King’s Ranks: MLB Power Rankings 8/17/21

Matthew King

I could go on and on about the fantastic Field of Dreams Game this week. It was perfect for anyone that didn’t have a horse in the race. There was a unique setting we had never seen before in a Major League Baseball game. The cornfields were breathtaking and the throwback jerseys were such a special touch. The drama of the game added to the spectacle. Then there was a young pitcher in Arizona throwing a no-hitter in his first start. Tyler Gilbert was dominant against the San Diego Padres and wrote his name in the history book immediately. This week showed how beautiful baseball is. Every week it is something different and every week feels unique and special. There are only six weeks left so we need to enjoy them as much as we can. Here are this week’s rankings.

  1. San Francisco Giants (77-42) —

The Giants just keep winning game after game and series after series. Last week was a pretty easy week taking out Arizona and Colorado. Now they will have a couple of playoff hopefuls on the schedule with the Mets and A’s. They really haven’t had a slump and they look like they could end up surprising everyone and winning the division and doing some serious damage in October.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (73-46) —

The Dodgers, like the Giants, just keep taking care of business. However, they haven’t been able to make up any ground and the injuries are stacking up. Mookie Betts seems unlikely to be 100% if he can even play and Julio Urias was placed on the IL. They still have Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer and hope to get Clayton Kershaw back but they will likely be in the Wild Card game due to that skid back at the end of April and beginning of May.

  1. Houston Astros (70-48) +2

The Astros just can’t seem to pull away from Oakland. They took care of the Rockies and Angels going 4-1 this week but didn’t gain any ground in the division. They sit in first place though so winning their series is good enough. They get four with Kansas City this week before hosting a playoff contender in Seattle this weekend.

  1. Tampa Bay Rays (72-47) -1

The Rays gave up 46 runs in their six games this week. That isn’t ideal at all in the race for the AL East. They did take two of three from Boston but dropped two of three to Minnesota. Wander Franco seems to have found his groove. It no longer is just a two team race as the Yankees have entered the picture, but Tampa Bay is still the frontrunner in the division.

  1. Milwaukee Brewers (72-47) +1

The Brewers may be the hottest team in baseball. They have been absolutely dominant since the All-Star break and have extended their division lead to eight games. The rotation is as good as they come and the offense is in a nice little groove as well. They visit the red hot Cardinals this week which could help them put St. Louis away once and for all.

  1. Oakland A’s (68-51) +1

Oakland had a seven game win streak going into their weekend series with Texas. They dropped two of three in that one but it was still a good week. Starling Marte has been a great addition to the lineup and he will need to keep that going over the next couple weeks because it is a very tough stretch of games. It starts this week with four in Chicago with the White Sox before returning home to host the Giants for three.

  1. Chicago White Sox (69-50) -3

First things first. The Field of Dreams game was incredible. It was the perfect game for an unbiased fan and it ended in the White Sox favor. The rest of the week was not as perfect for the White Sox. They dropped two of three to Minnesota and New York. They don’t have to worry about their division at all and that is a very big benefit. They still have some guys figuring things out after returning from injuries. They are running short on time to find that rhythm however.

  1. Boston Red Sox (69-51) +1

The Red Sox offense exploded this week scoring 20 runs in one game and 16 in another. Chris Sale also made his return on Saturday and looked solid in his return to the mound. The margin for error is incredibly thin for Boston right now. They sit in the top Wild Card spot but not comfortably. There are three teams just on the outside looking in that all have much more momentum than Boston right now. A three game set with the Yankees this week could change that.

  1. New York Yankees (66-52) +2

The Yankees bounced back in a major way after the walk-off loss in the Field of Dreams game by taking the series from Chicago. The COVID outbreak also seems to be subsiding with Gerrit Cole returning this week. The offense is hot which makes this team as scary as any in baseball. They get another crack at Boston this week with a chance to continue closing the gap in the Wild Card race.

  1. San Diego Padres (67-54) -2

Fernando Tatis Jr. is back and playing outfield. I don’t really understand it but his bat is the key in his return. He hit two home runs in his first game back Sunday but it was still a bad week. They lost three of four against Arizona and were no hit in one of those games on Saturday. It seemed like this team was a for sure playoff team. Now they will have to fend off Cincinnati and St. Louis.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays (63-54) -1

I debated really hard on if Seattle or Toronto should be in this spot. In the end I went with Toronto just because the lineup has been more consistent. Toronto did drop two of three in Seattle but dodged a major bullet with George Springer’s injury on Saturday turning out to be just a mild ankle sprain. We will see if he can rekindle the offensive rhythm he was in when he returns. Two with the Nationals and three with Detroit give this team a fantastic opportunity to gain back some momentum.

  1. Seattle Mariners (63-56) +2

Just when it looks like Seattle is going to fade out of the playoff hunt, they bounce back with a strong 4-2 week. They took two of three from Texas which was capped off by a complete game gem from Marco Gonzales who they will need to be himself down the stretch. They followed that with a huge series win over Toronto. If the offense can find some consistency, this team may just be able to ride an easier schedule down the stretch to their first playoff appearance since 2001.

  1. Cincinnati Reds (65-55) -1

A series loss to Atlanta kind of killed some of their momentum, but the Reds are still right there in the NL Wild Card race. Jesse Winker is now on the IL which makes me a little hesitant to move them very much. They have a nice home stand with the Cubs and Marlins coming to town so missing Winker might not hurt as much as we think. The backend of this rotation have been the unsung heroes with Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley and Vladimir Gutierrez really doing a nice job.

  1. Atlanta Braves (63-56) +1

And for the third straight week there is a new team leading the NL East. The Braves finally have gone on that streak everyone has been waiting for. Jorge Soler has been one of the best acquisitions of the season and Dansby Swanson is absolutely raking right now. They visit Miami and Baltimore this week before the schedule gets a little more stressful. The margin for error is slim but the Braves have gotten hot at the right time.

  1. Philadelphia Phillies (61-57) -2

It was a tough week for the Phillies and the results showed. Losing two of three to the Dodgers and Reds was enough to knock Philly out of the top spot in the division. The rotation gives them a chance in any series and that will be the key to them winning the division. A trip out west to Arizona and San Diego will be an interesting and important stretch for them to keep within striking distance of Atlanta.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals (61-56) +2

Don’t look now but here come the Cardinals. They have stormed back into the Wild Card race after going 6-0 last week sweeping Pittsburgh and Kansas City. This is exactly why they didn’t do much at the deadline because this kind of stretch was always possible. Adam Wainwright has turned back the clock and Jack Flaherty is back in the rotation. It still seems unlikely but it isn’t improbable for the Cards to sneak into a Wild Card spot.

  1. New York Mets (59-59) -1

After sweeping the Nats, it looked like the Mets were back on track. They were then swept by the Dodgers and are back where they started. They are in an extremely tough stretch with 13 straight against the Dodgers and Giants. They haven’t won any of those games yet and Jacob deGrom won’t be back soon. Things are looking dim in Queens.

  1. Los Angeles Angels (59-61) -1

The Angels continue to be the definition of mediocre. They took two of three from Toronto and then dropped two of three to Houston. There is an argument to be made that Mike Trout should be shut down for the season. I believe at this point it would make a lot of sense to have him rest up for next season especially with Anthony Rendon done for the year.

  1. Cleveland Indians (57-60) —

Speaking of the best rotations in baseball, Cleveland has the potential to be up there as well. With some injuries, Cleveland dropped out of the playoff chase but the offense is much more of a concern. If they can’t score they will not be able to compete with Chicago and Detroit in the future.

  1. Detroit Tigers (58-62) —

The Tigers had a shot to move into second place in the AL Central after sweeping Baltimore but failed to do so losing the series to Cleveland. Tarik Skubal is dealing right now and this young rotation looks to be one that could rival the best rotations in baseball in the future. This season has been a success no matter how you slice it for Detroit.

  1. Minnesota Twins (53-66) +4

Well look who decided to wake up! The Twins had a fantastic week taking two of three from both the White Sox and Rays. They have won three consecutive series, each one over an AL division leader. It is too little too late but it does show that this team still has plenty of talent. The hype won’t be near the level as it was coming into this season, but there is optimism for next year.

  1. Miami Marlins (51-68) +4

Sweeping the Cubs over the weekend showed us that the Marlins are not quite the bottom tier in baseball. They are no longer in last place in the NL East and Lewis Brinson is starting to show that he is a guy opposing pitchers need to worry about. If they can sign some offensive weapons, this team could contend for a division title in 2021.

  1. Colorado Rockies (53-66) -2

The Rockies continue to actually be good at home but atrocious on the road. They are 38-21 at home but 14-45 on the road. They return home this week to host the Padres and Diamondbacks so expect them to go 5-1 and move back up in these rankings.

  1. Washington Nationals (50-68) -2

Juan Soto is about the only reason Nats fans have to tune into this team. They are 2-13 since the deadline and now sit in last place in the NL East. Just two years ago they won their first World Series and now the team is unrecognizable. Life comes at you fast.

  1. Kansas City Royals (50-67) -2

Another team that has slid into last place is Kansas City. The Royals looked to be the Cinderella team through the first month plus but have crashed to reality hard. It is nice to see some guys get regular playing time such as Michael A. Taylor. Salvador Perez also continues to have a career year in terms of power. They have quite a few games against contenders left so they still get to play spoiler potentially.

  1. Chicago Cubs (52-69) -2

The Cubs have lost 11 straight games and they have been thoroughly outplayed during all of them. Jake Arrieta is now also gone after being released last week and there just aren’t very many things to get excited about if you’re a Cubs fan. This rebuild could be rough.

  1. Texas Rangers (42-76) +2

The Rangers actually managed a .500 week losing two of three to Seattle before taking two of three from Oakland. Kolby Allard and Dane Dunning are showing the capability of winning some games for this team during this rebuild. They have another tough week with a couple more hungry playoff contenders taking on Seattle and Boston.

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates (42-77) -1

The Pirates are starting to play like we expected them to. The offense and pitching staff are incapable of carrying this team. Bryan Reynolds is putting up MVP caliber numbers but besides him, there is nothing interesting about this team. Expect a lot more tough weeks to close out the season.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks (38-81) +1

Arizona took three of four from San Diego and have dug themselves out of last place in these rankings. Tyler Gilbert was one of the highlights of an amazing week of baseball throwing a no-hitter in his first Major League start. The Arizona pitching staff is giving them a chance to win some games but is that good for the team in the long run?

  1. Baltimore Orioles (38-79) -1

Twelve straight losses have dropped the Orioles into the dreaded #30 spot in the power rankings. They haven’t even really been competitive at all this month and that is taking some of the shine off of some of the bright spots. Trey Mancini and Cedric Mullins are stars but this team is a long way away from average.


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