Rich 10 MLB Rankings (May 11-17, 2021)

If you took a brief hiatus from all baseball action over the past week, I suggest you go back and watch a MLB highlight or three. Whether it be the two no-hitters courtesy of John Means and Wade Miley or a collection of other highlight plays and/or clutch hits, there was plenty of entertainment to go around (let us not all forget about the Albert Pujols saga with the Angels coming to an abrupt and not-too-pretty end). 

All entertainment aside, it is that time of the week yet again. Here is the seventh installment of Rich 10 MLB Rankings, where I rank the top 10 teams in the sport at the time of this article’s release. Buckle up and get comfortable. Let’s dig in. 

Just a bit outside: Houston Astros (18-17) 

Previous ranking: 9

Record over past week: 3-4

Mid-May is practically here, and the Astros continue to take the trash can allegations to the dump. Collectively, the team has amassed a .749 On-base plus slugging, which is tied for third in all of MLB. Will the insults ever cease? Probably not, but Houston is certainly hitting with authority, especially at the top of the lineup. A little more consistency from their bottom-three in the batting order would probably help ease matters, but I digress. 

10. Tampa Bay Rays (19-17) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-2

A super-sweep against the Los Angeles Angels helped ease the sour taste that was losing two out of three to the Oakland Athletics last week. Not one Tampa Bay batter has truly rocketed off to a scorching start but guess what – Tampa Bay just finds a way to win baseball games regardless. Sounds cliché, I know, but this is how Tampa Bay operates. The Rays will have their work cut out for them this week, as they will face both New York teams at Tropicana Field (three games against the New York Yankees followed by another trio of contests against the New York Mets). 

9. New York Yankees (18-16) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-2

The Bronx Bombers are just now starting to deliver the lethal payloads to hapless opponents, as they picked up not one, but two walk-off wins against the Washington Nationals over the weekend. Gleyber Torres delivered the first walk-off knock on Saturday, while Giancarlo Stanton delivered the other on Sunday. The stars could be starting to align for the Yankees (no pun intended), and we all know what that means – the American League might be in a for world of hurt. 

8. Los Angeles Dodgers (18-17) 

Previous ranking: 5

Record over past week: 1-5

Los Angeles continues their nosedive that has been the month of May. With their series loss against the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend, the Dodgers have now lost five consecutive series for the first time since the 2017 season, per FOX Sports. The Dodgers have been banged up, but even still, the talent on the roster now is too good to be this bad for that much longer. Los Angeles will attempt to rebound in a big way when they begin a nine-game homestand this week. Their first opponent (or potential victim)? A young Seattle team looking to let off steam after getting no-hit by Baltimore last week. 

7. New York Mets (16-13) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-1

The Mets are streaking, and aside from any sort of “rat” controversy, they are just now starting to play up to their potential in what is a season with high expectations. However, the sunshine and rainbows does come with one rather dark cloud – Jacob deGrom, who experienced right side discomfort during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, exited the game as he warmed up during the sixth inning. As a result, the ace was put on the 10-Day Injured List (IL). Whether or not the Mets made the right decision on starting deGrom will certainly be questioned, as the 32-year-old experienced similar issues earlier in the month. 

6. San Diego Padres (19-16) 

Previous ranking: 1

Record over past week: 2-3

San Diego’s starting rotation just got more exciting. Dinelson Lamet, who has dealt with right forearm issues this season and has not played since Apr. 21, was eased back into action on May 4 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although the strikeout enthusiast did not strike out anyone in 2.0 innings of work, the Friars will certainly take any help they can get as they continue to navigate through a tricky National League West. San Diego’s philosophy on how to use Lamet moving forward will be simple – slowly but surely ease him back into a pitching role. Do. Not. Rush. Him.

5. San Francisco Giants (21-14)

Previous ranking: 8 

Record over past week: 4-3

Losing two out of three at Coors Field against Colorado was immediately redeemed when the Giants took two games out of three in a marquee inter-division matchup against San Diego over the weekend. Their lone loss against the Friars on Mother’s Day was not all doom and gloom, as Johnny Cueto made his return to the mound after missing close to a month with a grade 1 lat strain. The 35-year-old’s outing was not crisp – he allowed eight hits and five earned runs in 3.0 innings of work – but San Francisco will be satisfied that they finally have another veteran starter back in their arsenal.

4. Oakland Athletics (21-15)

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 3-3

Although Oakland was unable finish off Tampa Bay on Sunday in what would have been a three-game sweep, they were able to sleep soundly knowing this – Sean Manaea looks like an ace again. The Indiana State alum not only carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Tampa Bay on May 7 but had a perfect game through the first six innings, too. Manaea was not able to net a win to his resume, but he was able to show the baseball world that his no-no all those years ago against Boston was no fluke. If he is truly back, teams should be shaking in their boots (or cleats). 

3. Chicago White Sox (19-13)

Previous ranking: 7

Record over past week: 4-1

Another big day at the plate by Yermin Mercedes on May 9 has helped keep the South Siders afloat on the offensive side of the ball. Even without the likes of Eloy Jimenez (left pectoral tendon) or Luis Robert (right hip strain), Mercedes has not missed a beat in finding pitches to hit, as he has slashed .373/.407/.598/1.005 with 12 extra-base hits (six doubles, one triple and five home runs) in 28 games played this season. I might have mentioned him before in this ranking series, but I assure you this will likely not be the last time I bring him up. The 28-year-old rookie has stepped up when Chicago has needed him to. 

2. Boston Red Sox (22-14) 

Previous ranking: 6

Record over past week: 5-2

The moment Alex Verdugo became the headliner of the infamous Mookie Betts trade, the pressure was on the youngster to succeed right away. While he certainly showed the potential before he even donned a Boston uniform, the expectations might have been too astronomical, even for him. Perhaps this notion should be put to rest, as the 24-year-old is currently slashing .297/.352/.461/.813. The chief area that stands outside aside from this are the strikeouts, or the lack thereof – Verdugo’s 12.0 strikeout rate (K%) is currently a career-high and is tied for eighth-best out of 112 batters with a minimum of 120 plate appearances heading into May 11 action. While almost no player can replicate what Betts does, Verdugo can show Boston that he can still be a contact-king like the former Boston star.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (21-14) 

Previous ranking: 2

Record over past week: 4-2

A series split against the Mets, followed by a three-game sweep against Colorado, was just enough to vault St. Louis into the top position of this power ranking installment. Now there is a need to post a full disclaimer – St. Louis is not clicking at 100% capacity, and they are not the healthiest bunch in the world. But St. Louis is still finding a way. Some teams just know how to win, and St. Louis qualifies as one of them. Your star offseason acquisition hitting a tater against his former club could probably do enough to settle this case, also. 

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