MLB Power Rankings Week 17: Where all 30 teams stand after the trade deadline

Craig Kimbrel, Max Scherzer & Kris Bryant ESPN

The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, with teams making dramatic move after dramatic move in one of the most active deadlines we've seen in years.

Can the Yankees make a run at the AL East crown with Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo? Will the Dodgers' team full of superstars be enough to supplant the Giants at No. 1? How good are the Mets with Javier Baez?

Here is what our eight-voter expert panel decided based on what they have learned in the first four months of the 2021 season. We also asked ESPN baseball experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Joon Lee, Jesse Rogers and Alden Gonzalez to weigh in with one Week 17 observation based on what they have seen recently for all 30 teams.

Previous rankings: Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Opening Day

1. San Francisco Giants

Record: 68-40
Previous ranking: 1

If you want to nitpick -- or maybe it's more than that -- you can say the Giants should have gone all-in for Max Scherzer to anchor the top of their rotation, even though their starters boast the fourth-lowest ERA in the majors. Or you can say they should have convinced the Angels to part with Raisel Iglesias, even though Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee have combined for a 2.10 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP while locking down the ninth inning. What they did do was acquire Kris Bryant, an impact bat who brings useful versatility that makes him a perfect fit for that lineup. Also what they did: ensure the National League West will provide a fascinating race down the stretch. -- Gonzalez

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 65-44
Previous ranking: 3

The Dodgers might have once again put themselves over the top. In one fell swoop, they picked up the best pitcher (Max Scherzer) and best position player (Trea Turner) available before the trade deadline, adding them to what was already a ridiculous ensemble of stars. Scherzer will help anchor a rotation, providing some needed depth with Trevor Bauer in legal trouble and Clayton Kershaw slowly recovering from forearm inflammation. Turner, a shortstop by trade, will likely get most of his plate appearances in center field and second base, spelling Cody Bellinger and, when he returns to health, Gavin Lux. The Dodgers' talent was jaw-dropping -- in 2019. Since then they've added Mookie Betts, David Price, Albert Pujols, Scherzer and Turner. Now it's ... unprecedented? -- Gonzalez

3. Houston Astros

Record: 65-43
Previous ranking: 2

With the Astros visiting Dodger Stadium this week, and facing the obligatory amount of derision while doing so, you have to wonder if vengeful opposing fans are hurting their own cause. Maybe, just maybe, their hoots and jeers and boos are only steeling Astros hitters against the effects of playing in hostile, pressurized environs. Since the beginning of last season, Houston is hitting 10 points higher away from Minute Maid Park (.262 to .252) with a 15-point edge in OPS (.767 to.752). If you combine the numbers of the four most targeted members of the reviled 2017 Astros -- Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and the now-departed George Springer -- the splits are thus: .787 at home and .815 on the road.-- Doolittle

4. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 65-44
Previous ranking: 5

Tampa Bay is a force to be reckoned with. The team struggled a bit in June, posting a 12-14 record before going 16-8 in July to re-cement themselves as one of the top teams in the American League, climbing ahead of the Red Sox for the lead in the AL East. The team also traded away Willy Adames, Rich Hill and Diego Castillo ahead of the trade deadline, emblematic of the team's commitment to opening up opportunities for young, talented players. -- Lee

5. Chicago White Sox

Record: 63-45
Previous ranking: 6

While we wait to see how the White Sox bolster their roster for October, an interesting dilemma looms a few weeks into Chicago's future: Who will be in its playoff rotation? It's a question more about surplus than necessity. Chicago's primary quintet of Lance Lynn, Dallas Keuchel, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon has been one of baseball's most productive, durable and consistent units in baseball. Of those five, Keuchel has probably been the least good this season, but he's the highest-paid member of the rotation and has the most postseason experience. Because of those factors, it seems like Cease needs to end the season with a flurry in order to stake a claim. -- Doolittle

6. Milwaukee Brewers

Previous ranking: 8

Milwaukee's offense is much improved from the first half. Over the past week, the Brewers rank eighth in OPS in the NL including a .246 batting average. That's quite a bit higher than their season total to date. Willy Adames and Avisail Garcia led the way without Christian Yelich in the lineup due to COVID-19. If Milwaukee can be middle of the pack in hitting then it becomes a very dangerous October team considering it can pitch with anyone. -- Rogers

7. Boston Red Sox

Record: 64-45
Previous ranking: 4

While the rest of the AL East made moves to improve their teams heading into the stretch run for the playoffs, Boston decided to lean on Chris Sale to improve its struggling rotation and the acquisition of Kyle Schwarber to fill the offensive black hole at first base, despite the fact that the former Chicago Cub and Washington National has never played first base at the major league level. -- Lee

8. San Diego Padres

Record: 62-48
Previous ranking: 7

The Padres have had a rough past few days. It began with missing out on a top starting pitcher -- first Max Scherzer, then everybody else -- and then it continued with Chris Paddack and Fernando Tatis Jr. both landing on the shelf. Paddack is nursing an oblique strain. Tatis, an MVP frontrunner, once again suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder, a circumstance that has the Padres pondering the possibility of season-ending surgery. The acquisition of Adam Frazier, which makes it easier for Jake Cronenworth to slide in at shortstop, can help alleviate Tatis' absence in the short term. But it's hard to see them topping the Giants and Dodgers -- let alone winning it all -- without Tatis over these next two to three months. -- Gonzalez

9. Oakland Athletics

Record: 61-48
Previous ranking: 9

Oakland made moves to push for a playoff spot, adding rental outfielder Starling Marte in exchange for Jesus Luzardo while also adding depth to the roster in Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison and Andrew Chafin. The decision to trade Luzardo -- a former top prospect and talented lefty -- at the valley of his value will be an interesting development to watch over the course of the next few seasons, given that Marte will hit free agency after the season. -- Lee

10. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 56-49
Previous ranking: 11

Toronto gave up a lot to add Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins in a move that will not only add to its rotation's strength this year, but for an additional season as well, with one season left of team arbitration control. Berrios joins Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray as Toronto makes a push for the playoffs this season, bolstered by the bullpen additions of Brad Hand and Joakim Soria. -- Lee

11. New York Yankees

Record: 58-49
Previous ranking: 12

The Yankees went out and acquired Joey Gallo, Anthony Rizzo and Andrew Heaney in hopes that their player additions at the deadline would shore up a struggling team. As of now, the team still finds itself closer to the fourth-place Toronto Blue Jays in the division race than the second-place Boston Red Sox, but despite an inconsistent season out of the Bronx Bombers, general manager Brian Cashman felt the urgency to go out and makes some acquisitions to try to make a playoff run. -- Lee

12. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 57-51
Previous ranking: 14

The Reds continue to hang around the outskirts of the NL playoff race, but can a team with the worst bullpen in baseball really consider itself a contender? The latest meltdown came on Tuesday when Heath Hembree gave up a three-run, ninth-inning home run allowing Minnesota to complete a comeback. Cincinnati needing to use a player with over a 5.00 ERA in the ninth inning of a one run game tells the tale of their season. Amir Garrett has been awful, and pretty much everyone else the Reds have used has faltered as well. Perhaps the addition of reliever Mychal Givens will make a difference -- he pitched a clean inning on Tuesday -- but it might not be enough. -- Rogers

13. New York Mets

Record: 56-51
Previous ranking: 10

One thing Javier Baez brings besides power and defense (and a low OBP) is some much-needed speed on the bases. The Mets had a goal to improve their baserunning in 2021, but it hasn't happened. They are last in the majors in FanGraphs' baserunning metric at 16 runs below average. As for Baez, he'll be a good fill-in for Francisco Lindor at shortstop, but let's see how much he produces at the plate other than an occasional home run. His strikeout rate is a whopping 10% higher from 2018, when he finished second in the MVP voting. -- Schoenfield

14. Seattle Mariners

Record: 58-51
Previous ranking: 13

After the controversial trade of closer Kendall Graveman -- and then the acquisition of Diego Castillo -- the Mariners' bullpen coughed up a couple games for the first time in weeks over the weekend. Castillo blew a 4-3 lead in the 10th inning on Saturday, and Erik Swanson blew a 3-1 lead on Sunday in the ninth inning. Seattle rebounded with a win in Tampa Bay on Monday, but now it has four tough games at Yankee Stadium to finish the road trip. -- Schoenfield

15. Atlanta Braves

Record: 54-54
Previous ranking: 16

The Braves remade their outfield on deadline day, acquiring Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall AND Eddie Rosario, along with Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez. Soler led the AL with 48 home runs in 2019 but was hitting just .192 for the Royals, although he had homered seven times in 14 games before the trade. He has started 46 games in right field after almost exclusively DHing in 2020, but his defensive metrics are poor. Let's see how Brian Snitker divvies up the playing time here, but he certainly has some platoon options now with the right-handed Soler, Duvall and Guillermo Heredia, and left-handed Joc Pederson and Rosario. -- Schoenfield

16. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 55-53
Previous ranking: 15

The Phillies added Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy at the deadline, and Gibson paid immediate dividends, allowing two runs over 6 2/3 innings in his first start to beat the Pirates. With Kennedy moving to the back of the bullpen, the Phillies then moved Ranger Suarez to the rotation, and he responded with three scoreless innings against the Nationals on Monday. Coming up: a big nine-game homestand against the Mets, Dodgers and Reds. -- Schoenfield

17. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 53-54
Previous ranking: 19

St. Louis probably didn't have a lot to trade from its team for prospects last month as Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright weren't going anywhere. Instead, the Cardinals added around the edges with Jon Lester and J.A. Happ coming onboard. Neither is having a good season, and Lester's debut in a Cardinals uniform wasn't very good. It's hard to know what St. Louis is thinking for the rest of 2021 other than playing out the string with the hope and prayer its 13 games against the Brewers has some meaning. It probably won't. -- Rogers

18. Cleveland Indians

Record: 52-53
Previous ranking: 17

If anyone had told you before the season that by early August, Cleveland would rank 27th in the majors with a rotation ERA on the wrong side of 5.00, you'd guess that Cleveland would be what it is, which is out of the race. The threesome of Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac, when they've been available, have combined for 23-10 mark and 3.72 ERA, with 24 quality starts in 44 outings. Everyone else has combined to go 5-23 with a 6.84 ERA and eight quality starts in 60 outings. Ouch. -- Doolittle

19. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 54-54
Previous ranking: 18


The Angels mostly stayed course before the trade deadline, trading away a couple of less-heralded pending free agents -- starter Andrew Heaney, reliever Tony Watson -- and holding onto everyone else, most notably closer Raisel Iglesias. Angels general manager Perry Minasian said this group deserves a chance to compete over these next two months, but Anthony Rendon is slated for season-ending hip surgery and there's still no telling when Mike Trout will return from the strained calf he suffered way back on May 17. Of utmost importance for the Angels is to see what they have in the likes of Reid Detmers, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, all of whom are up with the major league club. -- Gonzalez

20. Detroit Tigers

Record: 52-58
Previous ranking: 21

Not only is Miguel Cabrera closing in on the hallowed 500-home runs milestone, but he's happily doing so amid a stretch of bonafide productivity. Since the middle of June, Cabrera has hit .326/.365/.508 with six homers and 27 RBIs over 37 games. No, it's not nearly enough to indicate that Cabrera's inexorable career decline has reversed itself. Time, as far as we know it, is a one-way proposition. But it does demonstrate that Cabrera is still capable of raking for stretches, and that matters given there is still a long way to go on his contract. -- Doolittle

21. Miami Marlins

Record: 46-62
Previous ranking: 23

The three main players the Marlins picked up in deadline deals should get a chance to play the final two months -- starter Jesus Luzardo, catcher Alex Jackson and outfielder Bryan De La Cruz. Jackson is interesting as a former Mariners first-rounder who hit 28 home runs at Triple-A in 2019 and was raking in Triple-A this year, with a .287/.366/.694 line in 30 games. De La Cruz, 24, came over from Houston and was also hitting well at Triple-A at .324/.362/.518, although, like the Marlins, he doesn't walk much. -- Schoenfield

22. Washington Nationals

Record: 49-59
Previous ranking: 21

An 8-18 record in July helped Mike Rizzo make the decision to purge the roster at the trade deadline. Gone are Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Brad Hand, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, Daniel Hudson, Yan Gomes and Jon Lester. What's left: the contracts of Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia will get a chance to play regularly down the stretch and prove they will be key parts of the 2022 team. -- Schoenfield

23. Kansas City Royals

Record: 46-60
Previous ranking: 24

Dayton Moore had some interesting comments on Kansas City radio this week that were summarized by Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star. In essence, Moore declared that because of Adalberto Mondesi's incessant inability to stay off the injured list, he has reached the point that the Royals can no longer think of him as an everyday player when plotting out next year's roster. It's a sobering thought about a player who is still just 26 years old and has in stretches shown he can produce at an elite, MVP-type level, or as close to it as an offensive player can without a hint of plate discipline. It's also potentially a challenge to Mondesi himself to figure out a way to stay in the lineup. -- Doolittle

24. Chicago Cubs

Record: 52-57
Previous ranking: 20

The dealing at the trade deadline means tryouts for the final two months as the Cubs attempt to identify the next group of players who can return them to playoff contention. The most important moments will be on the mound, where young draft picks Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele along with rookie Adbert Alzolay will be watched closely. The Cubs acquired their pitching through free agency over the past few years, which got costly. They wouldn't mind doing it a different way this time around. -- Rogers

25. Colorado Rockies

Record: 47-61
Previous ranking: 26

The Rockies were the talk of the trade deadline -- and that wasn't a good thing. For some reason, they chose to hold on to their star shortstop, Trevor Story, a pending free agent who has no interest in resigning with the team. The organization ultimately felt the compensation pick in next year's draft -- a result of Story declining the qualifying offer that the Rockies will extend him this offseason -- was more enticing than the return on a potential trade. The returns on rentals such as Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez make that hard to believe. The Rockies seem rudderless. These next few months are all about charting a course. -- Gonzalez

26. Minnesota Twins

Record: 45-63
Previous ranking: 25

As the Twins turn the page on their abysmal 2021 campaign and start to look to the future, you can't help but wonder what kind of role Miguel Sano will play in it. Cot's Contracts estimates Sano's payroll figure next season at about $10.6 million, followed by a $14 million club option for 2023 with a $2.75 million buyout. Since the beginning of the 2018 season, Sano is hitting .219/.308/.484 for a 113 OPS+ and minus-27 defensive runs saved. That translates to a four-year total of 2.6 bWAR with two months left to go in this season. Sano hits the ball as hard as anyone. In fact, his career .253 isolated power figure ranks 26th all-time among players with at least 2,500 plate appearances, one point behind the Hall of Fame threesome of Joe DiMaggio, Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas. At what point does that power simply not show up often enough to offset his other shortcomings? -- Doolittle

27. Texas Rangers

Record: 39-69
Previous ranking: 28

The Rangers experienced a double-digit losing streak recently, and that was before trading Joey Gallo and Kyle Gibson. Like most teams who subtract at the deadline, the rest of the way is about figuring out what they have moving forward. Spencer Howard was a key pickup from the Phillies at the deadline but so were the two middle infielders they acquired from the Yankees for Gallo. Howard is in the majors now and will be given every chance to be a top or middle-of-the-rotation pitcher in Texas. -- Rogers

28. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 41-67
Previous ranking: 28

Pittsburgh's ERA keeps climbing as the team is a mess on the mound. And the Pirates' ability to play the spoiler role probably is out the window after the trades of Adam Frazier and Richard Rodriguez. The Pirates are in their seemingly perennial "see what we have for next year" mode, which might give them plenty of information going into 2022 but not many wins. -- Rogers

29. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 38-69
Previous ranking: 29

Entering his start on Wednesday, Matt Harvey found himself on a roll, throwing 18.1 scoreless innings in his past three starts, all victories. The Orioles signed the former ace of the New York Mets before the season on a minor league deal, and he largely struggled until his recent stretch of games. -- Lee

30. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 34-75
Previous ranking: 30

The D-backs, as expected, didn't make any monumental changes before the trade deadline, parting with a trio of pending free agents in Eduardo Escobar, Joakim Soria and Stephen Vogt. Now the D-backs need to figure out how quickly they can become competitive in that division, a decision that could steer their approach with Madison Bumgarner, who has a 1.80 ERA over his past four starts. -- Gonzalez