Welcome to the NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings, a weekly feature that will run every Tuesday through the end of the 2021 regular season. These rankings are not fantasy-driven in any way, though I do tend to sprinkle in fantasy-relevant nuggets here and there. Who’s hot, who’s not, who to watch -- that sort of thing. Send any and all complaints to me on Twitter: @drewsilv.
Please believe me when I tell you that I do not hate your team.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 1
The defending World Series champions went off Sunday for 16 runs on 18 hits to avoid a four-game sweep in Milwaukee and maintain the highest run differential (+45) of any MLB team. But then came the news Monday that Dustin May needs Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and will be sidelined until sometime in mid-2022. The 23-year-old right-hander had registered an impressive 2.74 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, and 35/6 K/BB ratio over his first 23 innings (five starts) this season.
2. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 2
Fernando Tatis Jr. has now eclipsed 162 major league games -- essentially a full season -- and is the first player in MLB history to record 40-plus home runs and 30-plus stolen bases in that period. As of Tuesday, he’s at 47 homers and 32 steals in 164 career games, to go along with a .947 OPS. Mark Melancon leads all relievers in saves with 10 after closing out a 2-0 victory over the Pirates on Monday. He won NL Reliever of the Month honors for April and has allowed just one run in 14 total innings this year.
3. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 3
In topping the Blue Jays by a score of 5-4 on Monday night, the A’s became the first team in MLB to reach 18 wins on the young season. Ramon Laureano slugged his sixth home run of the year in that one and is also currently tied for the league lead in stolen bases (eight) with Whit Merrifield. As it stands here on Tuesday afternoon, the dynamic 26-year-old outfielder is on pace for 36 homers and 48 steals. But, yeah, go ahead and enter the Jesus Luzardo video-game-induced finger fracture into baseball lore.
4. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 7
Christian Yelich (back) and Lorenzo Cain (quad) both returned from the IL ahead of Monday night’s series opener against the Phillies -- another encouraging development for a Brewers team that just took three of four from the Dodgers. Less encouraging is that Keston Hiura was optioned out in a corresponding move after hitting just .152/.247/.266 with 32 strikeouts through 26 games. Dating back to the start of the 2020 season, Hiura has batted .196 with a .284 OBP over his last 335 plate appearances.
5. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 16
Nolan Arenado’s game-tying three-run homer Monday night against the Mets made it five consecutive Cardinals games with a three-run blast. That’s the longest such streak in franchise history, and the first time any MLB team has gone on such a streak since the Giants in 2000. Unsurprisingly, the Cards have won all five of those games, and they are suddenly now tied with the Brewers for first place in the National League Central standings. Arenado is up to five homers and 21 RBI in 29 games overall.
6. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 6
Boston just lost three of four to the Rangers but should be able to right the ship this week in a three-game series against the visiting Tigers and then a four-game set at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. J.D. Martinez slugged his eighth and ninth home runs of the season Friday versus Texas and is slashing .347/.431/.713 with 19 extra-base hits and 26 RBI through his first 27 games played. Nathan Eovaldi, meanwhile, carries the longest active homerless streak in the major leagues at 47 2/3 innings.
7. Houston Astros
Last Week: 10
Houston has won eight of its last 11 games leading into a big three-game series at Yankee Stadium. Yordan Alvarez spent a little time on the COVID-19 injured list last week after apparently feeling some side effects from his second dose of the vaccine, but he picked up right where he left off with a double and a homer on Sunday at Tampa Bay. The young slugger has now played in 110 major league games and boasts a career .312/.400/.633 batting line with 31 home runs and 97 RBI.
8. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 8
Daniel Lynch, the 34th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, made his major league debut in Monday night’s series opener against the Indians and looked pretty sharp across the first three innings before ultimately getting charged with three earned runs between the fourth and fifth. Lynch posted a 2.50 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 147 2/3 career minor league innings and was ranked as the No. 25 prospect in the sport this spring by Baseball America. It sounds like the young lefty may be up for good.
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9. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 4
Eloy Jimenez is expected to be out until September with the torn pectoral muscle that he suffered toward the end of spring training, and now it sounds like Luis Robert could be on a similar timeline after going down with a Grade 3 strain -- or complete tear -- of his left hip flexor while running the bases on Sunday. Whether he undergoes surgery or takes the rest and rehab route, Robert will be sidelined for at least 12-16 weeks. The 23-year-old had slashed .316/.359/.463 through 25 games this season.
10. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 13
Mike Yastrzemski was placed on the 10-day injured list last week with a left oblique strain and now Tommy La Stella is going to join him there after tweaking his left hamstring in Sunday’s series finale against the Padres. The lineup is getting thinner and Evan Longoria appears to be cooling off a bit after his sensational showing in April, but the Giants will look to keep rolling behind a starting rotation that has combined for a 2.34 ERA, by far the best mark of any MLB team. Bring on Coors Field.
11. New York Mets
Last Week: 5
Jacob deGrom was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April coming off a 0.51 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and 59/4 K/BB ratio in five starts covering 35 innings. He currently leads all major league starters with a 15.2 K/9. And yet the Mets are only 2-3 when deGrom takes the mound, and they dropped under the .500 mark overall as Joey Lucchesi got lit up for six earned runs over just 2 2/3 frames in Monday’s series opener at St. Louis. Both hitting coaches were fired right after that defeat.
12. New York Yankees
Last Week: 15
Here come the Yankees? They swept a three-game weekend series against the Tigers and have now won eight of their last 11 games dating back to April 22. Corey Kluber delivered a vintage performance in Sunday’s series finale versus Detroit, striking out 10 batters while yielding only two hits and one walk across eight scoreless frames. The veteran right-hander was named American League Pitcher of the Week, after Gerrit Cole earned American League Pitcher of the Month honors for April.
13. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 9
Despite incredible output from Mike Trout and near-nightly feats of strength from Shohei Ohtani, the Angels have lost eight of their last 12 games and currently hold the worst run differential in the American League West at -20. There’s a fair argument that they should probably be ranked even lower in these NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings, especially if Anthony Rendon’s knee injury proves to be at all serious. He fouled a ball off an area with no padding late in Monday’s loss to the Rays.
14. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 11
It’s rather shocking, given the top-end talent on this roster, that the Phillies haven’t strung together consecutive victories since the opening week of the season. But they’ll look to change that Tuesday after holding on for a 4-3 defeat of the visiting Brewers on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. J.T. Realmuto belted his third home run of the season in that one. He hasn’t shown a ton of raw power out of the gate, though the $115.5 million catcher does have a .309 batting average and .906 OPS.
15. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 19
Even with the 5-4 loss to the A’s on Monday, the Blue Jays have won seven of their last 10 games overall to climb above .500. George Springer finally debuted last week and slugged two home runs in the Jays’ extra-innings defeat of the Braves on Saturday. He did not play Monday due to fatigue, which is something to monitor, but that may be a routine thing after he missed the majority of April due to oblique and quad injuries. Hyun-Jin Ryu (glute) could return to the rotation as early as Thursday.
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16. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 14
Anyone else really looking forward to Shane McClanahan’s second career major league start on Tuesday night against the Angels? The 24-year-old left-hander touched the triple-digits with wicked movement in his MLB debut last week against the Athletics and also broke off several sliders clocked around 92-93 mph. McClanahan was the 31st overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of the University of South Florida and could quickly become a mainstay in the starting rotation for Tampa Bay.
17. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 18
Shane Bieber is doing his Shane Bieber thing with 68 strikeouts through 42 1/3 innings this season. That’s the highest total of strikeouts in the opening month for any pitcher in MLB history. He’s also now fanned at least eight batters in 18 straight games, besting a record set by Randy Johnson in 1999-2000. And how about the back end of the bullpen? James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase have combined for a 0.34 ERA and 41 strikeouts over 26 1/3 frames. Clase earned his sixth save on Monday.
18. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 12
Atlanta will carry a four-game losing streak and a highly disappointing -16 overall run differential into Tuesday night’s series opener against the Nationals. But here’s one positive: Ronald Acuna was named National League Player of the Month for April after batting .341/.443/.705 with eight home runs, 18 RBI, three stolen bases, and 25 runs scored over 24 games. It was somehow the first time in his career that he’d won NL Player of the Month honors. Acuna then homered and doubled on May 1.
19. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 17
As a team, the Reds are at or near the top of the leaderboard in just about every offensive category, yet they are under .500 entering Tuesday night’s series opener against the White Sox. The biggest issue right now is the bullpen. Cincinnati relievers have combined for 5.76 ERA, which is the worst mark in the National League and the second-worst mark in all of Major League Baseball, ahead of only the Tigers. Amir Garrett, the Opening Day closer, has allowed 10 earned runs through 8 2/3 innings.
20. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 20
Seattle won two of three against the Angels over the weekend before falling 5-3 in Monday night’s series opener versus the visiting Orioles. Looking back a bit further, the Mariners have lost six of their last nine games. The annual second-month cooldown is seemingly underway, though the return of the minor leagues should be particularly exciting for this fan base. It’s time again to start tracking some real box scores on top prospects Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, and Logan Gilbert.
21. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 23
After taking three of four from the Rockies, the D-backs now have 10 wins over their last 13 games. And they welcomed back Christian Walker (oblique) and Tim Locastro (pinkie) from the injured list on Monday. The lead story is probably Carson Kelly, who struggled offensively during the condensed 2020 season but is sporting a stellar .339/.487/.696 slash line with six home runs and 17 RBI through 20 games played here in 2021. He was the 21st catcher off the board in the average Yahoo draft this spring.
22. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 25
Max Scherzer had quite a day on Sunday, working his first complete game since 2018 in a 3-1 win over the Marlins before rushing out of Nationals Park to be with his wife Erica as she gave birth to the couple’s third child. Washington has climbed to .500 with four straight victories, so maybe the Scherzer trade chatter will quiet down for a bit. The 36-year-old impending free agent right-hander holds a 2.54 ERA, 0.846 WHIP, and 47/6 K/BB ratio through his first 39 innings (six starts) this season.
23. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 21
Alex Kirilloff was 0-for-14 with no walks and three strikeouts over his first five regular season MLB games, but he dropped in a double last Monday at Cleveland and has been scorching hot ever since. The 23-year-old outfielder, who made his debut in the American League Wild Card Series last September against the Astros, boasts seven extra-base hits (four homers, three doubles) with 11 RBI and eight runs scored over his last seven games. Maybe he should have been up a little sooner?
24. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 22
Kris Bryant was just named National League Player of the Week and is hitting .323/.405/.708 with nine home runs, 22 RBI, and 21 runs scored in 26 games this season, but the Cubs nonetheless sit at the very bottom of the National League Central standings. They’ve lost seven of their last nine leading into a three-game series against the Dodgers. Kyle Hendricks, who’s been roughed up for a 7.54 ERA so far, will start the first half of Tuesday’s doubleheader following Monday’s rainout.
25. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 27
Don’t look now, but the Orioles have won four of their last five, including a 5-3 victory over the Mariners on Monday night in Seattle that pushed this team to within a win of the .500 mark. Cesar Valdez earned his seventh save of the season in that one and is already looking like one of the best early waiver-wire pickups in fantasy -- he didn’t even register an ADP this spring on Yahoo. The journeyman 36-year-old right-hander holds a 1.32 ERA and 15 strikeouts through 13 2/3 innings. Rising trade value.
26. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 24
The Marlins got swept by the Nationals this past weekend and scored only four total runs across the three games. They’re obviously missing Jazz Chisholm, who had hit .290/.375/.551 with four home runs and seven stolen bases through 21 games this season before landing on the injured list last Wednesday with a left hamstring strain. Starling Marte (rib), Brian Anderson (oblique), and Jorge Alfaro (hamstring) are also currently on the IL for the Fish, and they lack the offensive depth to compensate.
27. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 28
Nick Solak, Nate Lowe, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were all attractive late-round fantasy sleepers this spring, and they’ve all pretty much met the hype in the early going. Solak is sporting an .872 OPS with seven homers and two stolen bases in 30 games played. Lowe, in the same number of games, has six home runs, 24 RBI, and four steals. And the catcher-eligible Kiner-Falefa had gone deep in three of his last four games before settling for a measly double and his sixth steal of the year Monday at Minnesota.
28. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 26
Tyler Anderson did his part Monday versus the Padres, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but the Pirates ultimately got shut out 2-0 and have now lost five straight games. Their run differential of -28 is by far the worst in the National League. Anderson, though, could be turning into a decent trade chip for the rebuilding Bucs. The 31-year-old lefty signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with Pittsburgh in February and has put up a 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts through 33 1/3 innings.
29. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 30
Bill Schmidt was named the interim general manager of the Rockies on Monday, a week after it was announced that Jeff Bridich was stepping down from the role in a “mutually agreed” decision. Schmidt has worked in baseball for nearly three decades and had been the vice president of scouting for Colorado since 2007. According to the press release, Schmidt “will oversee all aspects of the club’s baseball operations” until a wider search for a full-time GM is conducted in the offseason.
30. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 29
As it stands here on Tuesday afternoon, the Tigers are the only team in Major League Baseball with a win total in the single digits. They got swept by the Yankees over the weekend and have lost 15 of their last 17 games since taking three straight from the Astros back between April 12-14. One thing to look forward to this week is the professional debut of Spencer Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft out of Arizona State University. He’s been stationed at High-A West Michigan.