The MLB Power Rankings are out for Week 24. There are three teams in the top five, with the Dodgers holding down first place.
The mlb power rankings 2021 is a weekly ranking of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams. This week, the top five teams are the Brewers, Mets, Astros, Rays and Cardinals.
The MLB playoffs in 2021 are less than a week away, with just one week before the calendar flips to October. But there’s still a lot to play for in the closing days of the regular season, from division championships to playoff berths to the No. 1 selection in the 2022 MLB draft.
In their fight for the National League West title, do the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants retain the top position in our rankings? As three American League East clubs compete for two AL wild-card places, do our voters rank the Toronto Blue Jays ahead of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox? Are the Baltimore Orioles or the Arizona Diamondbacks at the bottom of our list?
Based on what they discovered throughout the 2021 season, the members of our eight-voter expert panel came to the following conclusions. We also asked ESPN baseball analysts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Joon Lee, Jesse Rogers, and Alden Gonzalez to provide one Week 24 observation for each of the 30 clubs.
Week 23 | Week 22 | Week 21 | Week 20 | Week 19 | Week 18 | Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1
97-55 is the score. Previous position: 2
Cody Bellinger’s dreadful season took another turn on Tuesday, when the Dodgers put the 2019 NL MVP on the disabled list with a left rib fracture, according to the club. Bellinger’s season may be coming to an end. If that’s the case, 337 plate appearances would result in an unsightly.159/.237/.291 slash line. Fortunately for the Dodgers, new left fielder Gavin Lux seems to have regained his swing, while AJ Pollock was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday. However, Chris Taylor, who was platooning with Bellinger in the middle, is still out with a neck issue. Gonzalez’s words
99-53 is the current record. 1st place previously
Since the beginning of August, the Dodgers have won 24 games but have been unable to gain distance on the Giants in the National League West. Given the depth of skill on the Dodgers’ roster, another division championship has long looked inescapable. The Giants, on the other hand, keep winning and seem to be getting stronger as October approaches. Tuesday was their 40th comeback victory of the season, the most in the National League. Gonzalez’s words
94-59 is the score. 3rd place before.
With Wander Franco approaching his return from the disabled list, the Tampa Bay Rays, who are currently in first place in the AL East, continue to prepare for the playoffs. While the organization is focused on immediate success, the Rays are constantly looking ahead: Shane Baz made his big league debut, pitching five innings and striking out five batters. Lee —
91-61 is the score. Previous position: 4
The Brewers, like the White Sox in the AL, have been reluctant to spark the clinching celebration. That, however, is going to happen. The more significant news is that after a brief time on the IL, righty Freddy Peralta is starting to look more and more like himself. Over the course of his last 12 innings, covering two starts, he has only allowed three runs, one of which came against baseball’s hottest club, the Cardinals. In the playoffs, he should be a good match as the Brewers’ No. 3 starter behind Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. Willy Adames’ return from injury may be the last piece of the Brewers’ preparation. They’re almost back to full strength now. Rogers’ comment
91-61 is the score. Previous position: 5
Alex Bregman has been off the IL for almost a month after missing more than two months due to a quad injury. He has hit.333/.409/.481 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 22 games. Bregman’s line from the truncated 2020 season, in which he went deep only six times in 42 games, continues to be a trend. Bregman has averaged 21 long balls per 162 games played after hitting a career-high 41 home runs in 2019. Given how much of Bregman’s postseason damage has come through the home run, the Astros would want to see him demonstrate an increase in power between now and the conclusion of the regular season. Doolittle’s quote
85-67 is the current record. Previous position: 6
The Blue Jays conclude the season with games against the Twins, Yankees, and Orioles with the hopes of securing a wild-card spot in the American League. Alek Manoah, a rookie pitcher in Toronto’s rotation, continues to impress. While Manoah battled with control in his most recent start against Tampa Bay, walking six hitters in six innings pitched, he struck out seven and only allowed two runs. If Toronto reaches the playoffs, he’ll be vying for a place in the rotation alongside Steven Matz. Lee —
85-66 is the score. Previous position: 7
Consider before and after pictures using Eloy Jimenez’s return from the IL as the dividing line to contextualize the White Sox’s worrisome second-half lethargy, but this is just symbolic and not to lay the blame at Jimenez. On July 26, Jimenez returned to the lineup. The injury-plagued White Sox had a.596 winning percentage and the fourth-best run differential in baseball at the time, as well as fourth-place finishes in runs scored and fewest runs allowed. Since then, the Cubs have improved their health and are now.500, with the 10th-best run differential in baseball, 13th in runs and ninth in runs allowed. Terrible? No. Is this a World Series contender? No. Over the next 10 days, Tony LaRussa and his staff must find out why the team has failed to maintain consistency as it has grown healthier throughout the season. Doolittle’s quote
88-65 is the score. Previous position: 10
As the Red Sox extend their winning run and take the lead in the AL wild-card rankings, Boston has gone all-in on superstition, donning their controversial yellow City Connect jerseys. The Red Sox placed reliever Garrett Whitlock on the disabled list with a right pectoral strain, a major blow for the bullpen, when the team is riding a tide of success. After a season marred by plate discipline issues, rookie first baseman Bobby Dalbec has had a great September. Lee —
86-67 is the current record. Previous position: 9
Following a series victory against the Rangers, the Yankees retain their lead in the wild-card chase over the Red Sox and Blue Jays. New York has games against Boston and Toronto, as well as first-place Tampa Bay, to complete the season. Luis Severino, who threw two shutout innings in his first game since 2019, wants to help the team’s bullpen down the stretch. Lee —
80-70 is the new record. Previous position: 8
Both Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley have the potential to hit 30 home runs and hit.300, which has only occurred 22 times in Braves history, including Freeman in 2016. (the only such season since 2004). Felipe Alou and Joe Torre in 1966, Chipper Jones and Andres Galarraga in 1998, and Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones in 2000 were the only players to achieve the feat three times in the same season. Schoenfield’s
82-70 is the score. Previous position: 11
In the wild-card chase, the Athletics are looking up at the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox, with a difficult run of games against division rivals the Mariners and Astros looming. Right-hander Chris Bassitt will make his comeback to the mound against the M’s on Thursday, only five weeks after being hospitalized after being struck in the head by a 100 mph line drive. Lee —
82-69 is the score. Previous position: 13
They’re the buzz of baseball after going on a 10-game winning run at the most crucial time of the season. It may push Mike Shildt into the conversation for Manager of the Year, as he dealt with a slew of ailments on the mound. The Cardinals made it through and are now flourishing. That’s more than you can say about another club dealing with pitching problems right now: the Cardinals are everything the Padres aren’t right now. Though veterans like Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado have helped the Cards throughout the season, it’s been young players like Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson who have handled the burden recently, with both having an OPS of over 1.000 in the last seven days. Rogers’ comment
76-75 is the score. 15th place before.
The Padres were swept by the Cardinals over the weekend, with Manny Machado screaming at Fernando Tatis Jr. throughout the series. Then came rumors that manager Jayce Tingler was losing the respect of his own players, a situation that sources had been hinting at for many weeks. The Padres are in free decline, and it’s possible that they’ll be looking forward to next season shortly. And, given the direction of their squad, next season is critical; a new manager may be required. Gonzalez’s words
83-69 is the current record. Previous position: 12
Jarred Kelenic is finally adjusting, hitting.265/.324/.618 in September with six home runs and 15 RBIs going into Wednesday’s game. Of course, his OPS+ of 69 is still awful, but consider this: Since 1961, 110 players with at least 300 PAs in their age-20 through age-22 seasons have had an OPS+ of 80 or lower. Hall of Famers Ron Santo, Ted Simmons, Gary Carter, and Robin Yount, as well as Dale Murphy and Sammy Sosa, and recent excellent hitters Carlos Gonzalez and Jose Ramirez, are among them. Schoenfield’s
78-74 is the score. 14th place before.
If the Reds don’t reach the playoffs, Cincinnati supporters will surely have nightmares about the Pirates this winter. The Pirates have been a thorn in the Reds’ side recently, defeating them three times in the last week. Even the Reds’ victories have been close, with Cincinnati avoiding a recent sweep with a 1-0 victory. While Joey Votto and Kyle Farmer have been on fire, outfielder Nick Castellanos has been chilly for the most of the season. Over the last seven days, Castellanos has a.269 on-base percentage. The Reds’ chances of making the playoffs are dwindling. Rogers’ comment
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78-74 is the score. Previous position: 16
Bryce Harper currently leads all National League position players in WAR, as his case for MVP gains traction, despite the Phillies’ lagging behind the Braves. In Tuesday’s extra-inning victory against the Orioles, he had a quiet MVP moment. Instead of intentionally walking Harper and putting the winning run on base, the Orioles chose to throw to J.T. Realmuto, who tripled into the right-field corner to drive in Ronald Torreyes and a hustling Harper. (I’m not sure why that was called a triple since Harper barely got on base.) The Phillies were able to win the game despite their dread of pitching to Harper. Schoenfield’s
74-76 is the current record. Previous position: 18
As Cleveland tries to continue its winning streak and hang on to a distant second place in the AL Central, one cause of this year’s dismal result should be considered. The starting rotation has been the club’s most underachieving unit in terms of preseason expectations, the basic basis on which any chance of near-term contention was constructed. With a 4.80 rotation ERA, Cleveland is 23rd in the majors, and the Indians starters are a combined 44-49, good for a.473 winning percentage. However, with Aaron Civale just returning from the IL and ace Shane Bieber set to return to the major league pitch this weekend, now is a good time to consider what the picture looks like moving ahead. When pitching in the rotation, the core five Cleveland starters — Bieber, Civale, Zach Plesac, Cal Quantrill, and Triston McKenzie — have gone 40-23 for a.635 winning percentage and a collective ERA (3.85) that ranks 10th among starting staffs in the majors. Outside of that quintet, starters have gone 4-26, indicating that Cleveland has to improve its depth. The Cleveland plan’s basis, though, remains solid. Doolittle’s quote
73-79 is the score. Previous position: 17
One of the most difficult choices the Mets will have to make this summer is what to do with Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith, who both had dismal seasons at the bat. In 2020, Smith got 32 extra-base hits in 177 at-bats, while in 2021, he only had 29 in 434 at-bats. McNeil had a career.319 average when he entered 2021, but he has only hit.252 with no power. Is it better for the Mets to depend on these two in 2022 or to seek for replacements? Schoenfield’s
74-78 is the score. Previous position: 20
Earlier this month, catcher Jake Rogers had Tommy John surgery, adding to the uncertainty surrounding the Detroit catching position. Eric Haase, the finest of this year’s group, has put up a career season thanks to a mid-career power explosion and some new positional flexibility. Nonetheless, Haase’s offensive value is completely dependent on his 22 home runs, and his defensive value is based on his overall flexibility rather than his numbers at the bat. He may be a part of next year’s catcher solution, but with Rogers’ health unclear, an experienced, defense-first type would seem to be high on the front office’s priority list this summer. Unfortunately, baseball is a position of shortage, so Al Avila and his colleagues may have to be inventive. Manny Pina of the Milwaukee Brewers is one of the forthcoming free agents with the sort of excellent framing statistics you want from a backstop who will work with the Tigers’ youthful staff, but other free agents like Yan Gomes and Sandy Leon could also be worth a look. Doolittle’s quote
72-80 is the current record. Previous position: 19
With the Angels, all that’s left to watch is Shohei Ohtani, but sometimes that’s enough. Take, for example, the last several days. Ohtani threw eight innings of two-run ball against the Athletics on Sunday, striking out ten batters to raise his ERA to 3.28 after 1231/3 innings. He hit a 445-foot home shot against the Astros on Tuesday, becoming the first player in 14 years to hit 45 home runs and steal 20 bases in a same season. Clearly ridiculous. Gonzalez’s words
71-80 is the score. 22nd in the previous ranking
The Rockies are… passable? They’ve been at or above.500 in each of the last four months, including September, and are beginning to see some promising performances from players who might be considered part of their rebuilding process. Their road problems have perplexed them all season, but they just completed a 7-2 trip to the East Coast, with two of those series against the Braves and Phillies. Rockies manager Bud Black recently said, “We’d like to believe we’re more this club in the second half than the team we were in the first half.” Gonzalez’s words
69-83 is the score. Previous position: 21
The Royals’ recent juggling of front-office positions in Kansas City may be a sign of how things will alter under second-year owner John Sherman’s leadership. That is, they are unlikely to alter anything. Continuity and stability have always been trademarks of the Royals organization, regardless of who wrote the checks, and it’s a strategy that works in the Kansas City market. To be fair, there have been moments when the Royals’ dedication to their fans has bordered on apathy, as as during the franchise’s lengthy playoff absence from 1986 to 2013. Sherman, a lifelong Royals fan, seems to understand the difference between where the team was before Dayton Moore and his staff took control in 2006 and where it is now: a far better position. Doolittle’s quote
64-88 is the score. Previous position: 23
Jesus Sanchez, Lewis Brinson, and Bryan De La Cruz have been the main outfielders of late. With a.493 slugging percentage, Sanchez has showed some pop and seems to be a starter for 2022. De La Cruz has shown some offensive potential as well, with an.841 OPS, but it is mostly due to a high.397 BABIP; his supporting statistics isn’t as spectacular. Brinson has 1,000 MLB plate appearances and continues to struggle with strikeouts and pitch recognition; he may be a backup, but the Marlins may decide to let him go. Schoenfield’s
67-85 is the current record. Previous position: 25
There are numerous reasons why pointing this out isn’t really fair, but we’re going to do it anyway. The 16 pitchers who have started games for the Twins this season had a collective record of 34-55 until Tuesday. Jose Berrios, who won seven games before being traded to Toronto, and Michael Pineda, who has also won seven games, albeit one of them was in relief, are the leaders in wins. Before the season concludes, Pineda should have at least two more starts to add to his team-leading number. The Senators/Twins have only failed to produce a pitcher who has won at least eight games once before, and it was during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Here’s the portion that I think is unjust: The Twins starters have won 34 games with 112 weeks remaining in the 2021 season. Walter Johnson, the great righty, established the club record most victories in a season with 36 in 1913. — Doolittle
67-85 is the current record. Previous position: 24
Since the trade deadline, opposing clubs have been pleased by Cubs batters. When the clubs met recently, Brewers manager Craig Counsell singled out first baseman Frank Schwindel, who then went out and homered against Milwaukee pitching the next day. Pitching, on the other hand, is a different matter. For a young group, it’s been a difficult journey. Cubs pitchers had the highest ERA in MLB only a week ago, at 8.75. That figure isn’t going to help you win many games. Rogers’ comment
The MLB season of 2021 will be broadcast on ESPN and the ESPN App.
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
Cardinals-Cubs at 2 p.m. on ESPN; Yankees-Red Sox at 7 p.m. on ESPN; Braves-Padres at 10 p.m. on ESPN
Sunday, September 26th, 7 p.m. on ESPN, Yankees vs. Red Sox
Padres at. Dodgers, Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 10 p.m. on ESPN
63-89 is the score. Previous position: 26
Other than Soto’s.490 mark in the shorter 2020 seasons, Juan Soto has the best OBP since Joey Votto’s.474 record in 2012. The only player under the age of 22 with a better OBP is Ted Williams, who hit.553 in 1941, the same year he hit.406. Bryce Harper is third on the list with.460, while Eddie Mathews’.423 in 1954 is the next best since World War II. Soto has also passed Fernando Tatis Jr. for the lead in WAR among NL position players, according to Baseball-Reference. Schoenfield’s
55-97 is the score. Previous position: 27
The Rangers have once again become a punching bag. They’re being hammered by the Yankees as well. Texas pitchers have had a rough week, with an ERA of 6.75, the highest in the American League. Texas went 0-5 in those games, which is predictable. After two strong starts, youngster A.J. Alexy ran into a snag. In his last seven innings, he’s given up 10 runs. Kolby Allard, a 24-year-old pitcher, had similar issues, allowing 10 runs in his last eight innings. Even in defeats, the Rangers want to chalk it up to growing pains and gaining valuable experience. Rogers’ comment
57-94 is the score. Previous position: 28
After many difficult periods this season, the Pirates’ pitching finally showed signs of life. Last week, Wil Crowe, Mitch Keller, and Bryse Wilson all pitched well in the rotation, while youngster Dillon Peters continues to impress despite a poor effort against the Reds on Monday. It will be interesting to see how Peters reacts in his next appearance. Rogers’ comment
48-104 is the score. Previous position: 29
As the Diamondbacks enter the summer, many questions remain unanswered, including manager Torey Lovullo’s future and the degree of aggression with this next reconstruction. One thing that seems clear, according to general manager Mike Hazen, is that the D-backs will no longer be as ambitious with their defensive flexibility. It’s all the rage in the sport, but it’s not nearly as successful if the right people aren’t on board. The D-backs feel that using that flexibility has caused players to spend too much time in places where they are not comfortable, causing their defense to suffer as a result. Gonzalez’s words
48-104 is the score. 30th in the previous ranking
The Orioles are in a different kind of competition right now, as they compete with the Diamondbacks for the first overall selection in the 2022 draft. Cedric Mullins remains a bright light in the lineup, sitting in the top ten among all position players in bWAR, ahead of Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and Manny Machado. Mullins is one home run shy of completing a 30/30 season, with 29 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Lee —
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