Rich 10 MLB Rankings (Apr. 6-12, 2021)

And just like that, the first weekend of the 2021 MLB season is in the books. 

Everything baseball fans wanted this past weekend they most definitely received, whether it be pitching duels, slugfests, wild critters and/or benches emptying. 

As one would expect, these rankings, in addition to several future ones, will fluctuate tremendously as every team attempts to establish their footing. 

So, who cracked the list this time around? Well, here you have it. 

Just a bit outside: Kansas City Royals (3-1)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 3-1

Do not slaughter me, now. It is early (like, very early), but still – Kansas City made mincemeat of the Texas Rangers this past weekend. That is putting it lightly, too – in two out of three games against Texas, the Royals scored double-digit runs in back-to-back contests (14 on Apr. 1 and 11 on Apr. 3). Then, just for good measure, they blanked the Cleveland Indians on Apr. 5 to spoil their home opener. Look, I do not think anyone expects Kansas City to be a mainstay in this ranking installment in the long-run, but sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due. 

10. Baltimore Orioles (3-1) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 3-1

OK, now you really think I just came off of the banana boat. Remember what I said about Kansas City? Apply the same statement here. Baltimore is still rebuilding, but they will be more entertaining when compared to previous renditions of the club. Demolishing a shaky Boston Red Sox pitching unit definitely showed the potential of what the offense can be in the future (they scored all 18 runs against them without the use of the home run). Getting punched in the mouth against the New York Yankees on Apr. 5 brings back the potentially bleaker reality for the O’s this season, but nevertheless, this team deserves its praise. The question for Baltimore now? How they rebound from their harsh losses. Getting Austin Hays (right hamstring strain) healthy will also be on the agenda. 

9. Chicago Cubs (3-1) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 3-1

Many would expect the other Chicago baseball team to inhabit this list. Maybe in due time, but until then, the North Siders find themselves in this ranking installment. While Trevor Williams is growing out the lettuce, he is also extending perfect games into the sixth inning, like he did Monday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. Additional production from Zach Davies gives Chicago a pair of grind-it-out pitchers who can take the ball every fifth day and sponge up innings. No matter what direction the Cubbies go in this season, that is definitely valuable. 

8. New York Yankees (2-2) 

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 2-2

Trouncing Baltimore en route to a 7-0 victory on Apr. 7 was definitely the way the Bronx Bombers wanted to start their week after dropping two out of three against the Toronto Blue Jays. Everyone knows what the Yankees can be, and what they can do was what they did do against Baltimore – their sluggers in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton each tallied their first home run of the year. Judge took it the other way, while Stanton slammed the Orioles into submission. New York will look to continue their power stroke this week, as they will complete their series against Baltimore (two games) before heading on the road to face the Tampa Bay Rays (three games) this weekend. 

7. Minnesota Twins (3-1) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 3-1

Jose Berrios, the floor (or mound?) is yours. Before being pulled on Apr. 3 against Milwaukee after the conclusion of the sixth inning, the 26-year-old right-hander was dealing, as he tallied together 12 strikeouts with zero hits, zero walks and one hit batter. In other words, Berrios was on pace to pick up a no-hitter, but alas, load management early in the season cannot be taken lightly. Although Minnesota was unable to complete the no-hit bid, their pitching has definitely looked solid from the starting rotation down. Then you have 40-year-old Nelson Cruz, who is still putting together multi-home run games. His two-home run and five-RBI day against Detroit on Monday was the first time a player at least 40 years of age logged at least two home runs and collected at least five RBIs in the same game (Cruz did it on July 26 against the Chicago White Sox last season). In fact, you would have to go all the way back to 2013 to find a player not named Cruz that matched the same criteria (Todd Helton hit two bombs and drove in six against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 30).

6. Toronto Blue Jays (3-1) 

Previous ranking: 7

Record over past week: 3-1

Even against the rebuilding Rangers on Apr. 5, Toronto’s offseason pickup in Steven Matz did exactly what was expected, as the 29-year-old southpaw twirled 6.1 innings of nine-strikeout and one-run ball. Shoutout to Tyler Chatwood, too – in three appearances so far this season, the 31-year-old has a 0.00 ERA (2.1 innings pitched). Small sample size galore, I know, but swingmen like Chatwood will be pivotal toward Toronto’s bullpen success without the likes of Kirby Yates (Tommy John surgery). Toronto will conclude their series against Texas on Apr. 7 before heading “home” to Dunedin, Florida to play seven games against the Angels (four games) and Yankees (three games). 

5. Los Angeles Angels (4-1) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-1

The news of the weekend regarding the Angels came in the form of their dual-threat pitcher-batter hybrid in Shohei Ohtani. The fireballer started on the mound and batted second on Apr. 4 against the Chicago White Sox. In fact, Ohtani was the first player since 1903 to start a game and also bat second in the lineup. Historic feat aside, the Japanese native was a mixed bag during the contest – on one hand, he illustrated his triple-digit fastball velocity and smashed a dinger. On the other, he walked five batters and was pulled after 4.2 innings of work after a scary bang-bang play at home plate. Luckily for the Angels, Ohtani is reportedly “fine” after the collision. Breathe slowly, Halo fans. 

4. San Diego Padres (3-2) 

Previous ranking: 2

Record over past week: 3-2

Despite losing a close game against the San Francisco Giants, 3-2 on Monday evening, the Padres remain inside the top five in this ranking installment. Their ability to stay inside it, however, will be tested early – Fernando Tatis Jr. exited the game against San Francisco after striking out in the third inning. Look for utility player Jake Cronenworth (who is currently slashing .412/.545/.647 in five games played) to take on an even more significant role should Tatis Jr. miss significant time. San Diego will conclude their three-game series against San Francisco on Wednesday and will return to action Friday to take on the Rangers at Globe Life Field. 

3. Houston Astros (4-1)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-1

Houston’s 7-6 loss to the Angels Monday night definitely stung, considering the fact that Houston jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Houston’s firepower, even with the loss and the controversy attached to them, will still have the potential to put up formidable numbers no matter the game. Their top-five of Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa is currently averaging a 1.037 On Base Plus Slugging (OPS). Small sample size aside, this team should hit very well. Even when taking trash cans out of the equation, their talent is that immense. Then again, we shall see. 

2. Philadelphia Phillies (4-0)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-0

We see you, City of Brotherly Love. After dominating the Atlanta Braves over the weekend and rallying back to win against the New York Mets on Monday, Philadelphia is the only undefeated club remaining among teams to have played a game (sorry, Washington). Specifically, Philadelphia’s 5-3 victory against New York proved two things. One, their star players in Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, J.T. Realmuto and Co. can crank it up a notch when needed. Second (and perhaps most importantly), their bullpen looks more refined. In four games played this season, Philadelphia’s bullpen has allowed one run (it came with two outs in the ninth inning against New York). If their relievers can provide just enough support in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning moving forward, Philadelphia will be a tough nut to crack. Key word is “if,” of course.  

1.  Los Angeles Dodgers (4-1)

Previous ranking: 1

Record over past week: 4-1

The Dodgers are likely going to inhabit this spot a lot this season. Ponder this for a second – sinker-baller Dustin May, who would make a strong case as a top-of-the-line pitcher on many other MLB clubs, is practically a back-of-the-rotation starter on the Dodgers’ starting five. However, one would not think it when you look at the performance the 23-year-old put together. After all, May only pitched six shutout innings of two-hit ball Monday against the Oakland Athletics. Sure, Oakland might be struggling, but still. May is going to be a star, and he just might be warming up. 

Leave a Reply