The Tiers are Taking Shape
I am going to be up front about this. I was at the beach this weekend and watched the least amount of baseball in a weekend that I have all season. Luckily for the most part nothing crazy happened. However, buckle up because with the MLB’s crackdown on foreign substances, a lot of chaos is sure to ensue. But while we wait for the chaos to begin, enjoy my rankings that I was told by a Dodgers fan were “Wrong.”
- Tampa Bay Rays (43-24) —
Just keep winning. That is exactly what the Rays are doing. This is clearly the best team in baseball right now and maybe the most well run organization in North American sports. They once again have one of the lowest payrolls in the MLB but also look like they will be right in the mix come October.
- San Francisco Giants (41-25) +3
It wasn’t the best week for the Giants but it wasn’t bad either. I still don’t think they will keep this up all season. It’s only a matter of time until the Padres and Dodgers get hot and bump the Giants into Wild Card territory.
- Boston Red Sox (40-27) -1
The Red Sox lost both of their series this week with Houston and the Blue Jays. It is no secret that without addressing the issues with the rotation, the Red Sox won’t be able to keep up with Tampa Bay. The offense can only do so much.
- Chicago White Sox (41-25) —
The White Sox continue to do what they need to do and then some. Not only are they just treading water, they are pulling even further away from the rest of the Central. Nick Madrigal is now done for the year though to add to the growing list of injuries. If these injuries weren’t piling up, this team would be the clear favorite to win it all.
- Oakland A’s (41-27) +4
Oakland is definitely going through their ups and downs. Luckily for them, this week was an up. They went 5-1 with a two game sweep of Arizona and then took three of four from Kansas City. They have had an easy schedule lately and need to find the same success against the higher tier teams if they want to be taken seriously.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (40-26) —
The Dodgers just had their own 5-1 week sweeping the Pirates and taking two of three from Texas. This team clearly has all the pieces to repeat as World Series Champions, but it just hasn’t clicked so far. Losing Max Muncy is a tough loss also. They have one more easy week until they start a very tough stretch next week.
- Chicago Cubs (38-28) —
The Cubs are easily the hottest team in baseball. They took a series from the Padres and swept the slumping Cardinals. They are about to face some good pitching this week against the Mets and Marlins. The only question is can these players like Patrick Wisdom and Eric Sogard sustain this success or will it just be a flash in the pan?
- Milwaukee Brewers(38-28) +2
The Brewers are staying right on the Cubs heels. Willy Adames has helped solve their offensive issues to an extent. It is terrifying how good this team got from just a minor acquisition. If they can make a big splash in the trade market, then they could continue to shoot up the standings.
- Houston Astros (37-28) -1
Houston just finished up a nine game road trip winning every series against the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Twins. It feels like they are the team to beat in the AL West but what they can do beyond that is up in the air. Lance McCullers is about to return just in time for a massive four game series this weekend with the White Sox.
- San Diego Padres (38-30) -7
The weather is hot in San Diego but the Padres lineup is ice cold. On the bright side, I don’t think this squad has played their best baseball yet. On the downside, the Dodgers and Giants aren’t going to feel bad for them. A series with the Rockies and Reds this week is an opportunity to get back on track.
- Buffalo Blue Jays (33-31) +1
The Blue Jays got a big series win over Boston over the weekend. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is absolutely destroying opposing pitching and has solidified himself as the AL MVP front runner. However the stacked AL East is not going to make it easy to get into the playoffs.
- New York Mets (33-25) -1
Taking two out of three over the Padres was huge. I still hesitate though when trying to decide if this is the team to beat in the NL East. It just feels as if something is missing. I do know that it has nothing to do with the starting rotation.
- Cleveland Indians (35-28) —
The Indians comeback on Saturday over the Mariners gave them a winning week. Cleveland just continues to tread water but it is getting more difficult. Shane Bieber got rocked by Seattle and then joined Zach Plesac on the IL. This rotation is not deep enough to keep pace with Chicago for long.
- Philadelphia Phillies (32-32) +5
It was a great week for Philadelphia. Taking a series over the Braves and Yankees got the Phillies up to .500. The schedule this week is brutal with a trip out west to take on the Dodgers and Giants. If they can manage .500 or better this week, they could put pressure on the Mets.
- St. Louis Cardinals (33-33) —
While three other teams in their division are red hot, the red birds are headed down south. Getting swept by the Cubs feels like a low point this season for the Cardinals. The schedule for the rest of this month is extremely manageable all starting with the Marlins and Braves this week.
- Atlanta Braves (30-33) -2
Can a team have an “Almost won the NLCS but lost game 7” hangover? Because that is what is going on in Atlanta. They still haven’t gotten above .500 in 2021 and they are starting to fall behind. They are just five games back, but that is a lot in the NL East this season.
- Los Angeles Angels (33-33) +4
The Angels just rattled off a perfect week without Mike Trout. This team officially makes no sense. They slid up to .500 and into third place in the division. The young rotation with Griffin Canning and Patrick Sandoval seems to be finding a groove. Can they make a run for a Wild Card spot? Probably not.
- Cincinnati Reds (33-31) +2
The Reds swept the Rockies to end the week on a high note. They are definitely capable of giving some teams problems and aren’t a team anyone should want to see down the stretch in must-win games. I still need to see more out of the rotation to label this team as a contender in the NL Central.
- New York Yankees (33-32) -3
It was a decent week for the Yankees but so far this month they will take it. The reason they dropped this week is not because of their play, but because other teams played so well. Still, this team is in deep trouble. They look like the 4th place team in a stacked division. They have to figure things out if they want to make the playoffs.
- Kansas City Royals (30-35) -2
The Royals West Coast road trip couldn’t have gone much worse. They were swept by the Angels and then dropped three of four to Oakland. I would expect to see this team in this area of the rankings for the remainder of the season.
- Miami Marlins (29-37) +3
A 4-3 week for Miami has to feel like a breath of fresh air. We know the rotation is one of the best in baseball, but can the offense hold their own? Right now I lean towards no but there are some guys that could still help ignite this offense.
- Detroit Tigers (27-39) —
If the Tigers got to play the Mariners 162 times, they would without a doubt be in the playoffs. However they also have to play the White Sox and that doesn’t ever go so well. Still, for what this season was supposed to be, Detroit fans have to be pretty excited about the future of this team.
- Seattle Mariners (33-35) -6
The Mariners have had one day off since May 21st and it is starting to show. There have been some surprising heroes helping this team stay around .500. Guys like JP Crawford and Jake Fraley are making a name for themselves in the Northwest. With the pitching getting healthy, this team might finish with a winning record.
- Washington Nationals (28-35) -1
Well the Nationals had a .500 week. That’s good I guess. The Nats are a hot streak away from being right in the race for the NL East but you could say that about any team in that division. They do get a crack at the first place Mets this weekend.
- Minnesota Twins (26-40) —
I feel bad for the Minnesota Twins. I really thought this team could play for the ALCS this year. Now they just look beaten down like a boxing legend in his final fight. I hope Nelson Cruz gets to go to a contender to make one last run at a World Series.
- Texas Rangers (25-41) +2
The Rangers had some life but that looks to be gone now. There are some positives about this team. Adolis Garcia is the clear Rookie of the Year thus far. Also, they snapped a 16 game road losing streak. Lastly, they get to play the Twins this weekend. Could they win a series?
- Baltimore Orioles (22-43) +2
The Orioles just got run over by the Rays. There is a massive gap between Baltimore and the fourth place Yankees in the AL East. Seriously though, watch John Means. He is absolutely brilliant.
- Colorado Rockies (26-41) -1
The Rockies continue to be absolutely atrocious on the road. Trevor Story is back but still looks to be working back into competitive baseball. The best news for the Rockies is that they are at home this week. The bad news? They host San Diego and Milwaukee.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (23-42) -3
The Pirates went 0-6 this week. To be fair they did play the Dodgers and Brewers but losing six straight games is bad no matter what.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (20-47) —
Arizona has lost 19 straight road games. Brutal.
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