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2021 MLB September Power Rankings



By Kyle Glaser

30 Matches
See Full List Expand Collapse All Updated on: 9/17/2021
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    San Francisco Giants

    95-52
    Notes:

    Two years after the Nationals won the World Series as the oldest team in baseball, the Giants are once again proving old guys can still play. The Giants offense features the oldest average age in MLB this year, and yet they lead the National League in home runs, rank second in runs scored and are top three in just about every other major category. Buster Posey (34), Brandon Belt (33), Brandon Crawford (34) and Evan Longoria (35) are all hitting at least .260 with OPS’ above .880. The pitching staff is the fifth oldest in MLB, too, and has the second-lowest ERA in the majors.

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    Los Angeles Dodgers

    94-53
    Notes:

    The Dodgers’ 2021 trade deadline is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory. Not only is RHP Max Scherzer 6-0, 0.88 through his first eight starts, but 2B Trea Turner has quietly hit .303 with 17 extra-base hits and an .832 OPS in 37 games. With those two in tow, it’s no coincidence the Dodgers have the best record in baseball (32-10) since the trade deadline.

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    Tampa Bay Rays

    91-56
    Notes:

    The Rays are the only team in the AL with at least 90 wins and are in pole position for home-field advantage. Clinching it will be particularly important for the pitching staff. The Rays have a 2.97 ERA at home this year compared to a 4.59 ERA on the road.

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    Milwaukee Brewers

    89-57
    Notes:

    The Brewers’ midseason acquisition of SS Willy Adames has rightly received praise for stabilizing their infield defense, but an unsung benefit was it allowed Luis Urias to move to his more natural positions and focus on hitting. Urias has hit .207/.306/.362 when he plays shortstop this season. He is batting .282/.367/.498 when he plays second or third base. Once Adames returns from the injured list and Urias goes back to third base, the Brewers will receive a boost both offensively and defensively.

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    Houston Astros

    86-60
    Notes:

    The best hitter in the American League the last four months? That would be OF Kyle Tucker. Tucker is hitting an MLB-best .338 since May 9 and has an AL-best 1.024 OPS in that time. The 24-year-old outfielder showed signs of breaking out last year and was victimized by some rotten luck at the start of this season. Now that his luck has turned, Tucker’s performance has outpaced everyone in the AL, including MVP favorites Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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    Chicago White Sox

    83-63
    Notes:

    The White Sox are too far behind the Rays to realistically clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but they are in striking distance of the Astros for the No. 2 seed to ensure they at least have home field in the Division Series. That will be critical for the White Sox, who are 34-36 on the road and the only division leader with a losing record away from home.

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    Toronto Blue Jays

    82-64
    Notes:

    How explosive has the Blue Jays offense been during their current 16-3 run? Well, for starters, they’re averaging 7.05 runs per game. As a team, they are hitting .299/.378/.557. Put another way, the Blue Jays offense has basically been a lineup of Aaron Judges these last three weeks. Judge is batting .289/.375/.538 this year, numbers the Blue Jays are actually exceeding in all three categories.

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    Boston Red Sox

    83-65
    Notes:

    The Red Sox have had 12 players test positive for Covid-19 since Aug. 27, including LHP Chris Sale, SS Xander Bogaerts and OF/2B Kiké Hernandez. To the Red Sox’s credit, they’ve remarkably held serve. The Red Sox are 10-9 since their outbreak began and remain tied for the second American League wild card spot. If the Red Sox are able to hold on and reach the playoffs, staying afloat during this stretch will have been one of the turning points of their season.

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    Atlanta Braves

    76-68
    Notes:

    With little fanfare, 1B Freddie Freeman has been one of the best players in baseball the last three months. After an uncharacteristically slow start, the reigning NL MVP is batting .345/.419/.563 in his last 85 games dating back to June 10. 3B Austin Riley is considered the Braves’ top MVP candidate, but Freeman has actually surpassed Riley for the team lead in hits (160), homers (30), and OPS (.902) with his torrid summer performance.

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    San Diego Padres

    76-70
    Notes:

    Much has been made of the Padres brutal schedule to end the season. The good news? The Padres seem to play to the level of their competition and have held their own against winning teams this season. The Padres are 36-31 against teams with winning records this year and 40-39 against teams .500 or worse. They managed to split their four-game road series against the Giants and now face one of their biggest series of the season: a three-game series in St. Louis against a Cardinals team that currently leads them by a ½ game for the final NL wild card spot.

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    Oakland Athletics

    79-67
    Notes:

    At this point, the A’s bid for a fourth consecutive postseason berth will come down to whether their bullpen can hang on. The A’s are 11-18 since Aug. 14, the second-worst record in the AL in that time behind only the Orioles. The main reason is a bullpen that has a 5.81 ERA and has blown nine of 16 save opportunities in that span.

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    St. Louis Cardinals

    76-69
    Notes:

    While most of the focus was on the Padres and Reds for the second National League wild card, the Cardinals quietly snuck in and now hold that final NL playoff spot. The Cardinals have won seven of their last eight games, including winning a series against the Reds, and have a prime opportunity this weekend to distance themselves from their other wild card pursuer—they open a three-game series at home against the Padres today.

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    New York Yankees

    82-65
    Notes:

    How bad have the Yankees been lately? Well, they are 6-13 in their last 19 games, the worst record in the American League in that time. Yes, even worse than the Orioles, who are 7-12 in the same stretch after walking off on the Yankees on Thursday night. With the skid, the Yankees are now in fourth place in their own division and have dropped out of a wild card spot.

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    Seattle Mariners

    78-68
    Notes:

    OF Jarred Kelenic has slowly but surely been getting a little better each month. After hitting .096 in his first big league stint, Kelenic hit .154 in July after he was called back up, hit .196 in August and is batting .235 in September. While the numbers don’t jump off the page, the upward trend is certainly something positive Kelenic and the Mariners can take from his rookie season.

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    Cincinnati Reds

    76-71
    Notes:

    While the Reds have had many players step up to push them into wild-card contention, SS Kyle Farmer has been the unsung hero of their season. With the Reds desperately needing a shortstop, Farmer stepped in and has hit .299/.340/.493 since July 1 while playing well above-average defense. Farmer’s six outs above average, as measured by Statcast, ranks eighth among all MLB shortstops.

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    Philadelphia Phillies

    74-72
    Notes:

    As much as the Phillies have been frustrating this season, they still have a golden opportunity to make the playoffs. The Phillies enter the weekend three games behind the Braves in the NL East. Only three of their final 16 games will be played against a team with a winning record. With seven games against the Orioles and Pirates in particular, the Phillies have a chance to gain ground quickly if they take care of business against lesser foes.

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    New York Mets

    72-75
    Notes:

    Giving fans the thumbs down aside, SS/2B Javier Baez has been the best version of himself since joining the Mets at the trade deadline. Baez is batting .300/.368/.583 with nine home runs in 33 games since arriving in New York and, most importantly, has cut his strikeout rate from 36% with the Cubs to 27% with the Mets. It hasn’t been enough to keep the Mets from sliding—they are 17-27 since the trade deadline, the fourth-worst record in the NL—but Baez has at least given himself a chance to land a better deal in free agency than he was previously facing.

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    Cleveland Indians

    71-73
    Notes:

    As the Indians move closer to their first losing season since 2012, one encouraging sign for the future has been the development of RHP Cal Quantrill. Since moving into the rotation for good in mid June, Quantrill has posted a 2.79 ERA in 18 starts while holding batters to a .218/.288/.366 slash line. Overall on the season, it’s Quantrill—not RHPs Zach Plesac, Triston McKenzie or the injured Shane Bieber—who leads the Indians in ERA (2.89) and innings pitched (137).

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    Los Angeles Angels

    72-74
    Notes:

    Unless the Angels can rally in these final weeks, they will finish with a losing record for the sixth consecutive season. That has happened only once in franchise history: when they had seven straight losing seasons from 1971-77. The fact the franchise’s worst stretch in more than 40 years has come with two of the most talented players in baseball history on their roster speaks to how bad their supporting cast has been, and what needs to be fixed to ensure the peaks of OF Mike Trout and RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani aren’t wasted.

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    Detroit Tigers

    70-77
    Notes:

    The Tigers already have their most wins since 2016 and have taken some welcome steps forward in their rebuild. With RHP Casey Mize and LHP Tarik Skubal leading the way, the Tigers rotation has posted a perfectly respectable 4.20 ERA this year, 14th in the majors. Now, with 1B Spencer Torkelson and OF Riley Greene in Triple-A, the Tigers may not have to wait long for their offense to receive a similar boost.

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    Colorado Rockies

    68-78
    Notes:

    After years of being sidetracked by injuries, 2B/SS Brendan Rodgers is finally showing why he was the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect five years in a row. Rodgers has hit .281/.330/.457 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs through 87 games in his first extended playing time in the majors. Even taking the park factors of Coors Field into account, that’s league-average performance (100 OPS+) while playing both middle infield spots defensively in what is really his first season.

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    Kansas City Royals

    66-80
    Notes:

    The progress of SS Nicky Lopez has been a pleasant development in an otherwise unpleasant season for the Royals. Lopez is batting an even .300 with a .370 on-base percentage while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at shortstop. Lopez’s 12 outs above average, as measured by Statcast, are tied for second-most in MLB behind only D’backs shortstop Nick Ahmed.

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    Chicago Cubs

    66-81
    Notes:

    It’s unlikely anyone on the Cubs roster will still be in Chicago the next time the team is competitive, but 1B Frank Schwindel is making a case to stick around. The 29-year-old journeyman has flourished with his first consistent playing time in the majors, hitting .341 with 13 homers, 38 RBIs and a 1.028 OPS in 49 games with the Cubs. With the Cubs lacking a first base candidate in their farm system as currently constructed, Schwindel has a chance to make the job his if he keeps this up.

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    Miami Marlins

    62-84
    Notes:

    Much is made of RHP Jacob deGrom’s lack of run support with the Mets, but RHP Sandy Alcantara has also had rotten luck when it comes to his offense supporting him. Alcantara has a 2.90 ERA in 31 career no-decisions and has been particularly left out to dry this season. Among the starts this year he’s received a no-decision: 9 IP, 1 ER; 7 IP, 0 ER; 8 IP, 1 ER; and 7 IP, 1 ER. He’s even taken a loss in games where he delivered the following performances: 8 IP, 1 ER; 8.1 IP, 1 R (unearned); and 8 IP, 2 ER.

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    Minnesota Twins

    64-86
    Notes:

    One positive in an otherwise miserable season for the Twins has been the resurgence of 2B/SS Jorge Polanco. After receiving a five-year contract extension and making his first All-Star Game in 2019, Polanco had his worst season offensively in 2020 and was moved off of shortstop after the season. Polanco has quietly rebounded in a big way in 2021, batting .276/.330/.516 with 30 home runs, 88 RBIs and 10 stolen bases to reassert his place among the game’s most productive middle infielders.

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