2021 MLB Power Rankings: July Edition

By: Thomas Gotzamanis and Lucas Reyes


Chaos ensued in the MLB on trade deadline day. Many stars were dealt to different squads, and the MLB won’t ever really look the same. Come see where your favourite team ranks on the July edition of The Intermission’s MLB power rankings!


(Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

1. San Francisco Giants (65-39)


Previous Rank: 1


The Giants continue to top these rankings going into August, and for good reason. They have the best record in all of baseball and even acquired slugger Kris Bryant from the Cubs to bolster their offence even more. However, a cause of concern surrounds Kevin Gausman. The all-star’s recorded an 8.49 ERA in 11.2 innings over his past three starts. While this might be just a rough stretch, Gausman will have to right the ship if the Giants want their dream of owning the NL West crown to come true. -T


2. Houston Astros (64-41)


Previous Rank: 2


A lot of people expected the Astros to be significantly worse this season given the absences of George Springer and Justin Verlander. It turns out that everyone stepped up just enough to leave the team virtually unchanged. Midway through the summer, Houston has the best record in the American League and a run differential of +151. It doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down, and it’s all but likely they’ll be punching their ticket to the ALDS come October. - L


3. Tampa Bay Rays (63-42)


Previous Rank: 9


After stumbling to a 12-14 record in June, the Rays went 16-8 with a plus-36 run differential in July to reassert themselves as one of the American League favourites. Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz was the prized pickup this trade deadline. Cruz can help elevate this offence to another level and could be the missing piece to a potential World Series run. -T


4. Milwaukee Brewers (62-43)


Previous Rank: 7


Carried by elite pitching, the Brewers find their way to the top five after July. When your third starter (Freddy Peralta) has a 2.17 ERA, you’re going to be looking at a division crown. Scoring is nearly an impossible task against Milwaukee, and adding Eduardo Escobar to the mix is only going to further aid their run support going forward. Look for the Brewers to potentially swoop and grab the one seed in the National League this August. - L


5. Los Angeles Dodgers (63-43)


Previous Rank: 3


The Dodgers made headlines this trade deadline, acquiring Trae Turner and Max Scherzer in a blockbuster deal that saw the Dodgers No. 1 and No. 2 prospects head out of town. Los Angeles also made an under-the-radar acquisition in Danny Duffy this deadline. This team looks more stacked than ever and if star Cody Bellinger can regain his MVP form, there’s nothing stopping this freight train. -T


6. Chicago White Sox (61-44)


Previous Rank: 6


Eloy Jimenez is back, and Craig Kimbrel has joined to form a two-headed bullpen monster with Liam Hendriks. There isn’t a better way to cap off July for the White Sox, and this all comes with a healthy lead over the AL Central that the team looks poised to build upon. They continued to dominate at home, finishing the month with a 36-18 record at Guaranteed Rate Field, and put themselves in a good position to potentially take the number one spot in the American League come October. - L


7. Boston Red Sox (63-43)


Previous Rank: 4


With a chance to claim AL East supremacy with a series against the Rays to end the month, the Red Sox instead bent the knee and got swept. The Red Sox also appear to be putting all their eggs in the Chris Sale basket by not even acquiring a starting pitcher this deadline; a risky move for a team that’s already dealing with starting pitching woes. -T


8. San Diego Padres (60-47)


Previous Rank: 5


While the Padres remain an elite team, it’s hard to say that it wasn’t a tough ending to the month for them. While they did acquire some nice pieces, losing out on Max Scherzer in the fashion they did definitely hurts, and it hurts even more when you realize Fernando Tatis Jr is losing an indefinite period of time due to injury. The team is still within arms reach for the division lead, but the moves the Giants and Dodgers made to get better might be too much to keep up with. Regardless, San Diego remains a threat and is still a top team as we phase toward the final stretch of the season. - L


9. Oakland Athletics (59-47)


Previous Rank: 8


The big move for the deadline was flipping pitcher Jesus Luzardo to the Marlins for rental center fielder Starling Marte. The A’s also made some quality depth signings in Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, and Andrew Chaffin. While it would have been nice for Oakland to acquire a late-inning reliever, this team still looks ready to push the Astros for the AL West crown. -T


10. Toronto Blue Jays (53-48)


Previous Rank: 10


The Blue Jays are finally back home and have a bit of a revamped look to their pitching staff. The month of July was okay to the team, but the ending provided a jolt that they needed to go on a serious final run. The offense is still eating pitchers alive on a regular basis, and it’s been led by the customary efforts of Vladimir Guerrero Jr and the re-introduction of George Springer into the lineup, who was on fire to end the month. If Jose Berrios adds the pitching punch Toronto was looking for, they can potentially shock the world and maybe even go for the division crown if things align their way. - L


11. New York Yankees (55-48)


Previous Rank: 15


Despite a very up-and-down season, the Yankees were very heavy buyers at the deadline. They added lefty sluggers Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo; starter Andrew Heaney, who will provide welcome depth at the back of the rotation; and Clay Holmes and Joely Rodriguez, who will lengthen the bullpen. This team on paper looks like one of the best teams in the league; the question is can they finally put it all together consistently. -T


12. New York Mets (55-48)


Previous Rank: 11


For a team with arguably the greatest pitcher of this generation being so dominant, the Mets leave a lot to be desired. Sure, ending the month 55-48 isn’t the worst, but given the downfall of the Braves this season, they could’ve done a better job building their first-place cushion so far. The bats have been dormant, and Francisco Lindor carrying a .702 OPS is less than ideal. Hopefully, for New York, the Javier Baez acquisition can pay dividends going forward, because the lineup will need all the help they can get. - L


13. Cincinnati Reds (55-50)


Previous Rank: 16


While the Reds didn’t make any moves on trade deadline day, they did add pitchers Mychal Givens, Luis Cessa, and Justin Wilson earlier in the week to provide some much-needed bullpen support. The offence is still scoring at a ridiculously high rate (4.9 runs per game) and the Reds only sit four games back of a wild card spot. A good run with some improved pitching could elevate this team to punching a ticket into the October dance.


14. Seattle Mariners (56-49)


Previous Rank: 17


It’s truly a mystery how a team can be so fortunate, and here they are. The Mariners went 14-10 in July, and still linger as a postseason contender. Seattle also saw their run differential plummet even further down to -55, which is truly amazing how a team can look so bad yet so good. The Mariners didn’t do much at the deadline, however, so it seems unfeasible that they’ll remain this high in the standings. Regardless, it’s impressive to see them still hanging around. - L


15. Detroit Tigers (50-57)


Previous Rank: 22


"We have no pressure at all to make any trades," Tigers general manager Al Avila told reporters on July 20th. "We're not rebuilding anymore. We're building." That's exactly how things played out, and the only move the team made was sending reliever Daniel Norris to the Milwaukee Brewers. With a 42-33 record since May 7, this team is making a run at a winning record, and the young roster is just scratching the surface of its potential. -T


16. Philadelphia Phillies (51-53)


Previous Rank: 21


The Phillies, baseball’s perennial embodiment of mediocrity, are still mediocre. Despite Zack Wheeler ending the month with a masterful 2.45 ERA and 165 strikeouts, it hasn’t been enough to propel Philadelphia into a better position despite playing in a weaker division. While they did have a positive record in July, they still haven’t looked convincing enough nor did they make groundbreaking moves at the deadline (no, Kyle Gibson alone probably won’t transform this team). The Phillies are fortunate to be in the NL East, though, as that’s the reason they still have a chance this upcoming final stretch. - L


17. Los Angeles Angels (52-52)


Previous Rank: 18


Despite hovering around the .500 mark without Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon in the lineup, the Angels decided to sell at the deadline. They flipped starter Andrew Heaney and veteran reliever Tony Watson, bringing back controllable lefty reliever Sam Selman and a pair of quality pitching prospects in Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero. Their postseason drought will likely continue. -T


18. Atlanta Braves (52-53)


Previous Rank: 19


It was a tragic month for the Braves, mainly because they saw their superstar Ronald Acuna Jr go down with a season-ending ACL tear. While things look pretty horrible in Atlanta in that aspect, it’s still important to note that they still significantly outscored opponents in July and even bought at the deadline. They’ve shown flashes of their old selves up to this point, but haven’t consistently put it together and have hung around right under .500 all season long. Luckily, Freddie Freeman has been great following a cold start to the year, as the reigning MVP had an .898 OPS to end July. If this keeps up and their acquisitions come through, look out for them to potentially upset the Mets.


19. Cleveland Indians (51-50)


Previous Rank: 12


With a 9-15 record and minus-23 run differential in July, Cleveland opted to trade a few smaller pieces at the deadline rather than try to make a run at the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. It flipped the second baseman Cesar Hernandez, outfielders Eddie Rosario and Jordan Luplow, and reliever Phil Maton and added a new center fielder in Myles Straw. -T


20. St. Louis Cardinals (52-52)


Previous Rank: 20


The Cardinals are slowly dying after a decent start to the season, and it looks like all hope is erased by now. They didn’t get better during July and were ghosts during the trade deadline. If St. Louis was trying to turn it around, perhaps they should’ve done more than acquire a pitcher with a 6.77 ERA who’s already 38 years old (yes, they acquired J.A. Happ). They also acquired Jon Lester, another underperforming player on the tail end of his career. Enjoy watching them finish 81-81 because that’s the kind of team they are this year. - L


21. Washington Nationals (48-56)


Previous Rank: 13


The Nationals pulled the plug on the 2021 season in a big way, trading Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Brad Hand, Daniel Hudson, Jon Lester, Yan Gomes, and Josh Harrison before the deadline. That leaves Juan Soto and Victor Robles as the long-term building blocks, while prospects Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, who were acquired in the Scherzer/Turner deal, also have cornerstone potential. -T


22. Miami Marlins (44-60)


Previous Rank: 23


So the Marlins are still bad and got worse in July. However, it doesn’t matter given the team’s current roster. This team isn’t ready to contend and they did the right thing by selling at the deadline. This approach landed them a stellar return for Starling Marte, as Jesus Luzardo joins the band of young starters that are likely going to terrorize baseball in a year or two. Can’t complain about the turnout of the month if you’re a Marlins fan. - L


23. Chicago Cubs (51-55)


Previous Rank: 14


The Cubs roster is now unrecognizable. Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel, Ryan Tepera, Trevor Williams, Jake Marisnick, Andrew Chafin, and Joc Pederson were all casualties of a massive July sell-off. This team is going full rebuild mode, and it may have honestly been the perfect time to pull the trigger. -T


24. Colorado Rockies (46-59)


Previous Rank: 24


The Rockies weren’t terrible in July. They played .500 baseball and essentially maintained their current standing. But the team was already bad in the first place so they still don’t crack the top 20. Not only are they bad on the field, but in the front office too. Trading Trevor Story was supposed to be the main priority entering the trade deadline and they didn’t even do that. Enjoy watching him run away into the sunset this coming winter. - L


25. Minnesota Twins (44-61)


Previous Rank: 25


The Twins made one of the biggest moves of the deadline when they sent two-time All-Star Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. While it was reported a few weeks ago that the Twins did not want to trade any controllable assets, the offer from the Jays may have just been too good to pass up. -T


26. Kansas City Royals (45-58)


Previous Rank: 27


It wasn’t a horrible month for the Royals in July, but the bar was already low, to begin with. Kansas City doesn’t appear to be the improved ball club some were anticipating prior to the season, but at least they get to watch Salvador Perez mash this year, as he ended the month with 26 home runs and a .821 OPS. - L


27. Pittsburgh Pirates (40-64)


Previous Rank: 28


As expected, the Pirates flipped Adam Frazier, Tyler Anderson, and Richard Rodriguez leading up to the deadline, and the final two months will be all about in-house talent evaluation. Controllable right-hander Bryse Wilson was acquired in the Rodriguez trade with the Braves, and he'll immediately slide into the MLB rotation. -T


28. Baltimore Orioles (37-66)


Previous Rank: 29


The Orioles are still horrible, and that won’t change going forward at this point. They didn’t really move anyone at the deadline aside from Freddy Galvis (it’s not like they had much to move anyway), and Cedric Mullins is still great, so they can enjoy him for the final two months at least. - L


29. Texas Rangers (37-67)


Previous Rank: 26


With Joey Gallo, Kyle Gibson, and Ian Kennedy all sent packing at the deadline, the Rangers have all but cemented a last-place finish in the AL West standings. They did well to bring back right-hander Spencer Howard in their deal with the Phillies, and they went the quantity route in the Joey Gallo deal by picking up four mid-level prospects from the Yankees system. -T


30. Arizona Diamondbacks (33-72)


Previous Rank: 30


Try again next year, please. - Every MLB fan