MLB Power Rankings: Week 9

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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. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 35-20
Last Week: 3

Rich Hill tossed five scoreless innings and Austin Meadows belted his 12th home run of the season as Tampa Bay earned a 3-1 victory over the Yankees on Monday afternoon in the Bronx. It was the 16th win for the Rays in their last 17 games, and they ultimately closed out the month of May with a 22-6 record, which goes down as the winningest single month in franchise history. The defending American League champions have the best record in all of baseball here at the beginning of June.

2. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 1

If the Padres can’t get back into the win column on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, they’ll match their longest losing streak of the season. But, yeah, that longest losing streak is only three games. All is well for the Friars, who hold the very best run differential in the major leagues at +81. There has to be at least some concern about Blake Snell, though, after he got shelled for seven runs in just three innings Sunday in Houston. He owns a 5.55 ERA and has worked into the sixth inning only once this year.

3. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 6

Chicago had a five-game winning streak in the works before losing 3-1 in the second half of Monday’s doubleheader against the Indians. Jose Abreu is the current MLB leader in RBI with 46, which really comes as no shock after he led all of MLB in that category last season (60 RBI in 60 games) en route to earning MVP honors in the American League. He also finished first in the AL in RBI in 2019, plating 123 runs in 159 games. That three-year, $50 million contract extension is looking like a bargain.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 2

The defending World Series champions lost three of four to the Giants over the weekend, but they had been on a nice run before that and easily took care of the Cardinals on Monday night, winning 9-4 as Gavin Lux slugged a pair of home runs. The overall season totals for Lux aren’t all that eye-popping, but he has hit .295/.356/.505 across his last 104 plate appearances dating back to May 2. It sure seems like the 23-year-old former top prospect is finding his groove at baseball’s highest level.

5. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 4

Even factoring in a rough 11-2 loss to the Astros on Memorial Day, the Red Sox have won seven of their last 10 games and hold a three-game lead on the top American League Wild Card spot -- if it’s not too early to sneak a peek at the Wild Card standings. But, um, what’s going on with Eduardo Rodriguez? He pitched so promisingly in April, shedding some fears about last year’s battle with myocarditis, but the lefty has now yielded 19 earned runs over his last four starts covering 19 2/3 innings.

6. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 9

Beyond the 6-1 defeat of the Angels, which pushed the Giants’ winning streak to four, the best news from Monday was that an MRI on Kevin Gausman’s sore left hip turned up negative for any structural damage. The right-hander boasts a 6-0 record, 1.40 ERA, 0.807 WHIP, and 83/16 K/BB ratio through 70 2/3 innings (11 starts) this year and is expected to be able to take his next scheduled turn Saturday against the Cubs. He went six scoreless frames Sunday in a win over the arch-rival Dodgers.

7. Houston Astros
Last Week: 8

Jose Urquidy returned from the IL in fine form on Monday, striking out nine batters over six innings of one-run, three hit ball as the Astros routed the Red Sox. The 26-year-old missed a couple of weeks due to shoulder inflammation, but he now has a 3.02 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 50 2/3 total innings this season and should be a big part of the Houston rotation moving forward. Kyle Tucker also shined on Monday with three hits and four RBI. He’s batting .333/.409/.654 with 19 RBI in his last 20 games.

8. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 7

Oakland dropped the final two games of a weekend series versus the Angels and then fell in extra innings on Monday afternoon in Seattle. Those three losses came without the presence of center fielder Ramon Laureano, who is expected to be placed on the injured list Tuesday because of a lingering right groin issue. When healthy this season, the dynamic 26-year-old has produced an .834 OPS with 11 home runs and eight stolen bases in 48 games. He’ll miss at least the first week of June.

9. New York Yankees
Last Week: 5

So, uh, the Yankees are no longer surging. They lost two of three to the Blue Jays last week, got swept by the lowly Tigers over the weekend, and then fell 3-1 in Monday’s series opener against the visiting Rays. That’s six losses in seven games and a current four-game losing streak. Corey Kluber, who threw a no-hitter on May 19 and has a 3.04 ERA for the year, is probably going to be sidelined until late July or early August due to a subscapularis muscle strain in his right shoulder.

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10. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 14

In beating the Padres on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field, the Cubs put a 19-8 record on the board for May -- the first time a Cubs team has won more than 18 games in May since 1977. Javier Baez slugged a pair of homers in that Memorial Day victory over San Diego and is now up to 13 home runs through 48 games played this season. Even more encouraging is that the impending free agent shortstop’s OPS has risen above .800. But it’s far more ‘S’ than the ‘O’ with Baez: his OBP is .295.

11. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 10

There’s probably a bit of panic in St. Louis right now after staff ace Jack Flaherty made an early exit from his start Monday night against the Dodgers after tweaking his side on a swing in the top of the sixth inning. In predictable fashion, the Cardinals’ bullpen blew that game in the bottom of the sixth, with Genesis Cabrera issuing yet another bases-loaded walk. St. Louis pitchers have yielded 15 bases-loaded walks already this year. The most they've had in a full season since 1974 is 17. Yikes.

12. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 13

Corbin Burnes worked six innings of one-run ball and Willy Adames slugged a two-run homer as the Brewers eked out a 3-2 victory over the Tigers on Memorial Day while running their current winning streak to five. Burnes now has a 2.24 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, and 81/7 K/BB ratio in 52 1/3 innings (nine starts) this season. Adames, meanwhile, is 11-for-34 (.324) with two home runs and nine RBI in 10 games since being acquired from the Rays on May 21 in exchange for a couple of relievers.

13. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 11

Cleveland split a doubleheader with the Blue Jays on Sunday and then did the same Monday versus the White Sox. Four games in two days, it’s like AAU baseball! The injury to Zach Plesac is problematic for the Indians given the way they have to rely on high-level pitching to stay afloat in contention. Per manager Terry Francona, the 26-year-old right-hander fractured the thumb on his pitching hand last week when he caught it on a chair while “aggressively” changing clothes. That’s a new one.

14. New York Mets
Last Week: 15

Winners of five straight, the Mets probably deserve more than a one-spot jump in this week’s NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings, but the same can be a said for a number of other teams here in the middle ground. Jacob deGrom was in full force Monday night against the Diamondbacks, striking out eight batters over six shutout innings. He became the first starting pitcher in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008) to average triple digits on his fastball in a game. That average was 100.1 mph.

15. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 12

They won four of six last week on a rainy road trip through the Bronx and Cleveland, and now the Blue Jays will stage another home opener of sorts on Tuesday at Sahlen Field in Buffalo against the visiting Marlins. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s splits may be worth monitoring as the Jays leave behind TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. He slashed .410/.521/.897 with 11 home runs and 28 RBI in 21 games there and has slashed .259/.362/.444 with five homers and 14 RBI in 31 games everywhere else.

16. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 16

The lead story in Atlanta right now is Marcell Ozuna’s arrest Saturday on charges of aggravated assault by strangulation and battery against his wife. Ozuna was already going to be sidelined until sometime in July after fracturing the ring and middle fingers on his left hand when he slid into the foot of Rafael Devers last Tuesday in Boston, but that absence now figures to extend through the remainder of the year given the lengthy suspension he faces under MLB’s domestic violence and abuse policy.

17. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 17

Keep an eye on the NBC Sports EDGE player news page for updates on Adalberto Mondesi, who was removed from Monday night’s game against the Pirates due to what’s being called a left hamstring tweak. The star shortstop was playing in just his seventh game of the 2021 regular season after missing all of April and most of May because of a severe right oblique strain. Mondesi has batted .360 with a 1.080 OPS in 26 plate appearances since coming off the IL last Tuesday evening.

18. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 21

They won six of seven against the Athletics and Rangers last week and then beat Oakland in extra innings on Monday. That’s seven total victories in a span of eight games, all while Jarred Kelenic continues to struggle. Since getting called up on May 13, the top outfield prospect has gone 8-for-68 (.118) with 17 strikeouts through his first 18 major league games. Granted, two of those eight hits are homers and he’s also recorded three steals. Kelenic should eventually be a five-category filler in fantasy.

19. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 18

The stumbling Phillies got routed 11-1 on Monday afternoon in Cincinnati and have now lost three straight games and 11 of their last 15. Bryce Harper was placed on the 10-day injured list last week with a lingering left forearm contusion and is not expected to be ready for activation when first eligible, so this hole could easily grow deeper as we push into June. Harper had posted an .884 OPS with seven home runs and four stolen bases through 38 games (162 plate appearances) this season.

20. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 20

After going 12-13 in April, the Reds went 12-15 in May, which pretty much sums up the current status of this club. Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker have been excellent offensively and Wade Miley was sharp in his return from a foot sprain Monday against the Phillies, but there are big sources of disappointment up and down the roster. Eugenio Suarez, even with his 12 home runs, is batting .160 with a .616 OPS in 217 plate appearances. Luis Castillo holds a 7.22 ERA through 11 starts.

21. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 19

Miami was flirting with the .500 mark this time last week but will now carry a three-game losing streak into Tuesday’s series opener versus the Blue Jays. This team again looks more like a July 30 trade deadline seller than an actual contender. The good news to that end is that Starling Marte returned from the injured list Friday and had a pair of doubles in his two games played this weekend in Boston. The impending free agent outfielder is hitting .317/.429/.508 in 77 plate appearances when healthy.

22. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 24

Dylan Bundy proved to be a tremendous pickup for the Angels last season as he pitched to a 3.29 ERA, 1.036 WHIP, and 72/17 K/BB ratio across 65 2/3 innings (11 starts) while earning a couple of down-ballot votes for the 2020 American League Cy Young Award. Welp. The 28-year-old right-hander surrendered four earned runs -- including three homers -- in 5 2/3 innings of work Monday in a loss to the Giants and is now 0-6 with a 6.49 ERA through 51 1/3 innings (10 starts) here in 2021.

23. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 22

Another week, another Adolis Garcia update. Unless you’d rather us focus on the fact that the Rangers have lost six straight. Garcia, as of Tuesday afternoon, is tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Ronald Acuna for the MLB home run lead with 16. And he ranks fifth on the RBI leaderboard with 41. Quick reminder that Texas designated the 28-year-old outfielder for assignment this past February, after acquiring him from the Cardinals in December 2019 for cash considerations.

24. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 23

No team has threatened yet to run away with the NL East, and no team in that division is necessarily out of it, but the Nationals do currently sit in last place amid a five-game losing streak. Juan Soto’s left shoulder might still be an issue. He returned from the injured list on May 4 but has struggled to hit for power since and owns an overall .782 OPS through 40 games played this year. The young slugger registered an MLB-best 1.185 OPS in 47 games during the truncated 2020 campaign.

25. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 25

They lost two of three to the Royals over the weekend, but the Twins bounced right back to beat the Orioles on Monday afternoon and have now won eight of their last 11 games dating back to the second half of a doubleheader in Anaheim on May 20. Maybe we’re seeing a turnaround? Getting star center fielder Byron Buxton off the IL and back into the mix would certainly help the general feeling around this club, but his rehab assignment was delayed last week due to ongoing hip discomfort.

26. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 30

In staging a surprising three-game weekend sweep of the Yankees, the Tigers secured their first winning month (14-13 in May) since early 2018. Most of the credit goes to the young starting rotation, what with Matthew Boyd, Casey Mize, and Spencer Turnbull all currently showing ERAs under 3.50. And there have been a lot of positive results lately from 24-year-old left-hander Tarik Skubal, who holds a 3.33 ERA and 39/9 K/BB ratio over his last five starts covering 27 innings.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 27

Ke’Bryan Hayes is with the Pirates in Kansas City and projects to be activated from the 60-day injured list when first eligible this Thursday. He did a full pregame workout at Kauffman Stadium on Monday. The 24-year-old budding star hasn’t appeared in a game for the Bucs since injuring his left wrist on a swing-and-miss at Wrigley Field back on April 3. He owns a ridiculous .367/.441/.689 batting line through his first 102 major league plate appearances and will try to pick up right where he left off.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 19-36
Last Week: 26

This post from the Diamondbacks’ official Twitter account is kind of a perfect wrap-up: “Good riddance, May 2021.” They went 5-24 for the month, after putting together a promising 14-12 record in April. Sunday’s defeat of the Cardinals snapped a 13-game losing streak, but the D-backs jumped right back into the loss column on Monday night against the Mets and currently hold the second-worst winning percentage (.345) in the major leagues. At least Zac Gallen (elbow) is throwing again?

29. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 29

It’s been a miserable year for the Rockies, and Trevor Story’s elbow injury obviously won’t help matters. But there must be some level of excitement building around left-hander Austin Gomber, who was part of the return package in the Nolan Arenado trade. Gomber has posted a 1.93 ERA with 26 strikeouts and only three walks across his last four starts covering 23 1/3 innings. This is the same pitcher who issued seven walks in his three-inning 2021 debut on April 4 against the Dodgers.

30. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 28

The losing streak extended to 14 on Monday afternoon at Camden Yards as the O’s fell 3-2 in extra innings against the visiting Twins. That’s tied with the 1954 team for the second-longest losing streak in the 121-year history of this franchise. 1954 was the Orioles’ inaugural season in Baltimore, after they moved from St. Louis and ditched the Browns moniker. The franchise record for consecutive losses came in 1988, when that group dropped 21 straight games to begin the year.