Welcome to the fourth edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the 2021 season.1. Chicago White Sox Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 19-13 7-3 +53 4 (+3) The White Sox earn the top spot without any clear favorite due to their MLB-best plus-53 run differential. Chicago's offensive rating of 18.1, according to FanGraphs, is the league's fourth-best despite long-term injuries to Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez. Meanwhile, the team's pitching staff ranks in the top four in fWAR thanks to brilliant performances from Carlos Rodon and Lance Lynn. The former owns a 0.58 ERA and has allowed just one home run over 31 innings.2. Boston Red Sox Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 22-13 6-4 +36 5 (+3) Xander Bogaerts might finally be getting the appreciation he deserves. The 28-year-old is off to a career-best start through 33 games, slashing .349/.396/.589 with seven home runs, 10 doubles, and a league-leading 45 hits. It's looking increasingly likely that the longest-tenured Red Sox player will opt out of the final three years and $60 million of his contract after the 2022 season and join a stacked free-agent class of shortstops slated to include Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story.3. San Diego Padres Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 19-16 6-4 +19 2 (-) San Diego owns MLB's best ERA at 2.89. That's why the Padres are second in the NL West, as the club just isn't hitting right now. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trent Grisham are the only qualified Padres position players with an OPS above .800. Ha-Seong Kim, Jurickson Profar, and the team's entire catching corps have disappointed thus far. If San Diego is going to fulfill its potential this season, Tatis and Grisham need a lot of help fast.4. Oakland Athletics Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 21-15 5-5 -10 3 (-1) The A's are still rolling. Bob Melvin's squad has lost just one series (to the Orioles, of all teams) since its season-opening six-game losing streak. The Athletics aren't doing anything spectacular. Instead, they're playing solid all-around baseball, and it's paying off. Their minus-10 run differential might indicate some regression, though.5. Los Angeles Dodgers Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 18-17 2-8 +32 1 (-4) Injuries have decimated the powerful Dodgers, and even their unparalleled depth is being tested. The defending champs lost three of four to Milwaukee before the Cubs swept them at Wrigley Field, and they nearly blew a 13-0 lead to the Angels on Saturday. Despite all of that, the Dodgers are only 2 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West, and they own a plus-32 run differential. The odds are good they'll weather this storm. Sarah Stier / Getty Images Sport / Getty6. New York Yankees Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 18-16 7-3 +13 14 (+8) Giancarlo Stanton isn't hearing many boos in the Bronx lately. The much-maligned slugger is helping to right the ship in New York with his sizzling stretch. He's hitting .413.464.762 with six home runs and four doubles over his last 15 games, pushing the Yankees to a 10-5 record over that span.7. San Francisco Giants Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 20-14 5-5 +27 7 (-) After all the offseason hype tied to the Padres and Dodgers, the Giants are the first NL West team to reach 20 wins, and they boast the NL's second-best winning percentage and run differential. A home-heavy schedule has helped (they're 12-4 at Oracle Park). So has outstanding starting pitching from some surprising contributors, and resurgent offensive campaigns from veterans Evan Longoria and Buster Posey.8. St. Louis Cardinals Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 21-14 8-2 +23 15 (+7) The Cardinals sit atop the NL Central after winning 12 of their last 16 games, and the ageless Yadier Molina leads their offense. He's produced five home runs and a .997 OPS over 21 contests, while Nolan Arenado paces the club with 23 RBIs. Ace Jack Flaherty is a perfect 6-0 in seven starts, and closer Alex Reyes has authored a 0.53 ERA with 10 saves in 16 appearances during his first season in the role.9. New York Mets Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 16-13 7-3 -3 9 (-) Rat or raccoon? The Mets' five-game winning streak may have received less attention than the tunnel drama between Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil, but New York is finally playing up to preseason expectations. Lindor broke out of his early-season funk while posting a 1.043 OPS during the streak, Pete Alonso got on base at a .400 clip, and Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker have been fantastic behind ace Jacob deGrom with their combined 2.25 ERA. Carmen Mandato / Getty Images Sport / Getty10. Toronto Blue Jays Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 17-16 6-4 +25 8 (-2) The Blue Jays somehow continue to stay above .500 despite an avalanche of injuries. George Springer is on the IL again and catcher Alejandro Kirk has joined him, along with a bunch of high-leverage relievers. Despite all the bullpen's health issues, the group's 2.92 ERA is fourth-best in the majors. Meanwhile, Toronto's offense is beginning to look like the juggernaut it was projected to become. The club has scored at least seven runs in four of its last 10 games.11. Tampa Bay Rays Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 19-17 6-4 +1 11 (-) Mike Zunino was one of the league's worst offensive players during the shortened 2020 campaign, but he's rebounded significantly in 2021 without lighting the world on fire. The catcher has already surpassed his 2020 home run total, and he's one of three Rays regulars with an OPS over .750. If Zunino can sustain his current production, Tampa Bay's chances in the hyper-competitive AL East will keep improving.12. Houston Astros Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 18-16 5-5 +33 13 (+1) The Astros managed to survive the Bronx and a hostile first series against the Yankees following the sign-stealing scandal. Houston can now focus on finding some consistency with Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez heating up. The 2019 AL Rookie of the Year has recorded multi-hit games in four straight contests and six of his last seven, resulting in a 1.033 OPS this campaign.13. Milwaukee Brewers Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 19-16 4-6 -6 6 (-7) A recent six-game losing streak put a damper on the Brewers' good start to the season. Milwaukee will struggle to compete for a division title without a healthy Christian Yelich, who's on the IL with a back issue again, and a productive Keston Hiura. The latter is in the minors after posting a .513 OPS over 26 games. The pitching trio of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta will need to continue carrying the team.14. Philadelphia Phillies Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 18-17 6-4 -8 17 (+3) The Phillies are staying within shouting distance of first in the NL East while dealing with a barrage of injuries, a lack of anything resembling production from the center-field spot, and one of the league's worst bullpens. The bullpen's latest collapse happened in Atlanta on Saturday when Philadelphia's relievers blew leads in the ninth and 12th innings. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zack Eflin can be incredible, but the Phillies might remain NL East bridesmaids if their bullpen stays broken.15. Atlanta Braves Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 17-17 5-5 -12 10 (-5) The state of Georgia breathed a huge sigh of relief when Ronald Acuna Jr. suffered just a bruised finger from being hit with a 97-mph pitch on Saturday. A long-term injury would have been a crushing blow. Instead, the Braves can move past the scary moment and build on a solid week while trying to get above .500 before June. Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty16. Cleveland Indians Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 18-14 7-3 +15 22 (+6) The Indians are second in the AL Central, but that standing doesn't fit a team that's already been no-hit twice this season. Cleveland has won seven of its last 10 games, even though the club's 86 wRC+ over that stretch ranks 26th in MLB. How are the Indians managing to be successful? Jose Ramirez slugged .600 with 10 runs scored during those 10 games, while the trio of Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale have combined to strike out 141 hitters in 134 2/3 innings this season.17. Chicago Cubs Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 17-17 7-3 -5 21 (+4) Kris Bryant's revenge tour hasn't been able to elevate the Cubs. The 2016 NL MVP has slashed .308/.397/.650 with nine homers over 32 games in what could be the impending free agent's last season on the North Side. Chicago's starting pitching is really holding the team back. The rotation's 5.32 ERA is the worst in baseball.18. Cincinnati Reds Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 15-16 6-4 -4 16 (-2) After losing seven straight, the Reds recovered to take a series on the road from the Dodgers before nabbing four wins against tough competition in the Cubs, White Sox, and Indians. While Nick Castellanos continues to hit with authority (.632 slugging percentage), Jesse Winker's play is standing out. The 27-year-old's .354 batting average leads the NL, while his 1.044 OPS ranks only behind Bryant.19. Seattle Mariners Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 18-17 5-5 -15 19 (-) Yes, the Mariners are in third place in the AL West and one game above .500. But they've also posted a minus-15 run differential, and the team has played .500 ball over the last two weeks. The Mariners are young and raw too, as catcher Luis Torrens showed with his mental error that allowed a run to score on Saturday. Still, there's talent and hope in Seattle for the first time in a while, even if these Mariners are starting to regress. Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty20. Kansas City Royals Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 16-17 1-9 -31 12 (-8) The Royals plummeted following a seven-game losing skid after starting the season 16-9. Kansas City scored just 18 runs during that period, including being shutout in back-to-back games against the Indians and White Sox. Despite the team's recent struggles, left-hander Danny Duffy is turning heads with a 1.26 ERA over six starts.21. Minnesota Twins Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 12-20 5-5 -2 18 (-3) Byron Buxton's injury couldn't have come at a worse time. Minnesota's hottest hitter is expected to miss several weeks after slashing .370/.408/.772 through 24 games. The Twins only managed 12 wins over 32 contests with Buxton producing like an MVP, so the next little while could be painful for them. At least they're still in a division with the Tigers.22. Miami Marlins Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 15-18 5-5 +20 25 (+3) Young hurlers Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Trevor Rogers are keeping the Marlins hovering around .500 despite a woeful offense that's missing Jazz Chisholm. Only four teams have hit fewer homers than Miami's 31. The good news? Every NL East club has been average to start the season, and the Marlins are the only one with a positive run differential.23. Los Angeles Angels Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 15-18 3-7 -27 20 (-3) The unexpected release of Albert Pujols overshadows a very tough week for the Angels, who have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games. Los Angeles also lost Alex Cobb to the IL with a blister, leaving a hole in its rotation. Going from Pujols to Jared Walsh at first base should help, and Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani will keep doing what they do. But it's starting to again feel like another wasted season is beginning for the Halos. Perhaps they should have bit the bullet on Pujols' contract earlier.24. Washington Nationals Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 13-17 5-5 -17 24 (-) During the same week when Pujols was unceremoniously dumped, Max Scherzer was on the mound proving that not all megadeals end miserably. The right-hander has been excellent early this season, posting a 2.33 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 61 strikeouts over 46 1/3 innings. Scherzer has been worth an MLB-best 35.5 WAR among pitchers since signing a seven-year, $210-million contract in 2015. Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty25. Texas Rangers Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 18-18 7-3 -4 29 (+4) Adolis Garcia has emerged as a bright spot for the rebuilding Rangers. The outfielder leads all rookies and his team with nine homers. Garcia is one of many good young pieces who will make the Rangers fun to watch, even if they aren't in contention.26. Baltimore Orioles Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 15-19 5-5 -16 26 (-) John Means is an ace. The right-hander is coming off a masterpiece no-hitter against the Mariners when he struck out 12 batters and was a wild pitch away from a perfect game. Means' 1.37 ERA is the third-best in the majors, and he's allowed two or fewer runs in six of his seven starts. At 28, Means is a bit older than the rest of the rebuilding Orioles' core. Baltimore could build around him, or use Means as an intriguing trade chip with three-plus remaining years of team control.27. Arizona Diamondbacks Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 15-19 3-7 -15 23 (-4) It's been a rough start to the month for the D-Backs. Arizona has recorded one win in May, which came over the lowly Rockies. Asdrubal Cabrera is the only qualified hitter in the D-Backs' lineup with an OPS over .700 this month. At least Madison Bumgarner is rediscovering his old form. The team's ace has allowed eight hits and three runs over his last four starts.28. Pittsburgh Pirates Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 14-19 2-8 -30 28 (-) The Pirates lost eight of 10 after playing surprisingly well in April. The team will also be without rookie stud Ke'Bryan Hayes for a while after he was transferred to the 60-day IL with a wrist injury. Pitchers JT Brubaker and Richard Rodriguez - who hasn't allowed a run in 12 appearances - are providing encouraging results.29. Colorado Rockies Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 12-22 3-7 -24 27 (-2) The Rockies' old buddy Arenado and the Cardinals completed a sweep of Colorado, ending a series between teams heading in opposite directions. Colorado has now lost eight of its last 11 games to drop to the NL West basement. However, it hasn't been all bad news for the Rockies, as Raimel Tapia is emerging as a breakout candidate. The 27-year-old outfielder is currently on a nine-game hit streak, boasting a .417 average over the span.30. Detroit Tigers Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change) 10-24 2-8 -68 30 (-) Winning will be pretty difficult for AJ Hinch's club if it can't score. The Tigers are only averaging 3.3 runs per game, and their minus-68 run differential is the MLB's worst by a significant margin. As the old adage goes, a team can't score if it can't get on base. Detroit's hitters have combined for a league-worst .277 OBP, with only three of the squad's regulars - Robbie Grossman, Jeimer Candelario, and Niko Goodrum - posting marks above .300.Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
Wade Miley admitted Friday's no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians was about more than just skill.The Cincinnati Reds left-hander said he pitched the game with a temporary tattoo of the Incredible Hulk on his forearm - a gift from his four-year-old son Jeb before Miley left for Cleveland. Hitters won't like him when he's angry. pic.twitter.com/CJsMaNXZaN MLB (@MLB) May 8, 2021 "I'm gonna try to get my wife to order as many Hulk tattoos as she can," Miley said after the outing, according to Dave Clark of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Maybe I'll just slap them on before every start - let (Jeb) do it."The 34-year-old threw all 114 pitches of his outing with the Hulk emblazoned on his forearm, and his teammates think the character should stay there permanently."Well, now he's got to get it for real, you know, obviously," Nick Castellanos said. "That's the easy answer is you got a fake one, you threw a no-no. Now you make it for real."But Miley, whose no-hitter was the 17th in franchise history and fourth of MLB's 2021 season, doesn't seem overly interested in making the Marvel superhero a permanent fixture on his body."I don't know. I'm so scared of needles right now, I don't even want to think about this tattoo," he said.Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
Wade Miley credited the temporary Incredible Hulk tattoo given to him by his son for his no-hitter Friday. Teammate Nick Castellanos thinks he needs to make it...
After a red-hot week in which he kept leaving the yard, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos was named Ben Verlander s 6-Tool Player of the Week.
Welcome to the first edition of theScore's 2021 Most Valuable Player rankings, where we pick the top players from each league.American League5. Byron Buxton, Twins Ron Schwane / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI AVG/OBP/SLG fWAR 21 8 15 .392/.435/.810 2.3 At long last, Buxton is healthy and showing what he's capable of. The 27-year-old ranks in the top four of every slash-line category and leads in slugging percentage (.810). He's also one off the AL lead in both doubles and home runs. Additionally, he's continuing to play his usual brilliant defense in center field, where he's accrued four defensive runs saved. Buxton was always a critical piece for the Twins, and now he's among the AL's best. It's about time he took his place there.4. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI AVG/OBP/SLG fWAR 27 9 26 .347/.431/.713 1.6 Martinez has put his trying 2020 campaign behind him. The slugger leads the AL in extra-base hits, doubles, homers, and RBIs while ranking second in runs scored and fourth in WAR. Martinez is also showing renewed patience at the plate, recording 14 walks and a 12.1% walk rate that's well above his 2019 clip. When Martinez hits like this, everything changes for the Red Sox.3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI AVG/OBP/SLG fWAR 27 7 20 .356/.496/.644 1.9 Guerrero is becoming the feared slugger that was promised while carrying the Blue Jays through a barrage of injuries in April. After the first month-plus of this season, Guerrero ranks second in OBP, third in WAR, fourth in OPS, and he bested his Hall of Fame father with a three-homer performance. Patience has been the real key to his success. Not only does Guerrero have four more walks than strikeouts, but he also owns the AL's third-highest walk rate while ranking 131st in strikeout percentage. This is all scary enough for AL pitchers - and then you realize he's only 22 and has plenty more room to grow.2. Gerrit Cole, Yankees Jason Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty IP K ERA WHIP fWAR 37 2/3 62 1.43 0.72 2.4 Where would the Yankees be without Cole? The $324-million man has been everything they could've hoped for. Cole's allowed only six earned runs and one homer through his first six starts. He owns the Junior Circuit's lowest WHIP while ranking second in ERA and third in strikeouts, and his three walks are tied for the fewest among qualified AL hurlers. Opponents have hit just .178 off him. It's been a dismal April for New York, and it likely would've been a whole lot worse without Cole taking the mound every five days.1. Mike Trout, Angels Ed Zurga / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI AVG/OBP/SLG fWAR 24 7 16 .410/.515/.759 2.3 Trout's detractors will point to his seven home runs, which rank seventh in the AL, or his .333 average against lefties. But then you see his absurd .410/.515/.759 slash line (for those scoring at home, that's a 1.274 OPS), 2.3 WAR, and 252 wRC+. Afterward, you recognize the three-time MVP is somehow on pace for the best season of his already unparalleled career. And, as usual, you note the Angels would be nothing without him. Until he says otherwise, it's still Mike Trout's league - we're just lucky enough to witness it.National League5. Bryce Harper, Phillies Rich Schultz / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI AVG/OBP/SLG fWAR 24 6 10 .317/.446/.598 1.3 He may not have as many home runs as Kris Bryant or Nick Castellanos, but the 2015 NL MVP has been the most difficult hitter to retire in the Senior Circuit with an incredible .446 OBP. Despite an impressive 16.8% walk rate, Harper isn't just being selective, though. The six-time All-Star is still finding time to swing for the fences, sitting in the 98th percentile in barrel rate and the 100th percentile in expected batting average, slugging percentage, and wOBA.4. Kris Bryant, Cubs Quinn Harris / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI AVG/OBP/SLG fWAR 26 9 22 .323/.405/.708 1.8 The most difficult part of figuring out whether Bryant can challenge for the NL MVP is whether or not he stays in the National League. When the trade deadline rolls around, the 2016 MVP will be the most coveted Cub on a team gearing toward a rebuild. And, with how he's playing right now, he'll likely be MLB's most sought-after player. Nobody has ever won an MVP award after being traded midseason. Could Bryant become the first?3. Corbin Burnes, Brewers Denis Poroy / Getty Images Sport / Getty IP K ERA WHIP fWAR 29 1/3 49 1.53 0.55 1.8 Until he was placed on the injured list, Burnes looked like the best pitcher in the majors. The right-hander is on a historic season-opening tear, striking out 49 batters without allowing a walk; he seems poised to break Kenley Jansen's record (51 Ks, 0 BBs) next time out. With no specific injury listed, Burnes' IL stint could be a short one. And, if the Brewers plan to keep their place atop the division standings, the 26-year-old's contributions will be crucial.2. Jacob deGrom, Mets Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty IP K ERA WHIP fWAR 35 59 0.51 0.57 2.1 A late bloomer, deGrom continues to astound as MLB's definitive ace. The 32-year-old is the best strikeout pitcher in the game, doesn't issue walks, suppresses homers, throws hard, works deep into games, features a deep repertoire, and always gives his team a chance to win - even if the Mets rarely take the opportunity. He'll be chasing the third Cy Young Award of his career, but, if he keeps up this incredible clip, deGrom might also become the first MVP-winning pitcher since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.1. Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI AVG/OBP/SLG fWAR 26 9 20 .333/.431/.708 2.1 Acuna has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career, flirting with a 40-40 season in 2019 and raking over 46 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. It would've been fine if that wound up being his ceiling, but the 23-year-old is achieving new heights. More than half of his hits this year have been for extra bases, including his league-leading nine homers, and that's including his NL-best slugging percentage and OPS. Even further, the two-time Silver Slugger is close to surpassing his WAR total from last year (2.4), and he's played roughly half the games. He's the only player in the Senior Circuit to reach the two-WAR threshold so far. Prorated over a 162-game season, he's staring down an unbelievable 12-WAR campaign.Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.