With the World Cup kicking off this week, we take a look at where all 30 teams stand as they start to clinch their spot in the knockout stages.
The espn mlb power rankings 2021 is a blog that gives an overview of where all 30 teams stand as the top squads start to clinch for the postseason.
We’re halfway through September, and there’s still a lot of baseball’s postseason races to be decided. So far, just two clubs have secured a playoff spot.
Have the Toronto Blue Jays risen to the top of the MLB standings? Will the San Francisco Giants eventually gain ground on the Los Angeles Dodgers in their NL West rivalry? Who has the upper hand in the NL wild-card battle now that the two National League West powerhouses have both been guaranteed of a postseason berth?
Based on what they’ve learnt so far throughout the 2021 season, the members of our eight-voter expert panel have come to the following conclusions. We also asked ESPN baseball analysts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Joon Lee, Jesse Rogers, and Alden Gonzalez to provide a Week 23 prediction based on what they’ve observed lately for all 30 clubs.
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 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1
95-51 is the score. Previous position: 2
Even though they just earned a wild-card berth and have yet to clinch the division championship, the Giants indulged in a full-fledged champagne party Monday night, and they have every right to. For just the second time since 1962, the Giants should easily exceed 100 victories, marking one of the biggest — and most unexpected — turnarounds in recent memory. They’ve held off the Dodgers, one of baseball’s most talented teams, on many occasions. And they’ve done it with a rare combination of underappreciated veterans and former stars who have been at their best all summer. Have a good time. Gonzalez’s words
94-53 is the score. 1st place previously
For a while, the Dodgers’ rotation was short-handed, but that is no longer the case. After being reinstated from the disabled list earlier this week, Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin both had promising starts, establishing what could be a deadly rotation if the Dodgers progress to the division series. The five members of the team’s current rotation combined to allow just three earned runs in 311/3 innings during a five-day span that ended with Gonsolin’s excellent performance against the D-backs on Tuesday. Gonzalez’s words
90-56 is the score. 3rd place before.
Wander Franco’s hamstring injury has landed him on the disabled list, which isn’t good news for Tampa Bay. The Rays summoned Taylor Walls to fill Franco’s spot in the lineup. Brandon Lowe, Randy Arozarena, Joey Wendle, and Mike Zunino all have bWAR over 3.) and Franco and Kevin Kiermaier are close behind them with 2.9 bWAR apiece. Lee —
89-57 is the score. Previous position: 4
In Milwaukee, things are going so well that star Christian Yelich felt obliged to purchase 10,000 tickets for the Brewers’ series against the Cardinals next week. He’s giving them out for free to his followers. Right-hander Freddy Peralta’s performance against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday may be the most significant thing that has happened for the Brewers this month on the field. He pitched his best game since the end of July, despite shoulder problems. He went six innings without allowing a run, re-establishing himself as the Brewers’ probable third starter in the playoffs. Rogers’ comment
The score is 85-60. Previous position: 5
With the Astros and White Sox on a collision path in the American League Division Series, there are a few things to consider for Houston. For starters, there is a home-field advantage between the clubs in a potential matchup, which is still up in the air. This season, the teams played seven games in a pair of home-and-home series. While such findings have limited predictive value, one thing is certain: At Minute Maid Park, Houston won all four games by a total score of 27-8. Two of the three games were won at Guaranteed Rate Field, and the Cubs have been a far better team at home than on the road. The Astros have been a postseason regular in recent seasons, winning berths five times in six seasons through 2020, whereas the White Sox haven’t gone to the LDS since 2008. Houston has performed well on the road throughout that time. The Astros have gone 19-12 in the playoffs at home since 2015, and 17-15 on the road. Doolittle’s quote
82-64 is the score. Previous position: 9
The Blue Jays are on their way! Toronto is baseball’s hottest club, and their run differential, which is among the greatest in the game, is catching up to its record. Last Monday, the Blue Jays swept the Yankees, vaulting them into second place in the wild-card rankings. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. keeps his Triple-A title hopes alive, while Jose Berrios seems to be one of the most significant trade deadline additions, with a 3.31 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in nine starts since joining the Jays. Lee —
83-62 is the score. Previous position: 6
Given the consistency and durability of the White Sox’s five main starters, the issue of who would be left out of Chicago’s playoff rotation arose as the second half proceeded. Dallas Keuchel, Chicago’s highest-paid pitcher with the longest playoff track record on the club, didn’t seem to be the solution. Unfortunately, Keuchel’s season has fallen apart, from from mediocre to disastrous. Keuchel has given up six runs in each of his last four outings and has a 7.44 ERA through nine games in the second half. Things have gotten so terrible that, even if Carlos Rodon’s shoulder problems persist, surging righty Reynaldo Lopez may be a better choice to round out the postseason rotation than Keuchel. To put it bluntly, the veteran lefty must turn things around quickly. Doolittle’s quote
76-68 is the score. Previous position: 8
After hitting his 35th home run on Tuesday, Adam Duvall leads the National League with 101 RBIs, which leads to a slew of strange statistics. There has never been an RBI leader who has divided the season between two teams. Duvall’s.229 average would be the lowest for an RBI champion since Harmon Killebrew hit.243 for the Twins in 1962, when he won the AL with 126 RBIs. Duvall’s.788 OPS would make him just the fourth RBI leader to dip below.800; the others were George Kelly in 1920, Lee May in 1976, and Cecil Fielder in 1992. Schoenfield’s
82-64 is the score. Previous position: 7
Inconsistency has been the theme of the Yankees’ season. On Aug. 28, New York’s 13-game winning run was broken, and the team has slumped to an AL-worst record since then. With games against the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays still to play, the Bronx Bombers have a long road ahead of them if they want to reach the playoffs, especially with competition from the rest of the division vying for a wild card berth. The team’s failure to win against division opponents may be its downfall in the end. Lee —
83-65 is the score. Previous position: 10
Despite the team’s COVID-19 epidemic, the Red Sox have been playing better baseball, with contributions from all across the lineup. Kyle Schwarber had a great start after returning from the disabled list, but he has struggled in recent weeks. Boston’s schedule, when contrasted to the other wild-card candidates, is one of the things working in their favor. The Boston Red Sox face the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, and New York Yankees in their final games of the season. Lee —
78-67 is the score. Previous position: 12
The Athletics, who are now in fifth place in the American League, are steadily fading from contention for a wild-card berth. The club has a difficult schedule ahead of them, with 13 games against the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, both of whom it has lost to this season. While Starling Marte, who now has 23 stolen bases, continues to look like one of the greatest trade-deadline pickups, it may not be enough to propel Oakland into the playoffs. Lee —
78-68 is the score. Previous position: 13
Yusei Kikuchi is 7-8 with a 4.23 ERA/4.66 FIP, but his inconsistency is highlighted by two recent poor outings against the Astros (222 IP, 7 R and 123 IP, 6 R). The Mariners are unlikely to execute the four remaining option years on his $16.5 million per season deal. Kikuchi has a one-year, $13 million player option if the Mariners decline. If the Mariners want to bring back the trade deadline acquisition, Tyler Anderson delivers comparable outcomes and won’t cost nearly as much. Schoenfield’s
76-69 is the score. Previous position: 17
The Cardinals have battled back into the wild-card race and may very well win a playoff berth. Injury to their starting lineup delayed their progress but did not prevent them from playing. After dropping the first two games of a four-game series with the Dodgers, they went on to win series against the Red and Mets this week. The two one-run wins against Los Angeles may be remembered as pivotal events in a tumultuous season for St. Louis. Its pitching staff’s 2.09 ERA over the last seven days has aided its climb to the second wild-card spot. Rogers’ comment
75-71 is the score. 14th place before.
The Reds’ postseason hopes have taken a hit in crunch time, as they lost two of three games to rival St. Louis over the weekend and then lost the series opener to the Pirates on Tuesday. Over the last week, Cincinnati’s normally dependable offense has struggled, posting a.618 OPS. That was the second-worst performance in the National League during that time period. Perhaps the Reds are feeling the loss of Jesse Winker more than they expected, since Nick Castellanos has gone 3 for 19 in his previous 19 games before Tuesday’s game. Rogers’ comment
75-70 is the current record. Previous position: 11
As if the Padres’ stretch run couldn’t get much tougher, the club put Chris Paddack on the disabled list Monday with elbow inflammation, just one day after Blake Snell was forced to leave his start against the Dodgers due to an adductor issue. Yu Darvish, on the other hand, has an 8.68 ERA in his last four starts while pitching just 182/3 innings. In summary, the starting lineup is once again down chaos, just as it was beginning to settle in, and the schedule won’t allow for a respite. The Padres have seven games left against the Giants, four against the Braves, and three against each of the Cardinals and Dodgers. Gonzalez’s words
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73-72 is the score. 15th place before.
The Phillies’ defense has once again been a season-long problem as they march toward another.500-ish season (80-82 in 2018, 81-81 in 2019, 28-32 in 2020). Only the Tigers are worse in that statistic than the Phillies, with minus-57 defensive runs saved. Odubel Herrera has played well in center field, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be the solution in 2022. Even if Didi Gregorius is contracted for $15.25 million, it’s obvious that Alec Bohm is a poor third baseman and the Phillies need a shortstop. He’s had a bad year at the bat and doesn’t have much range at shortstop. Schoenfield’s
72-75 is the current record. Previous position: 16
The Mets won two of three games against the Yankees, including a spectacular Sunday night victory in which Francisco Lindor hit three home runs, and just when you think things are looking up, they lose a series at home to St. Louis. Since joining the Mets, Javier Baez’s free agency has taken a drastic turn for the better, as he has hit.304/.375/.600 in 32 games (through Tuesday). Could the Mets be interested in re-signing Baez in 2021, given the dearth of power in their lineup? Baez would have to give up shortstop now that Lindor is locked in, and there should be enough of interest in him to play shortstop elsewhere. Schoenfield’s
71-73 is the current record. Previous position: 18
Cleveland’s 2021 record has steadily fallen to and below.500, putting the franchise’s eight-year winning run in danger. That number is comparable to the offensively dominating Indians teams of the late twentieth century, when the club finished above.500 in every season from 1994 through 2001. During the peak of the Bob Feller/Larry Doby/Bob Lemon era, the club set a record of 10 consecutive winning seasons. From 1947 through 1956, the teams finished above.500 in every season, winning two pennants (1948 and 1954) and Cleveland’s final World Series title (1948). Six playoff berths and two pennants (1995 and 1997) were achieved during the 1990s run, but no championships were won. In terms of the current streak, Cleveland reached the playoffs five times between 2013 and 2020, won the AL pennant in 2016, and has yet to win a championship. Doolittle’s quote
71-74 is the score. Previous position: 19
Jo Adell’s second season in the majors seemed to come to an end on Wednesday, when the 22-year-old outfielder was diagnosed with an abdominal injury sustained after colliding with a fence over the weekend. Adell’s 2021 had a slash line of.246/.295/.408 in 140 plate appearances. Brandon Marsh, 23, has a.256/.319/.360 slash line in 188 plate appearances as of Wednesday. Both of them, as well as Mike Trout and Justin Upton, are in the last year of their contracts, with the Angels in 2022. It’ll be fascinating to see what the Angels do with Marsh or Adell this summer, if they do anything at all. Gonzalez’s words
Is it possible that games are too long? How can baseball make the most of its new crop of superstars? We go into the issues that will have a long-term impact on the game. Baseball’s Current Situation «
70-76 is the current record. Previous position: 20
Right-handed youngster Casey Mize is unlikely to get much support in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, but he has had a season that has been underappreciated for its steadiness from start to end. The Tigers have imposed severe restrictions on Mize’s pitch counts in the second half of the season, making it difficult to get a solid read on his conventional statistics. Mize, for example, hasn’t thrown more than 90 pitches in a single start since late June. Even yet, Mize’s ERA+ of 117 over 1401/3 innings is outstanding and a promising indication of things to come. Mark Fidrych (1976), Dave Rozema (1977), Justin Verlander (2006), Armando Galarraga (2008), and Michael Fulmer are the only other rookie Detroit starters to reach those milestones during the divisional era (2016). Doolittle’s quote
66-79 is the current record. 22nd in the previous ranking
The four young starters from the 2018 draft, all of whom have reached the majors, come to mind when thinking about the Royals’ rotation’s future. Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, and Kris Bubic would be joined by Asa Lacy, the Texas A&M lefty selected fourth overall in the 2020 draft, on most such sketches. Lacy’s first professional season has been a mixed bag, with a lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks, but his potential is undeniable. While the quartet aforementioned awaits Lacy’s arrival, another young pitcher has made his way into the mix: Carlos Hernandez, who has a 139 ERA+ in 762/3 innings this season. Hernandez has pitched well in each of his nine starts, including five quality starts. Among the Royals starters remaining on the roster, his 56.1 average game score is the highest. Hernandez’s excellent 2021 performance qualifies him as a rotation contender for next season, despite the fact that his pitch mix may ultimately put him in the KC bullpen. Doolittle’s quote
68-78 is the score. Previous position: 21
Brendan Rodgers, the No. 3 overall selection in 2015, has had a promising first full season in the majors, batting.281/.330/.790 with 1.3 Baseball-Reference wins above replacement in 86 games. Given Trevor Story’s anticipated departure, as well as the price tags on other free agents at his position this summer, the issue is whether he can handle shortstop on a regular basis. Rodgers has spent the most of his time with the Rockies at second base. Gonzalez’s words
62-84 is the score. Previous position: 25
Sandy Alcantara’s season is continuing to go unnoticed. In 13 of his 30 starts, he has given up zero or one run. He’s tied with Walker Buehler for the most seven-inning starts with 13, with just Zack Wheeler and Adam Wainwright having more. He’s also one of just 11 pitchers to have given up eight or more runs at least twice in his career. With the exception of two poor starts in which he allowed 18 runs in five innings, his ERA is 2.30. Pick this man if you’re looking for a hidden Cy Young candidate in 2022. Schoenfield’s
66-80 is the current record. Previous position: 23
The Cubs have usually thrived in the spoiler position, but the San Francisco Giants took advantage of it this weekend, scoring 27 runs in a three-game sweep. Finding a starting staff is critical if the Cubs are to return to contention as soon as next season. The outcomes of this month’s tryouts have been uneven, with youths Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson, as well as veteran Adrian Sampson, producing mixed results. Nonetheless, the team’s learning process should help them in 2022. Rogers’ comment
64-83 is the score. Previous position: 24
The MLB season of 2021 will be broadcast on ESPN and the ESPN App.
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
Sunday, September 19th, 7 p.m. on ESPN, Phillies-Mets
Giants at. Padres, Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 10 p.m. on ESPN
Cardinals against. Cubs, Friday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. on ESPN
Here’s something to think about in terms of silver linings: The Twins’ decline from last season’s.600 winning percentage has been dramatic, but it won’t be the greatest year-over-year decrease in club history. They just have a modest bit of work to do to prevent the franchise’s worst decline since it relocated to Minneapolis. The Washington Senators had the greatest one-year decline in club history in 1934, when they dropped 216 percentage points from their 1933 record. Even if they don’t win another game this season, the Twins won’t be able to equal that. The 191-point decline from 2010 to 2011 was the worst during the Minnesota years. That number remains reachable mathematically, but Minnesota just needs 67 victories to avoid it, and the Twins were at 64 through Tuesday’s games. The Twins’.438 winning percentage through Tuesday would be a 162-point decline from 2020, the fifth-highest in club history and the second-highest since the team moved to the Midwest. Doolittle’s quote
60-86 is the current record. Previous position: 26
Josh Bell has really been very excellent after a terrible April in which he hit.113. That’s a positive indication for 2022. He’s hit.282/.360/.527 with 23 home homers since May 13. Of course, the first five weeks are crucial, but he seems to be a guy who can slot into the center of the lineup for the Nats. Note that his strikeout percentage has dropped from 22.2 percent in the first half to only 13.3 percent in the second half, indicating that he has improved his contact rate. Schoenfield’s
54-91 is the score. Previous position: 27
Adolis Garcia is in the last month of the season and coming off a.381/.409/.619 week, he’s making a run for rookie of the year. Will it be sufficient to defeat Randy Arozarena and Ryan Mountcastle? Garcia leads both in home runs, but due to their on-base percentages, both batters have him beat in OPS. Garcia has a.296 batting average this season, which may keep him from earning the honor. Rogers’ comment
54-91 is the score. Previous position: 28
Pittsburgh has been on a roll recently, winning series against the Tigers and Nationals before facing the Reds, who are still in the hunt for a postseason spot. Dillon Peters, a left-handed pitcher, is racking up innings. Over the last month, he’s pitched to a 2.84 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, including five shutout innings against a dangerous Reds lineup on Tuesday. He has the potential to be the genuine thing. Rogers’ comment
The score is 47-99. Previous position: 29
This season has been all about seeing what the D-backs have in their young players, and one apparent bright spot has been Daulton Varsho, a 25-year-old outfielder and catcher who had a.298/.370/.595 slash line since the All-Star break as of Wednesday. Carson Kelly seems to have the catching position wrapped up for the foreseeable future, but Varsho is a good runner who can play center field and may provide value behind the plate. Gonzalez’s words
46-99 is the current record. 30th in the previous ranking
The pressure is growing in Baltimore for the team’s rebuilding efforts to bear fruit. The Orioles have one of baseball’s best farm systems, but star prospects don’t always translate to success. Baltimore can take some positives from the season, including Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, and Austin Hays, while Adley Rutschman waits in the wings as one of the sport’s best prospects. Lee —
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