Rich 10 MLB Rankings (June 7-13, 2021)

The air is breezing, the heat is increasing and the humidity is certainly beating. One glimpse at the MLB standings would reiterate the obvious as summer starts to power full steam ahead: there is still a long way to go. 

Regardless of how many games are left on the regular season schedule, teams are continuing to cement their place in what is a crowded playoff picture. While some teams are soaring, others are stalling, but even those in purgatory would feel lucky as to not be in complete free-fall. As teams trek forward and attempt to jockey around others hopeful to reach the promised land, another power ranking installment is in order, I’d say. 

Well, let’s give it a look, shall we? Here is the 11th Rich 10 MLB Power Ranking rendition for the 2021 season. 

Just a bit outside: Milwaukee Brewers (33-26) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-1

Milwaukee is cut from a similar cloth as the New York Mets – strong pitching with suspect hitting that, at times, has shown out. Such was the case this past week, as Milwaukee collectively punched in a .811 on-base plus slugging (OPS), which ranked ninth in all of MLB. Once you supplement the hitting with the three-headed starting pitching monster in Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta, then it should come to no one’s surprise that Milwaukee has cracked this ranking installment again.  

10. Chicago Cubs (33-26) 

Previous ranking: 7

Record over past week: 4-3

I said Chicago’s next course of action after beating up on the weaker teams was to steal a series against a legitimate playoff club. Now, wait a minute. They swept the Padres at Wrigley Field, but they dropped in this ranking installment? Now, now, let me explain. Yes, they swept a winning team, but they followed it up by dropping three out of four to the San Francisco Giants. This might seem like a blunt reason, but keep in mind that the upper echelon of the MLB field tends to be on the stronger side, so while 10th might seem low, it holds higher stock than you might perceive. The Cubs will get their shot at leapfrogging up a few spots this week when they tackle the Padres once more (this time at Petco Park for three) before heading back home for a pivotal inter-division series against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

9. Oakland Athletics (35-26) 

Previous ranking: 9

Record over past week: 4-2

Get Mark Canha to Coors Field this summer. The 32-year-old’s batting average might not be up to snuff for the traditionalists (.259), but do not let this skew your assumptions. In 59 games played, Canha has tallied a .388 on-base percentage, which is tied for 15th-best among 144 qualified batters (Kris Bryant). Even after all these years, “Moneyball” remains ingrained in Oakland’s winning blueprint. So has solid defense, which Canha also provides. My case in point? Just watch.

8. New York Mets (29-23) 

Previous ranking: 8

Record over past week: 4-3

It might not be where the Mets want it, but it is all about the baby steps. Of course, I am referring to their hitting, an area that, with all due respect to New York fans out there, has left a bit (or a lot) to be desired. Over the past week of action, the team collectively slashed .270/.326/.448 with a .774 OPS, which ranked 11th in all of baseball. Again – not exactly elite, but not putrid like it has been during other significant stretches. The equation for the Mets to win baseball games is very simplistic as it is complex – when they reinforce their elite pitching with just enough hitting, good things tend to happen. Even greater things happen when they have Jacob deGrom toeing the rubber. 

7. Boston Red Sox (36-23) 

Previous ranking: 5

Record over past week: 4-3

Dropping three out of four to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park was not what Boston intended, and while they rebounded by taking advantage of the struggling New York Yankees, they dropped in this ranking spot. It is all about what you have done for me lately, and sweeping a struggling team does not hold the same stock as dropping a series to a potential contender. The counting numbers certainly show a formidable team, so Boston still holds a seat inside this ranking installment. Should they wish to jump back into the upper-half, they will need to capitalize on their upcoming eight-game homestand at Fenway Park, where they are 16-13. 

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (34-25) 

Previous ranking: 6

Record over past week: 3-3

If you assumed Mookie Betts was going to stay cold for the entire season, you were sorely mistaken. Over the last seven days of MLB action, the five-tool outfielder has slashed .348/.464/.478/.942 with a team-leading eight hits. His batting average (.258) might not be up to par but give it time. It is a marathon, not a sprint, and besides, it is Mookie Betts. And besides – batting average can be a tad overrated at times. And this is being kind. Don’t shoot the messenger, please. 

5. Houston Astros (33-26)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-2

Talk about a bipolar club. After they fell out of the ranking entirely in last week’s installment, the Astros made their return in an exhilarating way after defeating two American League East powers in Boston and Toronto. Things look to be going up for the Astros – they won two series sets against a pair of high-profile clubs, Jose Altuve is hitting for power once more. Zack Greinke is starting and closing games (you don’t see a complete game often in this day and age). If Yordan Alvarez can right the ship (he is slashing .175/.242/.228/.470 over his last 15 games), Houston might be as close to golden as they can possibly get. 

4. San Diego Padres (36-25) 

Previous ranking: 2

Record over past week: 2-5

San Diego was waiting for Blake Snell to have that game. It might have taken 12 games to do it, but the 28-year-old southpaw finally had it over the weekend when he tallied seven shutout innings against the Mets on June 4. Now it is about maintaining consistency and keeping the control at a more, well, controllable level (even after the start, Snell still possesses a 5.33 walks per nine innings pitched). It can be done, and boy, oh boy when it does, the Padres will only be that much more dangerous. It is happening, so brace for it. 

3. Chicago White Sox (36-23) 

Previous ranking: 4

Record over past week: 4-3

Chicago’s schedule was not daunting this past week. Let’s be honest – there are bigger gauntlets to wade through than Cleveland and Detroit, of all teams. Friday’s matchup against the Tigers, however, reiterated a point that I discussed about San Diego a few weeks back: Chicago is clutch. Whether it be Yasmani Grandal, Yoan Moncada or Yermin Mercedes, Chicago has a different hero every night. And this is just on the hitting side of the coin. The White Sox will look to maintain their momentum in crunch-time this week when they tackle the Blue Jays and Tigers once more for three games each. Oh, and one more thing: wear these uniforms in every single game. 

2. Tampa Bay Rays (38-23)

Previous ranking: 1

Record over past week: 4-3

There are not a ton of nagging questions regarding Tampa Bay’s roster – you know they will pitch, and while their hitting might go through a cold spell, they will hit for many a stretch, too. The biggest question surrounding the Rays, though, will be how they manage their roster moving forward. After all, Wander Franco and Vidal Brujan are hitting at very high clips for the Triple-A Durham Bulls. So, the question is simple – when does Tampa Bay pull the trigger on the pair? It truly is fascinating that perhaps Tampa Bay’s million-dollar question resides on the MiLB team as opposed to the MLB one. It just goes to show that the Rays have a good thing going in all facets of the organization. 

1. San Francisco Giants (37-22) 

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 4-2

Although they were unable to secure the four-game sweep against the Cubs over the weekend, the Giants have been dynamite this season. And to think – no one expected this. Sure, some might have pegged San Francisco to play spoiler, but did anyone expect them to hold the best record in terms of Winning Percentage (.627) in all of baseball through early June? If you did, I’ll have what you’re having. Whatever the case might be, the Giants are finding a way, and they will need to continue to do so should they maintain this ranking position. A major roadblock moving forward, however, will show the Giants’ true colors – Evan Longoria will miss the next four to six weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury after he collided with Brandon Crawford Saturday evening. 

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