Rich 10 MLB Rankings (Apr. 21-26, 2021)

As the first month of the 2021 MLB season continues to trek onward, more and more storylines are blooming. 

Whether it be from underperforming teams, stadium light malfunctions, spectacled no-hitters or a weekend series worthy of October, the new season has been exciting. As advertised, of course. 

With that said, a new installment of Rich 10 MLB Power Rankings is in order. Let’s give it a look (or read), shall we? 

Just a bit outside: Chicago White Sox (9-9) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-4

What locked the South Siders back into a spot in this power ranking series? Simple – their starting pitching. Look, if your team twirls a no-hitter like Carlos Rodon did on Apr. 14 against the Cleveland Indians, it is very difficult to not crack this ranking installment. An uptick in velocity, coupled with a tweak in his pitching mechanics, very well might be the remedy the 28-year-old southpaw needs to become a legitimate top-of-the-rotation option for Chicago. He had a rough outing in his rematch against Cleveland on Apr. 20, but the confidence is still there. That might be all it takes. 

10. San Francisco Giants (11-6) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-2

San Francisco might not possess the best talent depth in the National League, but they can still battle. Your (now healthy) franchise catcher hitting with authority definitely makes you an intriguing club, though. Buster Posey, after missing his two previous games (elbow) promptly tallied two home runs on Apr. 20 against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the 34-year-old’s first multi-homer game since May 28, 2016 against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Talk about a long time coming. 

9. Seattle Mariners (11-7)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 6-3

Rejoice, Mariner fans. Mitch Haniger is finally healthy again. After playing 63 games in 2019 and not playing at all in 2020, the right-handed batter is re-discovering his stride so far this season. In 18 games played so far this season, the 30-year-old is slashing .315/.333/.575 with a .909 On-base Plus Slugging (OPS). As long as Ty France (who is slashing .306/.405/.516/.922) stays healthy, the Mariners have security blanket that can reliably protect the younger hitters. Public service announcement: the return of Kyle Lewis (knee) will only make Seattle a more entertaining team to keep an eye or two on.  

8. Milwaukee Brewers (10-7)

Previous ranking: 6 

Record over past week: 4-3

If you have not heard of Corbin Burnes yet, learn the name now. I mean, watch this. His dominating performance against a capable San Diego lineup should tell you everything you need to know. However, in case the message is still a tad bit cloudy, read this – dating back to 1901, Burnes is the only starting pitcher to strike out 40 or more and not walk a single batter through his first four starts to begin a season (minimum of 20.0 innings pitched). If this becomes more and more of the norm for the right-hander, we are talking Cy Young Award consideration, here. At the minimum. 

7. Cincinnati Reds (9-6)

Previous ranking: 4

Record over past week: 2-3

Even when you set aside the Nick Castellanos’ two-game suspension that was upheld (remember this?), Cincinnati is still chugging away. In what remains a wide-open National League Central, the Reds could do serious damage. Why not? Sonny Gray (back) made his return to the mound on Apr. 17, and while Luis Castillo has yet to put together a dominant stretch, he is bound to with the arsenal he has at his disposal. Cincinnati might not be the most dominant team in baseball, but if planets and stars align, they could put forth a respectable effort at it. 

6. Tampa Bay Rays (10-8)

Previous ranking: 10

Record over past week: 5-3

After losing three straight to the rebuilding Texas Rangers last week, Tampa Bay has gone streaking ever since, as they are winners of five straight. This includes a clean three-game sweep against the New York Yankees on the latter’s home turf over the weekend. The scary aspect for the rest of the American League is the fact that their offense has not really hit well in the batting average department – only one batter (Joey Wendle) with a minimum of 30 at-bats is hitting over .300 (.356). Tampa Bay will likely not be a batting average-oriented offense, but if they improve in this area just a bit, they will become a much more three-dimensional team. 

5. New York Mets (7-5)

Previous ranking: N/A 

Record over past week: 5-2

Every baseball fan knows how tough it is to pitch at altitude. However, the Mets waltzed into Coors Field over the weekend and took it to an entirely new level against a helpless Colorado team. After all, their starters/openers allowed only four earned runs in 17.0 innings pitched in three games. While credit should be given to Joey Lucchesi, Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman stole the Denver show. No words can really describe this and this. Should this dynamic duo continue their artistry on the rubber, the Mets will climb up this ranking very quickly.

4. San Diego Padres (10-9) 

Previous ranking: 2

Record over past week: 2-6

The box score says San Diego lost two out of three against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, but heed what I say – this team put up a fight. Had a couple half-innings gone their way, San Diego might have come out of the smoke and dust with the series win. Nevertheless, the Friars did not, and now they must prepare for their four-game set against the Dodgers starting on Apr. 22. A key factor toward San Diego’s success during the series will be if Fernando Tatis Jr. gets it going with the lumber. Since his return from the Injured List (IL), Tatis Jr. has struggled to adjust to the two-hand finish with the bat, as the young star only has two hits to his name. One of them was a jack to straightaway center, so the potential is still there. 

3. Boston Red Sox (12-6)

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 6-3

Just how everyone drew it up, right? Right. Well, perhaps everyone expected the offense to perform – heading into Apr. 21 action, Boston ranked first in all of baseball in OPS (.817). The pitching, while not as explosive as the offense, has been able to bend but not break. Leading the way has been Nathan Eovaldi, who through four games started has yet to yield a single home run. Should the health stay on the path it is on, perhaps the 31-year-old is the secret ingredient toward Boston’s long-term success. 

2. Oakland Athletics (11-7)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 7-0 

Oakland started the season 1-7. If you thought they were already done for, just remember how long a traditional MLB season is. Since then, Oakland has won 10 straight contests. Supplementary players in Mitch Moreland, Jed Lowrie and Mark Canha have helped propel an offense behind a star in Matt Olson, who has tapped into more power thanks to more adjustments with the elongated batting stance. The offense will grind out at-bats, and so will the pitching, led by Sean Manaea, who twirled a seven-inning complete game shutout against the Minnesota Twins on Apr. 20 in game one of a double-header. This team might not have the most illustrious star power, but boy, can they still grind out games. This is why they go from being unranked to being in the runner-up spot in this ranking. It is that simple. 

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (14-4) 

Previous ranking: 1 

Record over past week: 6-2

The Dodgers did not make a statement over the weekend. Instead, they reinforced it. The statement being? They are the team to beat in not just the National League, but the entirety of MLB. The Friars made a big run for the series this weekend, and while they did snatch away a game to avoid the sweep, the depth of the Dodgers was just too much to handle. This team is not even healthy, and they are still overwhelming top-flight clubs. It is extremely impressive to put it lightly, and guess what – they might make the statement again this week when they play the Friars for four at Dodger Stadium. Round two will be a treat, so get ready. 

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