzardo and RHP Mike Fiers. Neither their 2-7 start or the latest in their ongoing stadium relocation drama seems to have dissuaded the A’s, who are 21-9 over their last 30 games. (MC)

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    New York Mets


    SS Francisco Lindor is hitting .202. RHP Jacob deGrom is on the injured list. The Mets fired hitting coach Chili Davis 23 games into the season. Lindor and 2B Jeff McNeil were involved in a bizarre postgame explanation about rats and raccoons. And yet … the Mets have won seven straight games and are in first place in the NL East. Timely contributions from unheralded members of the roster—C Patrick Mazeika has a pair of walk-off RBIs already this year—are covering up for slow starts from Lindor, McNeil and OF Michael Conforto. And while deGrom rightfully gets top billing in New York’s rotation, RHPs Marcus Stroman (1.99 ERA) and Taijuan Walker (2.20 ERA) have both pitched superbly. (MC)

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    Cleveland Indians


    It’s rare for a reigning Cy Young winner to fly under the radar, but that’s what’s happening with RHP Shane Bieber. While RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jacob deGrom and RHP Corbin Burnes have received most of the attention on the mound this year, Bieber quietly leads the majors in both innings pitched (55) and strikeouts (85) while pitching to a 2.95 ERA. Bieber has pitched at least six innings in every start he’s made this year, something neither Cole, deGrom nor Burnes can claim. (KG)

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    Toronto Blue Jays


    Don’t look now, but the Blue Jays are starting to heat up. Toronto has won six of its last eight games and is now a season-best four games above .500. The Jays are benefiting greatly from a locked-in Teoscar Hernandez: Since returning from the IL on April 30 following a positive Covid-19 diagnosis, Hernandez is hitting .348/.412/.630 with four of his five homers this season. He’s not the only Blue Jays hitter who was eager to see the calendar flip to May, either. 2B Marcus Semien is riding a 12-game hit streak and slugging .705 this month as the former Athletics shortstop settles into the other side of the keystone. (MC)

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    New York Yankees


    The Yankees have gone 11-4 in their last 15 games to shake off their slow start, but the news that eight members of the organization have tested positive for Covid-19 despite being vaccinated is sobering news for reasons beyond baseball. On the field, the starting rotation behind RHP Gerrit Cole is starting to round into form. RHP Corey Kluber (1.80 ERA in his last four starts), LHP Jordan Montgomery (back-to-back quality starts) and RHP Domingo German (2.59 ERA in his last four starts) have all been sharp recently, helping the Yankees own the second-lowest starter’s ERA in the American League behind only the White Sox. (KG)

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    Philadelphia Phillies


    OF Bryce Harper (176 OPS+) and C J.T Realmuto (162 OPS+) are living up to their reputations, and the SP trio of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin all own sub-3.00 FIPs. But the rest of Philadelphia’s lineup in particular is in need of a jolt. The Phillies lead the National League in strikeout percentage (27.3%) and are tied for fourth-worst in wRC+, trailed by only the Brewers, Pirates and Rockies. SS Didi Gregorius and 3B Alec Bohm have combined to hit .223/.257/.348 with 67 strikeouts compared to just 12 walks. (MC)

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    Tampa Bay Rays


    While most of the attention was reserved for the prospects received in the Blake Snell trade, C Francisco Mejia has been the most impactful contributor from the deal so far. Mejia is batting .300/.348/.450 this season and has been surprisingly stout defensively. After being a well below-average catcher throughout the early part of his career, Mejia grades above-average across the board this season by most defensive metrics and has thrown out 43% of attempted basestealers. (KG)

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    Milwaukee Brewers


    The Brewers are starting to get healthy again, with OF Lorenzo Cain returning to the lineup on May 3 and C Omar Narvaez and RHP Corbin Burnes suiting up Thursday against the Cardinals. Burnes looked like his old self, breaking Kenley Jansen’s record of 51 consecutive strikeouts without a walk to start the year. He extended the streak to 58 strikeouts before walking Tommy Edman in the fifth inning. The lineup is still waiting on OF Christian Yelich, but the pitching staff has not missed a beat this season. All five starters have ERAs under 3.60, led by Brandon Woodruff’s 1.64 through eight starts, and LHP Josh Hader is on pace for his best season yet with a 0.61 ERA through 15 starts. (CT)

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    Atlanta Braves


    OF Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the majors with 12 homers and RHP Huascar Ynoa is an early-season revelation. But that’s the extent of the good news so far in 2021 for an enigmatic Braves team fresh off a sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays—the second time Toronto has swept Atlanta this year. The Braves own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA (4.84) in the National League and closer Will Smith was tagged for four runs Thursday. It’s been a disheartening stretch on the injury front, too. OF Cristian Pache is headed back to the 10-day IL for the second time this year, and RHP Mike Soroka is set to undergo exploratory surgery on his Achilles after his rehab stalled. (MC)

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    Chicago Cubs


    Over their last 162 games, the Cubs are 83-79 with a +47 run differential—underwhelming totals considering the once-grand potential of Chicago’s young core. Uncomfortable decisions are looming for the Cubs’ front office. 3B Kris Bryant is hitting .308/.400/.650 with a 180 wRC+ and again looks like the centerpiece of a lineup. But barring an unforeseen turn of luck on the mound—Cubs starters have the second-worst ERA in baseball (5.18)—it seems unlikely Chicago has enough arms to reverse its stretch of mediocrity, casting doubt on the long-term future of this core. (MC)

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    Miami Marlins


    Despite the fact they’ve only been around for 28 years, the Marlins have a pretty decorated rookie history. The Marlins have already had four NL rookie of the year winners, and they’re on pace to have a fifth in LHP Trevor Rogers. The 23-year-old lefthander pitched another gem on Thursday with six innings of one-run ball against the D-backs and is now 5-2, 1.84 in eight starts with 57 strikeouts and 17 walks in 44 innings. There is a lot of season left, but at his current rate, Rogers is in prime position to join LHP Dontrelle Willis (2003), SS Hanley Ramirez (2005), OF Chris Coghlan (2009) and RHP Jose Fernandez (2013) as Marlins to win NL rookie of the year. (KG)

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    Cincinnati Reds


    The concerns about RHP Luis Castillo continue to grow after every start. The righthander got bombed again Thursday and is now 1-5, 7.71 in eight starts with 55 hits allowed, 12 walks and only 29 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. Castillo’s velocity is down 1-2 mph across the board on all of his pitches, and the biggest concern is how hittable he has been. Opponents are batting .344 against Castillo this season after batting .202, .245, .202 and .233 against him in his first four seasons. (KG)

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    Los Angeles Angels


    OF Mike Trout remains the best player in baseball by a wide margin. RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani is doing things that haven’t been done in over a century. The offense ranks in the top 10 in nearly every category despite 3B Anthony Rendon spending most of the season on the injured list, 2B David Fletcher off to a slow start and 1B Albert Pujols hitting .198 before getting DFA’d. And yet, they’re in last place in the AL West and own the third-worst run differential in the majors on account of a dismal pitching staff that just isn’t getting better. The Angels own the worst ERA (5.23) in the majors and have the second-highest WHIP (1.53) of any team. It’s not going to get any easier this weekend as they visit the Red Sox, the highest-scoring team in the majors. (CT)

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    Kansas City Royals


    The Royals were one of baseball’s feel-good stories of April, winning 16 of their first 25 games. But nothing feels good right now in Kansas City. The Royals are in freefall, having lost 11 games in a row while the White Sox and Indians heat up. Two of their boppers, Hunter Dozier (50 OPS+) and Jorge Soler (78 OPS+) are struggling mightily, and not even the resurgence of 32-year-old LHP Danny Duffy can single-handedly carry a Royals rotation that has taken some lumps in May. The good news? While the Royals certainly intended to field a competitive team this year—and have time to reverse course—they still have a gaggle of intriguing arms in the minors to keep fans excited. (MC)

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    Arizona Diamondbacks


    The D-backs continue to be stuck in a vicious cycle of one step forward, two steps back. Just as LHP Madison Bumgarner starts to look like his old self, RHP Zac Gallen goes down with a sprained UCL in his right elbow. Add in injuries to 2B Ketel Marte (hamstring), RHP Taylor Widener (groin), OF Kole Calhoun (knee) and 1B Christian Walker (oblique), and the D-backs depth is thinning quickly as they try to emerge from their current 3-9 skid. (KG)

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    Washington Nationals


    Washington has lost seven of its last nine, which includes getting swept by another beleaguered NL East team (Atlanta) and two excruciating walk-off losses against the Yankees. Offseason addition 1B Josh Bell has been similarly unlucky so far—his .231 wOBA is 83 points behind his expected outcome (.314) despite posting the best hard-hit percentage of his career. Pitching reinforcements are arriving, though, and the Nationals hope they will help reverse their fortunes. LHP Jon Lester has posted a 2.25 ERA in three starts since returning from the IL in late April, and RHP Stephen Strasburg is closing in on a rehab assignment. (MC)

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    Seattle Mariners


    The debuts of OF Jarred Kelenic and RHP Logan Gilbert were exciting for the franchise, but the players that were already in Seattle need to get back on track for the team to turn upward out of its rebuild. The 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis has a .394 slugging percentage, 2B Ty France is mired in a 3-for-48 slump and the team as a whole is batting .201 with a .280 on-base percentage, both worst in the majors. The road doesn’t get much easier with six of their next nine games coming against the Indians and Padres, both of whom rank in the top 10 in ERA in the majors. (KG)

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    Minnesota Twins


    The Twins were hurt by the loss of OF Byron Buxton to a hip strain and have suffered from a lack of offensive production aside from Buxton, 3B Josh Donaldson or DH Nelson Cruz, but the real problem is the pitching staff. The Twins have a 5.85 ERA in May in 11 games, including eight losses, and the back of the rotation is looking awfully thin. The bullpen has been even worse. RHP Alex Colome blew three saves in five opportunities and was removed from the closer role, while LHP Caleb Thielbar and RHP Tyler Duffey have posted ERAs above 5.20 after being reliable options in 2020. (CT)

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