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2021 MLB Power Rankings: August Edition

There’s only one more month of baseball left and the races are getting tight. Before we focus on the rest of September, though, let’s have a look at who reigned supreme and if anyone fell below the Baltimore line in August.

(Mark Brown/Getty Images)

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (85-49)

Previous Rank: 5

The Dodgers finished August with a 21-6 record. While their offence did slump -- relative to their standards --, scoring less than five runs per game in the month, the pitching staff turnt it up to record a combined major-league-best 2.25 ERA. And that staff could be getting even more reinforcements soon. Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin could be nearing a return to action soon as both took part in simulated games earlier this week. Adding both of those guys to a rotation that already features Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias is just absurd. -T

2. San Francisco Giants (84-49)

Previous Rank: 1

The Giants continue to pull their weight and stay at the top. Another successful month saw them keep up with the Dodgers’ surge, and it was led by another dominant showing from all aspects of the team. Buster Posey had yet another superb month, ending it with a .904 OPS as he continues to turn back the clock. Also, Brandon Belt came back from injury and clubbed nine home runs to help San Francisco prepare for the final stretch of the NL West title race. -L

3. Tampa Bay Rays (84-49)

Previous Rank: 3

Despite the Yankees surging, the Rays still hold a firm grip on the race for the AL East crown, posting a 20-6 record in August. While the acquisition of Rich Hill and Nelson Cruz has been a huge boost for this team, Wander Franco breaking out with a .313 average to go along with 11 extra base hits in August has elevated this offence to another level. This team looks like the best team in the AL even after it shed some talent from prior offseason losses and injuries, and it’s not really close. -T

4. Houston Astros (78-55)

Previous Rank: 2

It’s been another great month for the Astros, which saw them slowly open the gap between themselves and the rest of the AL West as the season starts to near the finish line. The bats are still hot, and the pitching is still good. The emergence of several key players such as Yuli Gurriel, Luis Garcia and others has been instrumental to their success, and their consistency has been thriving from April until now. -L

5. Milwaukee Brewers (82-52)

Previous Rank: 4

The Brewers are sitting pretty at the top of the NL Central with nearly a double digit lead which gives them plenty of time to rest up their key players who are banged up from injuries for the October Dance. Maintaining the health of their injured stars -- including Freddy Peralta, Willy Adames, and Eduardo Escobar -- is key for the Brewers this September. -T

6. New York Yankees (77-56)

Previous Rank: 11

It looked like they were down and out, and everyone outside of the Bronx was ready to throw a parade! Until they went on a 13 game winning streak and embarrassed all doubters. The Yankees had a red-hot stretch in August, propelling them to the first wild card spot in the American League. New York went from being an overrated team to a serious playoff threat in the span of a few weeks, and they look to stand tall against the giants of the AL East during the last month. -L

7. Chicago White Sox (78-56)

Previous Rank: 6

One problem that has haunted the White Sox this season has been injuries. We have barely seen this batting lineup at full strength this season, and it’s scary to think about that when you realize how good they’ve been this season. Tony LaRussa somehow made the offence still click with many call-ups at the beginning of the month, and now his prized offensive bats -- Yasmani Grandal, Eloy Jiminez, and Luis Robert -- have made their return. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the Windy City though; Tim Anderson just hit the IL with an injured hamstring. Some cursed luck. -T

8. Boston Red Sox (76-59)

Previous Rank: 7

It’s been a very good year for the Red Sox after everyone thought they would be irrelevant. They’ve challenged the doubts they’ve faced all year and have maintained a playoff spot all the way into September. Still, they’ve been leapfrogged by the Yankees and ended the month showing some vulnerability, which gives them a small drop in the rankings. Chris Sale returning can be a big difference as the season winds down, though. His 2.35 ERA to end the month is a sign that he may not have skipped a beat, and that can be trouble -L

9. Oakland Athletics (73-60)

Previous Rank: 9

The gap between Oakland and Houston has widened after a bad August from the A’s. The club finished with a 14-13 in the month; not what you're looking for in the cut throat wild card and AL West crown race. The bullpen is in shambles, with everyone seemingly forgetting how to throw a baseball. One of their greatest strengths is now their greatest weakness. The baseball gods show no mercy. -T

10. Atlanta Braves (70-62)

Previous Rank: 18

The Braves seemingly died when Ronald Acuna Jr tore his ACL back in July, but we were wrong. Atlanta bought at the deadline and showed the world why in August. The Braves went 18-8 and took the division lead for the first time this season. Austin Riley continued to mash with a WRC+ of over 140 for the month, and Freddie Freeman is fully back to his usual self, ending the month with an .891 OPS. Time to see if Atlanta can hold on to the lead they took. -L

11. Toronto Blue Jays (70-62)

Previous Rank: 10

The Jays have been the definition of mid, not posting a losing record in any month but also barely being above .500 every month. Reliever Brad Hand got DFA’d after posting a 7.27 ERA in 11 outings, and top pitching prospect Nate Pearson was called up in response. This Blue Jays squad feels like the Chicago White Sox of the past few years; they’re on the verge of being a force to be reckoned with considering the group’s young core, but just aren’t there yet. -T

12. Cincinnati Reds (72-63)

Previous Rank: 13

It’s been an interesting year for the Reds up to this point, and in a good way. They had a very solid month and even caught up to the Padres for the second wild card spot (even surpassing them at one point). Charged by an improved Luis Castillo and an emergence of prime Joey Votto, Cincinnati looks poised to shock the world and rob the offseason champions of their playoff spot, and they have the manpower to complete the job. -L

13. San Diego Padres (71-63)

Previous Rank: 8

The Padres fell apart in August, falling out of the race for the NL West crown and potentially a Wild Card spot too. A lot of this has to do with key injuries to their starting rotation. Yu Darvish, Chris Paddock, and Dinelson Lamet spent the majority of the month on IL. Their playoff dreams aren’t all but lost though; Blake Snell managed to keep the Padres afloat with stellar pitching in August, and the trio of Yu Darvish, Chris Paddock and Dinelson Lamet are nearing returns very soon. -T

14. Seattle Mariners (72-62)

Previous Rank: 14

They just won’t go away. To fans of teams fighting for an AL wild card spot, the Mariners are like a bug flying around the room that you can’t kill, which is exactly what they want. Despite sporting a negative run differential all year long, they find ways to close out tight games. Seattle ended the month with a 27-16 record in one-run games, and if they can continue to be a clutch team, perhaps they can somehow squeak into the postseason and end their drought. -L

15. Philadelphia Phillies (68-64)

Previous Rank: 16

Bryce Harper is playing like one of the best players in the league. Over the Phillies five-game winning streak, Harper raised his batting average from .290 to .306 and took the lead league in OPS (1.064), just over Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. Can someone say MVP? -T

16. St. Louis Cardinals (68-64)

Previous Rank: 20

The Cardinals have been pretty average all year, but a 15-11 month of August saw them creep a little closer to the second wild card spot. Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have been as advertised, but Adam Wainwright is the unsung hero of the team. The 40-year old dropped his ERA below three, and logged masterful outings all month long. If St. Louis can use this push to carry them over, he’ll be getting many thanks from fans across the city. -L

17. Cleveland Indians (66-64)

Previous Rank: 19

The Indians finally found another batter not named José Ramirez who can create runs, and his name is Amed Rosario. Rosario enjoyed a huge August, slashing .372/.397/.584 to go along with 20 RBIs in 26 games. Rosario ranks right behind Ramirez in runs created on the year, and could potentially be another cornerstone shortstop the Indians could build around. -T

18. Los Angeles Angels (66-68)

Previous Rank: 17

Shohei Ohtani continues to amaze, and that’s about all that can be said about the Angels after August. His power numbers weren’t eye-popping as he only hit five home runs over the month, but his on-base numbers maintained quality form, as he ended the month with a .365 on-base percentage. Otherwise, it was another bland month for the Halos who continue to tread water. -L

19. New York Mets (65-67)

Previous Rank: 12

The Mets might be the most dysfunctional team in baseball. The club had a month to forget, finishing 10-19 in August and instantly losing a division lead that seemed so secure just a month ago. And things somehow got even worse after the bizarre "thumbs down" salute from Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor and others. You can guess how Mets fans reacted for the team's next game on Tuesday -- which turned out to be a dramatic 6-5 victory after five runs in the bottom of the ninth, with Baez scoring on a great hustle play. Who knows, maybe this sparks a September comeback for the ages? -T

20. Detroit Tigers (63-71)

Previous Rank: 15

The Tigers had another mediocre month but it continues to be a good sign as they’re no longer terrible. It was a bland month overall for Detroit with no true stand-out players, but Miguel Cabrera hit his 500th career home run, which was a moment for all baseball fans to cherish. -L

21. Colorado Rockies (61-72)

Previous Rank: 24

The Rockies are somehow not a really bad ball club. They’re just a slightly under-average team; something not many people could’ve predicted with all the drama the Rockies endured through last offseason and this trade deadline. But the key to the Rockies success has been their pitching. Jon Gray, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland continue to be a trio to be reckoned with. It’s just a shame that Gray and Freeland are hitting the IL now. -T

22. Kansas City Royals (59-73)

Previous Rank: 26

A 14-14 month is one that won’t be remembered, but the performance of Salvador Perez is one that certainly will. The Royals’ backstop propelled his way up the home run ladder in August, smashing 12 bombs and taking second place in the MLB behind Ohtani. Watching him has been a treat this season, but everything else has been quite forgettable in Kansas City. -L

23. Miami Marlins (55-78)

Previous Rank: 22

Edward Cabrera -- MLB The Show Legend -- finally made his first career start. He allowed three runs on 6 ⅓ innings and then three runs in four innings in his next start. He showcased his powerful arm which had many scouts tout him as a top pitching prospect in the minors. He’s just another promising arm to add to a rotation filled with young and promising pitchers. -T

24. Chicago Cubs (59-75)

Previous Rank: 23

It was an August of freefalling for the Cubs, but after selling off the entire main core at the deadline, it’s not very surprising. Not many quality, major league-ready players remain, but it allowed Frank Schwindel to make his mark. Ever since getting everyday playing time in August, he ended the month with a .933 OPS and a WRC+ hovering near 200. Considering most people didn’t know who he was a month ago, it’s a pretty remarkable story. -L

25. Minnesota Twins (58-75)

Previous Rank: 25

It’s pretty safe to say that this season hasn’t really gone according to plan for the Twins. The starting pitching rotation that looked promising at the beginning of the season is in shambles -- Kenta Maeda (IL), Jose Berrios (traded), J.A. Happ (traded), Matt Shoemaker (released), Michael Pineda (IL) -- which resulted in the Twins ranking nearly dead last in every pitching category. Better luck next year? -T

26. Washington Nationals (55-76)

Previous Rank: 21

Another team fresh off a July firesale, and this time it’s the Nationals. The result was as expected, which is horrible. A 7-20 August record is a sign of what’s to come for Washington until the season is over, but with the state of the team’s roster it’s simply what’s expected. Juan Soto took an extra step in August, though, as his on-base percentage rose to .442 while continuing to hit for power. At least they still have him, for now. -L

27. Pittsburgh Pirates (48-85)

Previous Rank: 27

The Pirates are terrible. The pitching produced the second highest ERA in the NL during August, and the bats fell asleep. At least there’s some young talent for this squad to build around for years to come. -T

28. Texas Rangers (47-86)

Previous Rank: 29

Atrocious only begins to describe the Rangers. Not much else needs to be said considering this was fully expected going into the season. The team has no inspiring bats aside from Adolis Garcia and the pitching is very weak. Only one more month of free pitching reps for the rest of the American League so make it count! -L

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (45-90)

Previous Rank: 30

The Diamondbacks have a 1/25000 chance of winning the World Series. Who knows, if you put down $100 on them winning the World Series, you could maybe be walking away $2.5 million richer. This is why I don’t give betting advice. -T

30. Baltimore Orioles (41-91)

Previous Rank: 28

The Orioles ended the month 42.5 games back of the division. Let’s go Baltimore! -L


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