Rich 10 MLB Rankings (Apr. 13-19, 2021)

If you want to know how early it is through the first handful of MLB games, just remember this – most teams have just started to hit the double-digit game threshold. Even for those teams, the percentage of the schedule completed is no greater than 7%.

Regardless of what percentage of the season is already behind us, one this is as certain as ever. Depth will be key. Even through the first two weeks of MLB action, a slew of players has either been marred with injuries or have been threatened by it. 

As teams continue to transition back to the grind of a 162-game season, another installment of Rich 10 MLB Power Rankings is in order. Here is where the MLB field stands as the third week of action gets underway. 

Just a bit outside: New York Yankees (5-5) 

Previous ranking: 8

Record over past week: 3-3

New York squeaked out a victory against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin in just enough time to stay inside this power ranking installment. In New York’s case, the best way to get a winning streak going is to lean on a strength. Enter Gerrit Cole, who combined to pitch 13.0 innings, strike out 21, walk one and concede only one earned run in two games started over the past week. As the rotation behind Cole continues to take shape, the 30-year-old fireballer will need to throw more filth and pick up as many dubs as he can. It was tempting to put Atlanta, San Francisco or Minnesota here, but again, it is early, and teams are so interchangeable right now that you could definitely make a case for them. New York is very deep, and while I hate to put a team in this power ranking solely based off of potential, New York is almost an exception to the rule. This does not mean they can perform horribly and get away with it, though. 

10. Tampa Bay Rays (5-5)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 3-3

The run differential (-13) is definitely not attractive, but if their series win against the Yankees over the weekend (along with their 1-0 shutout against Texas on Apr. 12) is any indication, Tampa Bay could be on the rise. The recent stretch, however, cannot be taken for granted, as the Rays will turn around and play the Yankees again over the weekend after they finish up a four-game set against Texas during the week. Tampa Bay is almost in the same situation as their rival in New York – rely on your strength. Greetings and salutations, Tyler Glasnow. 

9. Houston Astros (6-4)

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 2-3

Getting KO’d against the Detroit Tigers on Monday evening (and against their former manager in A.J. Hinch, no less) stings. So does dropping a series against Oakland at Minute Maid Park over the weekend. However, the offense continues to hit, especially when looking at their youngsters in Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez. The pair have already combined for 12 extra-base hits (six doubles, six home runs) this season. To really appreciate the latter’s tendency to destroy baseballs, well, just watch. Houston fell off when compared to their previous position in this ranking, but if their offense replicates what Alvarez can do, they will be in the postseason race until the very end. 

8. Philadelphia Phillies (6-3)

Previous ranking: 2

Record over past week: 2-3

Perhaps the biggest controversy of the season so far came on Apr. 11, when Alec Bohm “crossed” home plate in the top of the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves. After a pivotal review, the call stood, and the Phillies were able to keep their go-ahead run. They then went on to shut Atlanta down during the bottom half to seal the 7-6 win. Controversy aside, Bohm will be a critical piece to a potentially complex Philadelphia puzzle, and although the 24-year-old is slashing .235/.270/.353/.623, the talent is too great for the third baseman to hover around this mark for the entire season. Bohm will look to get it going when his Phillies take on the New York Mets (four games) and St. Louis Cardinals (three games) this week. 

7. Cleveland Indians (5-4)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-1

Cleveland’s four-game winning streak was snapped Monday evening against the Chicago White Sox. While the franchise traded away its superstar in Francisco Lindor, they are still gritty enough to win games. The starting rotation is still striking out every other batter, and the likes of Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes (who have combined to slug six home runs already) have battered the ball into submission. It is early, but the next few weeks could show what this team is made of. Their opponents? The White Sox, Reds, Yankees and Minnesota Twins, just to name a few. 

6. Milwaukee Brewers (6-4)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-1

It looked too familiar halfway through their home game against the Chicago Cubs on Monday. Milwaukee was battling a cold spell with the lumber. However, Milwaukee fans received their wish for offense, as the Brewers hung up six against Chicago’s Adbert Alzolay and Andrew Chafin in the bottom of the sixth inning. Milwaukee utilized the crooked inning and hung on to win, 6-3. The fascinating part about the bat-around? Milwaukee did not find the seats – they just found the necessary holes in the field of play and made the necessary contact to capitalize on it. Milwaukee will need more of this kind of offense should Christian Yelich (back) find himself on the pine more than the batter’s box. 

5. Los Angeles Angels (7-3)

Previous ranking: 5

Record over past week: 3-2

The Angels remain inside the top five, but will need to withstand the injuries should they want to stay in it. Outfielder Dexter Fowler tore his ACL after sliding into second base during Friday’s contest against Toronto. Anthony Rendon, meanwhile, was placed on the 10-Day Injured List (IL) after the 30-year-old injured his groin on Apr. 10. The Angels will play the Kansas City Royals for two more games before starting up a six-game home stretch against Minnesota and Texas (three games apiece). 

4. Cincinnati Reds (7-3)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-2

Cincinnati was very close to cracking the previous ranking installment, and although they dropped a pair over the past week, they find themselves in this ranking. There is no denying the production Joey Votto has put forth over the entirety of his 15-year MLB career. However, if the left-handed first baseman could tap into the tank one last time, Cincinnati just might surprise the pundits. Maybe all it takes is one swing into the drink to get a jolt of life. Fun fact: the road bomb Votto smashed against San Francisco on Apr. 12 was his first home run on the road since Sep. 11, 2020 (@ St. Louis) and his first at Oracle Park since July 26, 2016.

3. Boston Red Sox (6-3) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-0

Since getting swept in three against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway to start off the 2021 season, the Red Sox have won six games in a row. The team has not only led the sport in runs scored since Apr. 5 (53), but in On-base Plus Slugging (.963), too. This is no fluke, either – when looking at Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), which looks at how many runs are created after adjusting for park factor, Boston’s 160 wRC+ ranked first over the stretch and was well over the mean (100). There is no denying this team can, and will, hit. J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo (who each maintained an OPS north of 1.000 during the streak) will definitely show this time and time again. It will all revolve back to the same age-old question: do they have enough pitching for the long haul? 

2. San Diego Padres (8-3)

Previous ranking: 4 

Record over past week: 5-1

Joe Musgrove was named National League Player of the Week, and for good reason – the San Diego native twirled the first no-hitter of the season against the Texas Rangers on Apr. 9. The no-hitter was not only the first for the 28-year-old, but also the first in franchise history. Keep in mind – through the Blake Snell and Yu Darvish trades, Musgrove was also acquired in what amounted to a quiet move when compared to the other blockbusters. In just one game, he has already proven his worth nine-fold (see what I did there?). The Friars will conclude a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Jackie Robinson Day (Apr. 15) before heading back to Petco Park to play six games. The first opponent? The Los Angeles Dodgers for three. This is going to be juicy.  

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (8-2) 

Previous ranking: 1

Record over past week: 4-1

It was a week of celebration for the reigning World Series Champion Dodgers, as the team officially received the bling before Friday’s home game against the Washington Nationals. The team additionally played in tribute to longtime Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda during the Saturday bout. In both games, the Dodgers came out victorious. To top it all off, Clayton Kershaw showed his classic vintage and outlasted fellow top-of-the-line starter in Max Scherzer on Sunday. This team simply knows how to win, and to think – they are doing this with Mookie Betts (back) and Cody Bellinger (calf) dealing with early season injury ails. You can pick out a great team from a good one in terms of how they hold up to the injuries. Take a wild guess on what category the Dodgers fall under.

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