Power Rankings: New No. 1 on quite a rise

June 28th, 2021

It took a while, but the team with the best record in baseball -- and the first to reach the 50-win mark -- is now in the rightful top spot of our weekly Power Rankings.

Let’s take a look at where the Giants started, and where they are now. They came in at No. 22 in our first rankings of the season, all the way back on March 29. They stayed there for another week, and then slowly started to ascend -- a little too slowly, from the perspective of our friends in the Bay Area.

There were questions about the advanced age of some of their position players. There were suspicions that the rotation -- perceived by, ahem, just a few of us, as a compilation of retreads with decent but unspectacular histories, looking for a fresh start.

Now it’s almost July, and most teams will hit the official halfway point of the schedule in the next few days. And the Giants are still right there, perched at the very top of the most competitive division in baseball. They’re 50-27, on pace for a whopping 105 wins -- and they’re doing it in an odd-numbered year.

Biggest jump: The Nationals jumped five spots, from No. 20 to 15. The Mets are still the only NL East team with a winning record, but the 37-38 Nats, now in second place, are close to breaking even thanks to a string of 11 wins in their past 14 games. They’ll open a homestand Monday with a makeup game against the Mets.

Biggest drop: The A’s dropped four spots, from No. 4 to 8. Even with their 6-2 win over the Giants on Sunday, the A’s are only 4-6 over their past 10, and they’re two games behind the surging Astros in the AL West.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1. Giants (3 last week)
Some may say this was a long time coming. The Giants have been in control in a stacked NL West for quite some time, and their most recent stretch of wins might be the most impressive yet. They’ve won 10 of their past 12 games and have hit 23 homers and have scored 83 runs during that span.

2. Astros (2)
Stop us if you’ve heard this before (we probably said this last week), but the Astros are rolling, still. They’ve won 12 of 14 and have outscored opponents 98-31 during that stretch, and they lead the Majors in hits, runs, RBIs, average, on-base percentage, slugging and total bases. The pitching has been outstanding, too. Starters are 10-1 with a 2.10 ERA (20 ER/85 2/3 IP) in the past 14 games. Also notable: The Astros and Giants are two of only three teams in baseball with a positive run differential of 100 or better -- 142 and 100, respectively.

3. Dodgers (1)
The Dodgers rebounded well after they were swept in San Diego and no-hit in the opener against the Cubs, taking the next three games at Dodger Stadium over the weekend. Their homestand concludes with a quick series that will surely draw attention as they host the Giants for a two-game set beginning Monday.

4. Rays (6)
The Rays, unsurprisingly, recovered from a poor week that produced a 1-6 record with a nice showing against the Red Sox and Angels, winning two of three in both series. During a recent four-game win streak that was snapped with a 6-4 loss to the Angels on Sunday, the Rays produced a .987 OPS with runners in scoring position. Who’s hot? Mike Zunino, who has four homers and eight RBIs in his past eight games.

5. Padres (8)
The Padres responded to their first full homestand with capacity crowds with an enthusiastic bang, going 9-1 and climbing 14 games over .500 to 47-33. Keep an eye on, who else, Fernando Tatis Jr., who’s on pace for 51 homers. The MLB record for the most homers in a player’s age-22 season or younger is 47, set by Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews in 1953, his age-21 season.

The rest of the field of 30:

  1. Red Sox (7 last week)
  2. White Sox (5)
  3. A's (4)
  4. Brewers (12)
  5. Mets (9)
  6. Cubs (10)
  7. Blue Jays (13)
  8. Yankees (11)
  9. Indians (14)
  10. Nationals (20)
  11. Reds (15)
  12. Braves (16)
  13. Mariners (21)
  14. Phillies (17)
  15. Cardinals (18)
  16. Angels (19)
  17. Marlins (22)
  18. Royals (23)
  19. Twins (24)
  20. Tigers (25)
  21. Rangers (26)
  22. Rockies (27)
  23. Pirates (28)
  24. Orioles (29)
  25. D-backs (30)

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Jesse Sanchez, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn.