MLB Power Rankings: Week 8

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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. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 4

San Diego had won nine straight games, and 12 of its last 13, before falling 5-3 on Monday night in Milwaukee. As it stands here on Tuesday afternoon, the Padres hold the highest winning percentage (.625) in baseball and also the best run differential of any team at +73. Fernando Tatis Jr. is 12-for-18 with four home runs, four doubles, 12 RBI, three stolen bases, and seven runs scored in five games since being activated off the COVID-19 injured list last Wednesday.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 8

The defending World Series champions brought the hammer down on the division-rival Diamondbacks and Giants last week and will carry a seven-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s series opener at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Max Muncy went yard on both Saturday and Sunday at San Francisco and currently owns a 1.009 OPS with 10 home runs, 25 RBI, and 32 runs scored through 45 games played this season. His disappointing 2020 is very much in the rearview.

3. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 9

The winning streak went to 11 on Monday as the Rays put up nine runs between two frames of extra innings to top the Blue Jays by a score of 14-8. Joey Wendle finished 3-for-4 with a double and a grand slam while upping his overall season slash line to .310/.365/.552 through 159 plate appearances. Yes, the same Joey Wendle who slashed .254/.313/.379 in 447 plate appearances between 2019-2020. And who needs Willy Adames when you have Wander Franco knocking on the door?

4. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 2

A sort of under-the-radar name to watch in fantasy is Danny Santana, who was called up by the Red Sox on Friday and started all three games this weekend at Philadelphia while slugging a pair of solo home runs and stealing a base. Santana struggled last season in Texas, but the versatile 30-year-old had an .857 OPS with 28 homers and 21 steals over 130 games in 2019. He probably would have made the Opening Day roster in Boston had he not come down with a foot infection in March.

5. New York Yankees
Record: 28-19
Last Week: 11

The surging Yankees have allowed just nine total runs to the opposition across their current six-game winning streak and will look to keep rolling on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays as Corey Kluber takes the mound for the first time since throwing a no-hitter last Wednesday versus the Rangers. The veteran right-hander struggled out of the gate this season with New York but has delivered a 1.78 ERA and 36/9 K/BB ratio over his last 35 1/3 innings (five starts) dating back to April 27.

6. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 1

Chicago got swept by the Yankees over the weekend but then looked the part of a first-place team against the NL Central-leading Cardinals on Monday night as Lance Lynn carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning in an eventual 5-1 victory. Andrew Vaughn has four home runs over his last 13 games, including a big go-ahead two-run shot Monday versus St. Louis. Yermin Mercedes roped a pair of singles in that one and is now batting .353/.402/.533 through 164 plate appearances.

7. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 3

Including a somewhat embarrassing 4-2 loss to the Mariners on Monday night in Oakland, the A’s have lost four of their last six games. One positive is that Jesus Luzardo (hand) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment this Thursday and might be cleared to return in relief after just one outing on the farm. It wouldn’t be a long-term role change for the talented 23-year-old left-hander but rather a way to expedite his return to a pitching staff that has struggled as of late.

8. Houston Astros
Last Week: 5

Houston won 11 of 14 games between May 6-20 before dropping three straight this weekend to the Rangers. Up next is a two-game series against the Dodgers and then a three-game set versus the Padres, probably the two best teams in the National League. They’re certainly the hottest. Framber Valdez (finger), Jose Urquidy (shoulder), and Jake Odorizzi (forearm) are all out on minor league rehab assignments this week and could soon create some tough decisions for Astros management.

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9. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 6

They failed an important test this weekend, getting swept by the arch-rival Dodgers in a three-game set at Oracle Park, but the Giants will have the opportunity to exact some revenge as those two teams meet back up for a four-game series in Los Angeles beginning Thursday. Anthony DeSclafani had allowed only 12 runs through his first 53 1/3 innings this season before getting hammered for 10 runs -- all earned -- in a start that lasted just 2 2/3 innings Sunday versus the reigning champs.

10. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 7

The general theme of the Cardinals’ season so far is that they’ve been able to beat up on bad teams but can’t replicate that success against clubs of above or equal measure. They got swept by the Padres last weekend in San Diego, dropped two of three to the Cubs at home this weekend, and then lost 5-1 on Monday versus the White Sox. And, yes, they swept a two-game set from the Pirates in between. It’s a must for St. Louis to add a top-flight starting pitcher before the trade deadline.

11. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 12

They’ve won four of their last six games, including a 6-5 victory over the Tigers on Monday night, but the injury to Franmil Reyes looms quite large for an Indians offense that currently ranks 24th among all 30 major league teams in combined OPS with a mark of .673. Reyes was raking to an .893 OPS with 11 home runs and 29 RBI through 40 games when he went down with an internal oblique strain on Saturday. The expectation is that he will be out of commission for the next 5-7 weeks.

12. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 10

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. blasted a pair of home runs on Monday afternoon against the Rays, but the Blue Jays ultimately fell in extra innings and have now lost six straight games entering a big three-game set at Yankee Stadium. Offense is not the issue, what with Vlad Jr. flourishing to the tune of a .333/.443/.661 batting line, 15 home runs, 39 RBI, and 37 runs scored through 46 games (201 plate appearances) at age 22. Maybe blame the bullpen, which is beginning to unravel here in late May.

13. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 14

Keston Hiura returned to the majors with a single, a walk, and a run scored and Brandon Woodruff tossed seven scoreless innings -- while lowering his season ERA to 1.41 -- as the Brewers beat the Padres on Monday and pushed their winning streak to three. Hiura feels so crucial to this team’s chances the rest of the way. He went 14-for-32 (.438) with three home runs, six doubles, seven RBI, two stolen bases, and eight runs scored during his nine-game stay at Triple-A Nashville.

14. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 17

Check out the Cubs making a little charge. They’ve won three consecutive series and have rattled off a 13-7 record so far in May while leaping into second place in the National League Central. Next comes a three-game set in Pittsburgh against a very beatable Pirates club. Ian Happ seems to have found his stride at the plate since returning May 15 from a rib contusion. He is 11-for-29 (.379) with four homers, three doubles, seven RBI, and seven runs scored over his last eight games.

15. New York Mets
Last Week: 13

Jacob deGrom (side) is due back Tuesday, but the Mets are in a tough spot at present with a ton of key contributors sitting on the IL. Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil have both been ruled out through late June with their respective hamstring injuries, and Carlos Carrasco’s projected debut date is now in early July. This team has already used 41 different players through 41 games this year, after using a total of 47 players in 2020. The franchise record for most players used in a season is 56.

16. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 19

The defending NL East champs have somehow failed to climb over the .500 mark at any point this season, but they absolutely dominated the final three games of their four-game weekend series against the Pirates and will roll into Boston aiming to make a statement. Austin Riley is on some kind of heater at the moment with six home runs, four doubles, and 11 RBI over his last seven games. The 24-year-old third baseman is hitting .376/.469/.697 in 130 plate appearances since April 18.

17. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 21

It does seem like the Royals have righted the ship a bit after trudging through an 11-game losing streak earlier this month. They took four of five from the Brewers and Tigers last week and split a four-game set with the White Sox before that. Carlos Santana provided the thunder on Sunday versus Detroit with a 442-foot walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. He’s been a nice pickup for Kansas City so far, sporting an .856 OPS with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 45 games.

18. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 16

After falling 9-6 to the Marlins on Monday evening in Miami, the Phillies have now lost five of their last six games and seven of their last nine. Nobody is running away with the National League East just yet -- in fact, Philly sits just 1 1/2 games back of first place as of Tuesday afternoon -- but this lineup is a whole lot more navigable with J.T. Realmuto (hand) and Didi Gregorius (elbow) on the injured list. It’s also curious that Bryce Harper has been held out the last two games. Load management?

19. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 25

Miami has won three straight games, and six of its last eight, to move within a victory of the .500 mark. And it appears that Starling Marte (rib) could be back on the active roster by the end of this week as he readies to begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday at Triple-A. The dynamic outfielder was batting .316/.420/.491 with two home runs and three stolen bases through 15 games (69 plate appearances) before suffering a non-displaced fracture at the base of his rib cage on April 18.

20. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 18

Cincinnati got swept by the Giants in a four-game series last week and then dropped two of three to the division-rival Brewers over the weekend. Across those seven games -- again, six of them being losses -- Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos had 24 hits in 52 at-bats while the rest of the lineup managed only 30 hits in 182 at-bats. Reds pitchers, meanwhile, have combined for a 5.15 ERA in 404 total innings this season, which is the second-worst combined ERA among all 30 major league clubs.

21. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 15

It was encouraging to see Jarred Kelenic hit another homer on Monday night, his second since getting called up on May 13. He’s still batting just .146 overall with a .564 OPS through his first 45 major league plate appearances, but there have been signs of his high-level potential in certain games. Logan Gilbert, who arrived with Kelenic, has allowed seven earned runs through his first two major league outings covering only 6 2/3 innings. He’ll make his third start on Tuesday night versus Oakland.

22. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 22

Texas pulled off a surprising three-game sweep of the Astros over the weekend, thanks in large part to Adolis Garcia’s continued heroics. The 28-year-old outfielder homered and drove in five total runs on Friday, slugged a pair of solo shots on Saturday, and then slapped a walk-off RBI infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning on Sunday. He boasts a .291 batting average and .932 OPS with 14 home runs, 38 RBI, five stolen bases, and 23 runs scored across 39 games played this season.

23. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 24

Victor Robles was finally placed on the injured list Sunday due to a right ankle sprain that had been lingering since last Wednesday. This is shaping up as yet another disappointing season for the 24-year-old former top prospect, who earned NL Rookie of the Year consideration following his breakout 2019 campaign but has slashed just .230/.316/.319 with three home runs and eight stolen bases over his last 91 games (322 plate appearances) dating back to the beginning of 2020.

24. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20

Losers of 15 out of their last 22 games, the Angels are now faced with the tall task of attempting to climb back into contention in the absence of Mike Trout, who’s expected to be sidelined until sometime in July after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his right calf early last week. The 29-year-old three-time American League MVP had produced a career-best 1.090 OPS across his first 36 games (146 plate appearances) this season. Maybe we’ll get another look soon at Jo Adell?

25. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 28

This disappointing Twins team has suddenly won four out of its last five games, but it’s fair to wonder whether the early-season hole might be too deep to crawl out of, especially with Kenta Maeda landing on the 10-day injured list Sunday due to a right adductor (groin) strain. Maeda had not pitched particularly well this year, but he finished second in the American League Cy Young Award balloting in 2020 with a 2.70 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, and 80/10 K/BB ratio in 11 starts covering 66 2/3 innings.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 23

The free-falling Diamondbacks have lost eight games in a row and 13 straight on the road. They stand 4-18 in May after managing a respectable 14-12 record in April. Is it time to start thinking about the potential trade chips on this roster? Eduardo Escobar, who’s in the final year of a three-year, $21 million deal, could maybe fetch a decent return for his power bat and ability to play both second and third base. The 32-year-old has put up 12 home runs and 35 RBI through 47 games this season.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 27

Pittsburgh dropped five of six last week against the Cardinals and Braves, adding to a wretched 6-15 overall record here in the month of May. That weekend series in Atlanta featured losses of 7-1, 6-1, and 20-1, and the Pirates’ run differential for the season is down to -78, by far the worst mark of any MLB club. But, uh, at least Ke’Bryan Hayes does appear likely to be activated from the 60-day IL when first eligible on June 3. He embarked on a minor league rehab assignment on Saturday.

28. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 26

Baltimore is just 5-16 in May and will lug a season-worst seven-game losing streak into Tuesday night’s tilt at Minnesota. But it’s worth shining a light on Trey Mancini as he runs away with AL Comeback Player of the Year. That’s probably not even a high enough honor for what he’s doing in his return from chemotherapy for colon cancer. The 29-year-old has registered an .864 OPS and 10 home runs through 47 games this season, and he currently leads all MLB hitters in RBI with 41.

29. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 30

With their 3-2 victory over the Mets on Monday night at Citi Field, the Rockies posted just their third win in 20 road games this year. But they did sweep the Diamondbacks over the weekend at Coors Field and have a 16-12 record at home. The splits are especially uneven on trade candidate Jon Gray, who’s registered a 2.36 ERA and five quality starts in seven outings at Colorado and a 6.89 ERA with zero quality starts in three outings away. Usually you see the reverse with Rockies pitchers.

30. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 29

Spencer Turnbull did not pull a Johnny Vander Meer on Monday against the Indians, yielding three runs on seven hits over six innings of work in his first outing since twirling a no-no last Tuesday night in Seattle. Detroit ultimately fell 6-5 to Cleveland, after dropping the final two games of a three-game weekend series at Kansas City. The bullpen is often an afterthought for rebuilding clubs, and that is especially true for this relief corps, which is floundering to a league-worst 5.78 combined ERA.