The 60-game season was supposed to bring parity, bring everyone back to the pack, and lead to huge surprises in division races. Maybe we're just going to see all of that happen in 2021?
We're coming up on the end of the season's first quarter and more than half of the league is bunched up. There are 19 teams with a .500 record or better, but just two that have a winning percentage above .600. Two years after we had four 100-win teams, only the Red Sox are on pace to reach that number, and they're tracking to just barely get there at 101 wins.
As the weather heats up, a few teams always do, but until the favorites start pulling away you might as well flip a coin when picking between a lot of the teams in the top 20. We didn't do that, of course.
After some research and a lot of head scratching, here's our latest version of the MLB Power Rankings ...
30. Tigers (10-24): It seems only a matter of time before Miguel Cabrera gets the Albert Pujols treatment. He's a Hall of Famer and has two years left on his deal, but he has a .250 OBP and a .254 slugging percentage.
29. Rockies (12-22): Congrats to former Giants left fielder Connor Joe, who got back to the big leagues last week. Joe announced last spring that he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, but he underwent chemo and made his way all the way back. He had a single and two walks in his first start for the Rockies.
28. Pirates (14-19): Turns out the Giants were right about Tyler Anderson as a reclamation project, too. They were just a year early. Anderson has a 3.05 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in seven starts.
27. Orioles (15-19): John Means burst on the national stage by no-hitting the Mariners, but this was no fluke. Through seven starts, he has a 1.37 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and is holding opposing hitters to a .135 average. The lefty is turning into a Cy Young candidate as a 28-year-old.
26. Royals (16-17): Buster Posey isn't the only longtime All-Star catcher putting up big numbers late in his career. Salvador Perez has a .808 OPS and seven homers.
25. Twins (12-20): They have only been outscored by two runs overall, but the rough early start might soon knock them out of contention in the AL Central. They're already seven back.
24. Nationals (13-17): Anyone could have had Brad Hand early in the offseason, but teams went cheap. He has a 1.59 ERA in 11 appearances for the Nationals.
23. Diamondbacks (15-19): Madison Bumgarner is having by far his best run since joining a second team. In his last four starts, he has allowed three total runs and has 25 strikeouts to two walks.
22. Angels (15-18): How do you waste Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, two of the leading MVP candidates in the AL? Well, the Angels have allowed an MLB-high 184 runs.
21. Mariners (18-17): Former A's starter Kendall Graveman has found new life as one of the AL's best relievers thus far. He has allowed four hits and has 16 strikeouts in 14 1/3 shutout innings.
20. Reds (15-16): Wade Miley, in his 11th big league season and on his seventh team, no-hit the Indians last week. Miley credited his young son for giving him a temporary Incredible Hulk tattoo before the game. "I might have to get the real Hulk tattoo," he said. Yep. Those are the rules.
19. Rangers (18-18): They come to Oracle for a quick two-game series, with two right-handers with very different numbers taking the mound. Kyle Gibson (2.40 ERA) faces Alex Wood on Monday, with Jordan Lyles (7.09 ERA, league-high 44 hits allowed) facing Logan Webb on Tuesday.
18. Marlins (15-18): They're eighth in the big leagues in run differential (plus-20) but are the only team on the positive side that also has a losing record. If they get healthy, they might make some noise in a deep division.
17. Cubs (17-17): Old friend Matt Duffy has become a regular the last couple of weeks, mostly at third base, and has been part of the lineup's better results. He has a .394 OBP.
16. Braves (17-17): Pablo Sandoval hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer in the ninth inning Saturday to tie a crazy game the Braves would win in extras. It was his fourth pinch-hit homer in his first 31 at-bats this season, and puts him on a pretty insane pace. He joined Arizona's Erubiel Durazo (2001) as the only players in the last six decades to hit four pinch-hit homers in the season's first two months.
15. Phillies (18-17): After hitting .169 in April with one homer, Andrew McCutchen is starting to find his form, which is great to see because nobody has more fun than he does. McCutchen has 12 hits, including four homers, in nine May games.
14. Blue Jays (17-16): They went after Robbie Ray early and it's proven to be a good addition. The former D-Backs lefty has a 3.14 ERA in five starts. Their big addition, George Springer, finally returned to the lineup and hit two homers the third night back.
13. Brewers (19-16): They've had more injuries than anyone and are still without ace Corbin Burnes and former MVP Christian Yelich. A deep rotation and good bullpen will keep them around in the NL Central until they get to full strength.
12. Indians (18-14): Yes, we talk about James Karinchak in this space often, but for good reason. In 15 relief innings, he has 30 strikeouts and has allowed just three hits.
11. Yankees (18-16): The gamble on Corey Kluber is paying off. He has gotten hot, lowering his ERA to 3.06 and giving the Yankees one of the game's best one-two punches. Gerrit Cole (1.61 ERA, 66 strikeouts, 3 walks) continues to be worth every penny.
10. Rays (19-17): They have just one player with an OPS above .800 and 11 different pitchers have started a game for them, but as always, they're making it work.
9. Mets (16-13): The Power Rankings Committee appreciated Francisco Lindor's commitment to the rat-raccoon bit. The Mets would appreciate it if he got his average off the interstate. Lindor is hitting .194 with two homers in his first year outside of Cleveland.
8. Astros (18-16): The greatest free agent shortstop class of all-time is off to a slow start. A year after posting a .709 OPS, Carlos Correa is at .715, in large part because his OBP is hovering below .300.
7. Cardinals (21-14): You might have noticed we look at the schedule a lot around here, so their 9-2 run has to be taken with a grain of salt. It included sweeps of the Rockies and Pirates. Still, they're deep, and Nolan Arenado is starting to find his All-Star form.
6. A's (21-15): There are four 20-win teams and three have outscored their opponents by at least 23 runs. The A's have been outscored by 10 runs, but hey, whatever works, right? They're 8-3 in one-run games and have been in first place in the AL West for three straight weeks after a slow start.
5. Dodgers (18-17): Are they still going to win the NL West? Probably. Are they still the World Series favorites? Yep. But they've also lost five consecutive series for the first time since 2017, so they drop out of the top spot here for the first time in at least two years. We've seen this before and the Dodgers usually respond with a month where they're unbeatable, but right now they're playing some bad, bad baseball.
4. Giants (20-14): They've been in first in the NL West for 12 consecutive days, just took two of three from the Padres, and -- even after an 11-1 loss on Sunday -- rank second in the NL in run differential. If the rotation holds up, they're hanging around all season long.
3. White Sox (19-13): Even with some brutal injury luck for their lineup, they're hammering opponents. They easily lead the Majors with a plus-53 run differential. Paced by Carlos Rodon and Lance Lynn, their rotation has an MLB-leading 2.66 ERA, nearly a full run better than the next-best team in the AL.
2. Padres (19-16): They've been the most consistent of all the preseason favorites, in part because of their new closer. Mark Melancon has allowed one run in 14 appearances and has 11 saves.
1. Red Sox (22-13): A new team at the top, and a reminder that there's a reason the top executives are so sought after in MLB. If Farhan Zaidi had not taken the job, Chaim Bloom likely would be running the Giants right now. Instead he's turning around a Boston team that's trying to go worst-to-first in the tough AL East.