We are a month into the 2021 MLB season and there have been quite a few surprises already. Some teams we expected to be World Series contenders are off to slow stars like the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees. Then there are some teams that we thought were rebuilding that have exceeded expectations and are towards the top of the league due to various reasons. Whether it be the Red Sox high powered offense, the Royals consistency, or the Mariners surprising pitching and dominant bullpen, these rebuilds might not last as long as many thought. Here is where I believe we stand a month into the season.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (17-12)
The defending champs are scuffling a little right now and just lost Dustin May for a little due to injury. However this team is still ridiculously deep and remains the team to beat. However, they aren’t the untouchable force we thought they might be.
- Milwaukee Brewers (17-12)
The top of the rotation for the Brew Crew is scary. Corbin Burns got rocked in his last start but he and Brandon Woodruff have been a dynamic 1-2 punch. The bats remain an issue though as they have a .217 team batting average. Paging Christian Yellich.
- Boston Red Sox (17-12)
Boston’s offense is absolutely rolling. J.D. Martinez is a legit MVP candidate and Xander Bogaerts is quietly having an impressive start as well. Add in Alex Verdugo’s consistency and they look to be in the thick of things in the American League.
- San Francisco Giants (17-11)
A team many considered a dark horse sits atop the loaded NL West a month in. The Giants have rode a great start from their rotation in the first month. But can that rotation keep it up when they face the Dodgers later this month?
- Oakland A’s (18-12)
Will the real Oakland Athletics please stand up? After a 1-7 start, the A’s won 13 straight before splitting a series with Tampa Bay and dropping 2 of 3 to Baltimore. The rotation is headed in the right direction, but they need consistency at the plate if they want to stay atop a very competitive AL West.
- San Diego Padres (17-13)
Fernando Tatis Jr. might not be 100% but watching him you couldn’t tell. The average is down and the defense hasn’t been spectacular but the power and energy is still there. Add in the best pitching staff in baseball and the Padres have set their sights on the pennant.
- Kansas City Royals (16-11)
Now here is a surprise. The Royals are a tricky one to figure out. Whit Merrifield is one of the most underrated stars in baseball and Carlos Santana is having the best season of his career. I don’t think this team will battle for the pennant, but they can give the White Sox and Twins a run for the Central.
- Houston Astros (15-13)
If the Yankees are ‘The Empire’ of the MLB, then the Astros are Thanos’ Black Order. And the Thanos of this team has returned in Jose Altuve. Questions about their rotation will linger throughout the season, but this lineup is stacked and have found their groove again. Altuve is on a path to make that asterisk disappear with just one snap.
- Chicago White Sox (15-12)
What are the White Sox? The reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu hasn’t got going yet and they have struggled with their ace Lucas Giolito on the mound losing 5 of his 6 starts. On top of that they just lost Luis Robert for a little while due to a hip injury. If they can get healthy and get everything clicking, this is the team to beat in the American League.
- Seattle Mariners (16-14)
Rounding out the top 10 is another surprise. The Seattle Mariners have the best bullpen in baseball as of writing this and seem to never be out of a game. The M’s are hoping Marco Gonzales IL stint is short and it’s looking like it will be. With Jarred Kelenic on the horizon, this team may just have enough to end the longest playoff drought in American sports.
- Louis Cardinals (17-12)
I am a big believer in the St. Louis Cardinals. This lineup could lead them to being the team to challenge the Dodgers in the senior circuit. The pitching right now though has them just a level below. The pitching hasn’t been bad, but getting a solid starter at the deadline might be what they need to get them over the top.
- Toronto Blue Jays (14-13)
I love this lineup. Toronto has become one of my favorite teams to watch early on this season. The crazy thing is they are just getting going. George Springer has now arrived and the offense isn’t even firing on all cylinders yet. The youth movement is looking good for the Jays.
- Washington Nationals (12-12)
The NL East is the most wide open division in baseball. A 4 game winning streak has the Nationals in a tie for the top spot and that’s without some key pieces, the biggest of which is Juan Soto. If this team can keep it close until they can get healthy, the division could be there for the taking.
- Los Angeles Angels (13-14)
The Angels continue to be the definition of mediocre. They have the greatest baseball player alive with Mike Trout and a once in a lifetime talent as a two way player in Shohei Ohtani. But they continue to lack pitching while having veterans well past their prime taking up roster spots. Until they fix that, expect to see them in the middle of the pack.
- New York Yankees (14-14)
The Yankees have all the pieces to win a World Series right now. This offense though just isn’t hitting right now. They are heading in the right direction but are facing very tough competition in the division. Things need to start clicking before they dig themselves in too big of a hole.
- New York Mets (11-12)
Francisco Lindor is one of my favorite players in the league but right now would be one of the last guys in the league I would want hitting for me in a clutch situation. Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, but this team is too inconsistent right now to put too much faith in them.
- Philadelphia Phillies (14-15)
Philadelphia’s own ground rules cost them a potentially season altering win against the Mets. In a wide open division you can’t count out anyone to win the East. But with average hitting and average pitching right now, they find themselves in the middle of the pack.
- Tampa Bay Rays (15-15)
After a Cinderella story last year that took the Rays to the door steps of a World Series, the clock has struck midnight. They lack pitching behind Tyler Glasnow and are streaky at the plate. If only they had a bonafide ace and former Cy Young winner to pair with Glasnow.
- Cincinnati Reds (13-14)
Talk about a streaky team. After a nice 9-5 start, the Reds lost 7 straight. Now they have won back to back series over the Dodgers and Cubs. I really don’t know what to think of this team. An upcoming 10 game road trip will hopefully clear things up.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (15-13)
Quite possibly the hottest team in baseball right now. Arizona is 10-3 in their last 13. However they are about to play 20 games in 20 days. If they can finish that stretch with a winning record, they could see a nice boost in the rankings.
- Atlanta Braves (12-16)
My pick to play the Dodgers in the NLCS is not looking good right now. They win a few in a row and then lose a few more in a row. This lineup is too good to not figure things out and they are a hot stretch away from taking control of the division.
- Cleveland Indians (14-13)
There are a lot of people that are higher on Cleveland than I am. Shane Bieber is a stud. But they are hitting just .210 as a team. The Central is up for grabs with Chicago’s injury issues. I just don’t think Cleveland has the bats to take it.
- Minnesota Twins (11-16)
Here is a team that I believe will be in the top 10 at the end of the season. Byron Buxton is an MVP candidate and Nelson Cruz is playing like Nelson Cruz. This team is too talented to not right the ship but as of now they haven’t been winning games so they are stuck towards the bottom of these rankings.
- Chicago Cubs (12-16)
It really feels like the end of an era in Chicago. The group that ended the drought are on their last ride but I don’t think it lasts long. I think Kris Bryant for sure gets dealt in July with Baez not far behind. All good things must come to an end.
- Texas Rangers (13-17)
Joey Gallo isn’t hitting for power. The world has officially gone mad. In a pretty solid division, nothing really stands out about the Rangers. Nick Solak is hitting well and Nate Lowe has created some excitement for the fans to enjoy.
- Baltimore Orioles (14-15)
Maybe the best story this season is the return of Trey Mancini. No matter what he does, it is very exciting to see him back on the field. Cedric Mullins is a monster and John Means looks like the ace of the future. Things are looking up for the O’s.
- Miami Marlins (11-16)
I love watching the young Marlins rotation. There is a lot of talent on that staff that could grow into legit aces. They might have to trade some of it for some bats though. Remember when this team had Yellich, Stanton and Ozuna?
- Pittsburgh Pirates (12-16)
The Pirates continue to be competitive no matter who they play. However May is going to be an extremely tough month. A lot of good teams are coming up and I think it will be a very long month for Pirate fans.
- Colorado Rockies (10-18)
This team knows that they are in the beginning of a rebuild. Trevor Story will likely get traded at the deadline. It’s going to be a rocky few years for Colorado.
- Detroit Tigers (8-21)
The Tigers have a team batting average of .195. They also have a team ERA of 5.04 which is 2nd worst in baseball. Akil Baddoo should be in the Rookie of the Year conversation. Other than that, there aren’t many positives in Detroit.
Matthew graduated in 2019 from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a specialization in Media and Journalism Production. He currently is a broadcaster and writer at Eli Sports Network. Baseball and football are his specialties but Matt covers anything he can. Follow him on Twitter @matt_king19