Sports

MLB Power Rankings: Finding positivity for all 30 teams in the regular season’s final month

Every Sunday morning, I wake up with something in the back of my mind. I need to find a power rankings intro topic. Sometimes material just presents itself. Given that this is about Major League Baseball, most of the time it’s a baseball topic presenting itself. This time around, I stumbled into something else. 

While scrolling through Facebook, which is, admittedly, usually a pretty terrible choice, I saw an ad for a roller coaster at an amusement park I attend usually once a year. It’s a very good coaster. For whatever reason — again, a terrible choice — I clicked through to the comments and found a sea of negativity. And I just got so annoyed. Not particularly about this ride. Of the 75 or so coasters I’ve been on, it probably ranks in my 8-12 range. This was not like if someone said “Curb Your Enthusiasm is an awful show.” Those are fighting words. No, my state of being annoyed was regarding how easy it is to find a bunch of people complaining about … anything. Everything. 

Remember the adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself”? Yeah, that’s been replaced by “make sure as many people as possible on the Internet hear how much you hate this.” 

I’m not innocent here. Few are. This place called the Internet has become a festering cesspool of telling everyone how much seemingly everything is horrible. 

In an effort to balance things out, we’re gonna channel WWE’s New Day here and use the power of positivity. 

The 2021 Major League Baseball season has been amazing! We have crowds back, we have a full season again after whatever 2020 was. There aren’t a ton of races going down to the wire, but there enough to keep our attention and the playoffs are setting up to be epic, with a clear-cut elite tier of teams that doesn’t have a big-time favorite. 

Remember when we talked about the elite, young talent of Mike Trout, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper? Those guys still aren’t old, but then a crop of talent headlined by Ronald Acuña, Jr. and Juan Soto came along. And those guys are even old hat now, because Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. have taken over. That state of the exciting talent in the league is off-the-charts great. 

Oh, and there’s Shohei Ohtani. You know, the guy leading the majors with 43 homers who has also stolen 22 bases and is 9-1 with a sub-3.00 ERA on the mound. The dude who was the number one seed in the Home Run Derby and started the All-Star Game as a pitcher the next day. 

There is just so much beauty in this game. We can all take a few moments to drop the constant screaming of negativity and appreciate it. 

In that spirit, I’ll find a way to make a positive comment about all 30 teams. Let’s do this! 

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

 

Chg

Rcrd


1


Giants

I don’t think a single projection system in the spring had the Giants winning 85-plus games all season. With four weeks to go, they are already over that. 87-50

2


Dodgers

Walker Buehler is one of the NL frontrunners for Cy Young, Sunday night notwithstanding. If he takes it, he would become the ninth Cy Young winner for the Dodgers. They already have the record with 12 Cy Youngs (Kershaw and Koufax have three apiece). 86-51

3


Rays

The franchise record in wins (97) is within reach. They are going to make the playoffs for the third straight year, which hasn’t happened before. Ditto for back-to-back AL East titles. We appear to be in the Golden Era of Rays baseball. 86-51

4


Brewers

The franchise hasn’t seen a Cy Young winner since 1982 (Pete Vuckovich, who also brilliantly played Clu Heywood in Major League). Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff both have a real shot to take the honors this year. 1 84-54

5


Astros

You know who rules? Dusty Baker. Keep on keepin’ on, my good man. 1 79-57

6


White Sox

They are going to win more than 90 games. The last time that happened? 2005. Who won the World Series that year? 1 79-58

7


Red Sox

Despite COVID raging through the clubhouse and shutting down upward of a dozen people, the Red Sox won their first four games in September. 2 79-60

8


Yankees

Giancarlo Stanton can carry a team when he gets really hot. He’s homered in eight of his last 16 games. 2 78-58

9


Blue Jays

That offense, man. When they are full strength, they are absolute killers. On Friday night, they were down by six runs with only four outs to go. They scored nine runs while only making one more out. 4 73-62

10


Mariners

Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager both recently topped the 30-homer mark. This is only the second time since 2000 the Mariners have had multiple players get there (2016 being the other). Seager actually has a career high now with 33 in his age-33 season. 2 75-62

11


Padres

There has only been one Padres’ MVP in club history (Ken Caminiti, 1996). The path is clear for Fernando Tatis Jr. 3 73-64

12


Braves

How about this Austin Riley breakout, huh? He leads the NL in total bases at age 24. 4 72-64

13


Athletics

Starling Marte is now 20 for 20 in stolen base attempts in just 33 games for the A’s. 3 74-63

14


Cardinals

From Aug. 5-Sept. 1, Paul Goldschmidt hit .383/.454/.723. He had 15 multi-hit games out of 24. 2 69-66

15


Reds

The only player in history to reach base more than Joey Votto in a Reds uniform is Pete Rose and Pete had more than 4,000 more plate appearances than Votto has. 4 73-65

16


Mets

Look, it’s true that no one covered themselves in glory last week, but they’ve now righted the ship and have won seven of eight. Also, since returning from injury, Javier Báez is hitting .313 with five doubles, four homers and 11 runs scored in 13 games. 2 69-68

17


Phillies

Have they righted the ship? The Phillies aren’t dead yet. They’ve won seven of nine. 2 70-66

18


Indians

Emmanual Clase has all the signs of a stellar closer for years to come. Dude has a triple-digit cutter! 1 68-66

19


Angels

Heading into the year, if I told you Mike Trout would have played 36 games and Anthony Rendon only 58, how many games would you have said they’d win? It’s pretty remarkable they’ve remained respectable. 68-69

20


Rockies

The Rockies are one of the best teams in baseball (at home). 63-74

21


Tigers

Casey Mize is the team leader in WAR while rounding into form as a frontline starter. He was the first overall pick in 2018, so this is going very well thus far. 65-73

22


Royals

The only primary catchers in baseball history to hit 40 homers in a season? Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, Roy Campanella, Javy Lopez, Todd Hundley and … Salvador Perez. Bench has the record at 45 and Sal has four weeks left. 61-75

23


Cubs

Rafeal Ortega, Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom have hit better, collectively, this season than Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez. 3 63-75

24


Marlins

Do not judge Sandy Alcantara by his record. He’s having a very good season. In fact, along with him, Trevor Rogers and some quality depth, the Marlins should have an excellent rotation next season. 57-80

25


Twins

Byron Buxton has made it back for nine games without getting hurt. He went 2 for 5 with a double on Sunday. Fingers crossed this keeps going for a long time. 2 59-77

26


Nationals

How about Lane Thomas? The 25-year-old outfielder has been killing the ball since coming over in the Jon Lester trade. 1 56-80

27


Rangers

They’ve won 47 games! If we drop all context, 47 is a big number. It would take a great football team — as Texans know plenty about — years to put together a whopping 47 wins. 2 48-88

28


Pirates

Bryan Reynolds needs a lot more love nationally. He’s approaching 5.0 WAR and he’ll get there soon enough. When he does, he’ll be the first Pirates position player to do so since 2015, when both Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte were at exactly 5.0. As such, this is the best individual Pirates season we’ve seen in over five years. 1 48-89

29


Diamondbacks

Unfortunately he missed a lot of time due to injury, but Ketel Marte has been a lot more 2019 than 2020 this season and that’s a great sign he can be the star here moving forward. 1 45-93

30


Orioles

The Orioles went into the Bronx and took two of three from the Yankees, who are desperately trying to hold onto a playoff spot. 43-92



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