MLB power rankings: Red-hot Tampa Bay Rays are baseball’s new No. 1 team

The defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays started the 2021 season 19-19 but have gone on a tear over the past month, winning 19 of their last 23 games and the No. 1 spot in this week's USA TODAY Sports MLB power rankings.

The Rays' surge has them narrowly ahead of the Boston Red Sox atop the American League East, with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees also above .500 and almost certain to remain in the race all season.

Outfielder Austin Meadows has 22 RBI with a 1.061 OPS in his last 15 games, while 41-year-old lefty Rich Hill has a 0.74 ERA in his last six starts to lead a pitching staff that had the AL's best ERA (2.70) in the month of May.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres dropped from first to third and the San Francisco Giants moved up to second place in the weekly survey.

Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows are powering the Tampa Bay offense. (Photo: Andy Marlin, USA TODAY Sports)

Here's how our seven-person panel voted this week:


RANK (movement from last week)

1. Tampa Bay Rays (+1)

  • Top prospect Wander Franco posted a .934 OPS, 25 RBI through 25 games at Class AAA.

2. San Francisco Giants (+3)

  • Joey Bart off to a strong start in Classs AAA: .321 average, 3 HR, 12 RBI in 15 games.

3. San Diego Padres (-2)

  • Closer Mark Melancon has held lefties to a .105 average (4-for-38).

4. Chicago White Sox (+2)

  • Through Saturday, catcher Yasmani Grandal led MLB in walks – but was hitting .159.

5. Boston Red Sox (-1)

  • Tough week ahead at Fenway with three vs. Astros, four vs. Blue Jays.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (-3)

  • Right-hander Tony Gonsolin (2.31 ERA in 2020) set to make his 2021 debut.

7. Oakland Athletics (–)

  • Oakland shortstops' .534 OPS is the worst in baseball.

8. Houston Astros (+1)

  • Bullpen is in desperate need of some upgrades heading into the summer.

9. Chicago Cubs (+2)

  • Ace Kyle Hendricks finally looking like himself after a rough April.

10. Milwaukee Brewers (+5)

  • Milwaukee's .211 batting average was worst in the NL through Saturday.

11. New York Mets (+3)

  • Seth Lugo's return gives Luis Rojas' overworked bullpen a boost.

12. Cleveland (–)

  • Reliever Emmanuel Clase (1.09 ERA, 9 saves in 26 games) is a Rookie of the Year dark horse.

13.Toronto Blue Jays (–)

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. making a Triple Crown run.

14. St. Louis Cardinals (-4)

  • Letty Kwang-hyun Kim heads to the injured list

15. New York Yankees (-7)

  • Luis Severino, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020, set start a rehab assignment.

16. Atlanta Braves (–)

  • Catcher Willson Contreras (17 RBI, .841 OPS in May) doing a nice job with Travis d'Arnaud out.

17. Philadelphia Phillies (–)

  • Rhys Hoskins through 66 AB vs. lefties: .318/.423/.606.

18. Cincinnati Reds (+1)

  • Jonathan India heating up again, going 7-for-12 with two homers to start June.

19. Kansas City Royals (+2)

  • A free agent after 2021, Jorge Soler (.177, 4 HR in 52 games) isn't doing himself any favors.

20. Seattle Mariners (–)

  • Jared Kelenic started his MLB career 8-for-79 (.101 average) in 21 games.

21. Washington Nationals (+1)

  • Ryan Zimmerman (.902 OPS in 95 AB) is thriving in a part-time role.

22. Miami Marlins (-4)

  • Sixto Sanchez, still yet to pitch in 2021, was shut down after experiencing shoulder discomfort.

23. Los Angeles Angels (–)

  • Jo Adell has 15 homers, 29 RBI and a 1.061 OPS in Class AAA.

24. Minnesota Twins (–)

  • Willians Astudillo has already made three appearances as a pitcher this season.

25. Detroit Tigers (+1)

  • Casey Mize has seven quality starts in his last eight outings.

26. Texas Rangers (-1)

  • Kyle Gibson (2.06 ERA in 11 starts) should be a nice trade chip.

27. Colorado Rockies (+1)

  • Yonathan Daza hitting .331 (45-for-136) and has become the everyday center fielder.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates (-1)

  • 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes back in action after missing two months.

29. Baltimore Orioles (–)

  • Top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez has a 1.59 ERA through six starts.

30. Arizona Diamondbacks (-1)

  • Pavin Smith playing his way into NL Rookie of the Year race.

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