ESNY’s 2021 MLB Power Rankings: August 27 Update

Do we have a new No. 1?

Tab Bamford

Tab Bamford

Can the Yankees be stopped? Can the Dodgers catch the Giants? And how did the Orioles actually win a game?

Ah, the pressing questions we ask as August draws to a close. The playoff races are red-hot. And some teams are limping to the finish line of the 2021 season.

Let’s jump into this week’s MLB Power Rankings.

1. San Francisco Giants

The Giants remain No. 1 on our list because they continue to have the best record in baseball. Their win against the Mets on Wednesday made them the first time in baseball to clinch an above-.500 record for the season.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

They’re chasing the Giants and making up a little ground where they can. Wednesday’s 16-inning marathon win over the Padres was soul-crushing for the Padres and will drag on the Dodgers’ bullpen for a couple days.

3. New York Yankees

Yup, we’re up to No. 3 this week. Why? The Yankees haven’t lost since they played in Iowa! The offense is clicking and the pitching has been good — except Aroldis Chapman, who needs to find his four-seam fastball soon.

4. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are 8-2 in their last 10 games but have lost two games off their lead in the division because the Yankees are rolling. Wander Franco has been as good as advertised thus far.

5. Milwaukee Brewers

They might have the best pitching staff in the National League and their bats are awake. The Reds have been solid lately but the Brewers have had their division on lock since the Cubs’ fade began.

6. Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are only 5-5 in their last 10 and their bullpen, which was supposed to be untouchable when they added Craig Kimbrel, has struggled lately. But they’re a lock for the playoffs and are just trying to get/stay healthy.

7. Houston Astros

Like the White Sox, the Astros have been playing .500 ball lately but haven’t been pushed in their division in a while. The return of Alex Bregman should help their already-potent offense.

8. Atlanta Braves

They had a 9-game win streak before the Yankees arrived in Atlanta. They’re still running away with the National League East and their lineup has been terrific since the start of July.

9. Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are 7-3 in their last 10 and have closed the gap with Oakland after a strong series against the A’s. They’re young and don’t know they aren’t supposed to be this good. The Astros might feel comfortable but the wild card race should be on notice.

10. Boston Red Sox

Boston has slipped behind the Yankees in the wild card race and now need to hold off the A’s and Mariners, who are closing in the rear view mirror. Chris Sale coming back has been a big help to their rotation.

11. Oakland A’s

The A’s are 2-8 in their last 10 and got it handed to them by the Mariners in their ballpark this week. If they want to get back into the postseason they’ll need to get their offense on track quickly.

12. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are on the cusp of a wild card berth after a strong week… until losing two straight gave the Padres hope. Their schedule in Sept. sets up well for Cincinnati to make a playoff run this season.

13. St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina signed one more one-year deal to finish his career in 2022. The Cardinals have been better lately and might be interesting in the National League wild card race in the final month.

14. Cleveland Guardians

Cleveland has won six of their last ten, which catapults them above a few others in our power rankings this week. They enjoyed the Little League World Series game and some of their young players are looking better lately.

15. Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays had a nice series this week against the White Sox but their play since the All-Star break hasn’t been good enough to get them into a playoff position. Their run differential should have them in the top ten on our list but when the runs hit the board is important.

16. San Diego Padres

They managed four hits in the 16-inning game against the Dodgers… because their pitching coach sucked at his job, right? The wheels have fallen off in San Diego since the deadline. They’ve got a fight on their hands if they want to get to the postseason — where we all expected them to be after a big offseason.

17. Kansas City Royals

The Royals are 7-3 in their last 10 so they get a little love this week. Whit Merrifield is a marvelous player who’s a lot of fun to watch. At some point they’ll call up Bobby Witt Jr. and the team’s offense will be better for it.

18. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies won a road game! Well, against the Cubs, so we’ll discount it a bit. They have been better since not trading Trevor Story at the deadline (a mistake).

19. Philadelphia Phillies

Remember when they were in first place in the division? You wonder if the players still do! The Phillies are 3-7 in their last 10 and have fallen well back of Atlanta. Bryce Harper’s MVP chances have taken a hit as the team slides the wrong direction.

20. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

How the hell do you lose a game Shohei Ohtani starts against the Baltimore Orioles? The Angels were the victim of the Orioles’ first win in 20 games on Wednesday night; a brutal bottom of the eighth inning was their undoing.

21. New York Mets

At least Francisco Lindor is healthy?

22. Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have been better than many thought this year. Miguel Cabrera reaching 500 career home runs was a fun moment to watch and the talk about his career once he got there was well justified. Their youth movement is only beginning.

23. Minnesota Twins

Their young bats can play but their pitching has been brutally bad. If you hadn’t seen the ball Miguel Sanò hit at Fenway Park earlier this week, you’re welcome; it may not have landed yet.

24. Miami Marlins

Top pitching prospect Edward Cabrera made his MLB debut on Wednesday and looked pretty comfortable. Their run differential is better than their record would indicate. They’ll be better with a healthy pitching staff including Cabrera, Jesus Luzardo, Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers and (hopefully) Sixto Sanchez.

25. Washington Nationals

They still have Juan Soto.

26. Chicago Cubs

They ended a record 13-game home losing streak against the worst road team in baseball (the Rockies) this week and won two in a row at Wrigley Field. Patrick Wisdom should be in the NL Rookie of the Year conversation.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates

The only thing Pirates fans have to look forward to this season at this point is Roberto Clemente Day.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dbacks are 5-5 in their last 10, which is nice. At 16-49 on the road they’re close to the worst away record in baseball. The fact that isn’t the worst road record in the big leagues is pathetic.

29. Texas Rangers

The Rangers share the Dbacks’ road woes (16-48). The departure of Joey Gallo took the soul out of a bad team. Expectations are they they spend money this winter. We’ll see if they can improve quickly of if this is the first bad year of a few.

30. Baltimore Orioles

Cedric Mullins is legit. And they won a game! Other than that, when do the Ravens play next?

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