NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFF PICTURE
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Atlanta Braves
- St. Louis Cardinals
- San Diego Padres*
- New York Mets*
* Wild-card Team
Assuming that the MLB goes back to the regular playoff format, these are the five teams I have making the playoffs in the National League.
The Dodgers look plenty capable to win their ninth straight NL West division title even with the very improved San Diego Padres. With the addition of Trevor Bauer this team looks like they could very well win back to back World Series titles. Although they haven’t resigned third baseman Justin Turner, I think they are still the favorites and resigning him still isn’t out of the question. With guys like Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Corey Seager all returning to the lineup, they shouldn’t have any problem scoring runs. As well as their three headed monster featuring Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Trevor Bauer all in the rotation. This team is dangerous.
After resigning Marcell Ozuna a few days ago, Atlanta looks to be the team to beat in a stacked NL East. Even though the Mets have made some serious upgrades and are looking good going into 2021, I think this is still the Braves division to lose. With a lineup featuring Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Marcell Ozuna. Along with a rotation of newly acquired Charlie Morton, Max Fried, and Mike Soroka returning from injury, Atlanta looks like a force to be reckoned with in 2021.
The NL Central is probably one of the worst divisions in baseball, but also going to be one of the most competitive. With the Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, and Cubs all with a chance to win this division, it should be interesting to watch this race. I think the Cardinals stand out a little more than the others, especially after they acquired all star third baseman Nolan Arenado to accompany Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of their lineup. A lot of question marks in their rotation but ultimately I think they come out on top in the NL Central this year.
In the first Wild Card spot I have the new and improved San Diego Padres. With a pitching rotation that features Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Dinelson Lamet, and a lineup consisting of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Wil Myers, I think this team runs away with the first Wild Card spot. They could possibly finish with the second best record in the National League, but unfortunately for them it would be behind the Dodgers who reside in the same division. Forcing San Diego to settle for a Wild Card spot.
The second Wild Card spot is very up for grabs in my eyes even with the Mets still without a spot. I think the Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Cubs, Brewers, and Reds will all be in contention for that last spot but it will ultimately end with the Mets coming out on top. Lead by stud pitcher Jacob deGrom and newly acquired Francisco Lindor, this team is hard to deny a spot in the postseason.
AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFF PICTURE
- New York Yankees
- Houston Astros
- Minnesota Twins
- Chicago White Sox*
- Tampa Bay Rays*
The Yankees rotation has a lot of question marks besides ace Gerrit Cole. Two pitchers they acquired this offseason, Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon have battled with injuries in the past. With that being said I expect a big breakout from Taillon and Kluber to be a very solid number two starter in New York. With an offense of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and friends, barring any injury problems, this team should run away with the AL East.
After the whole scandal being brought to light after the 2019 season, fans were eager to see how they performed in the shortened 2020 season. After a shaky regular season finishing with a 29-31 record, they made they expanded playoffs and proved the haters wrong coming one game shy of playing in the World Series for the 4th year in a row. Even after losing star outfielder George Springer via free agency, I think this team is still in the drivers seat in the AL West.
A lot of people have the young and exciting Chicago White Sox winning the AL Central, I have the gritty Minnesota Twins taking the crown and going back to the playoffs to try and finally win a playoff game. After a breakout season from Kenta Maeda, I think he will be the deciding factor with this Twins team. A very balanced lineup top to bottom and a decent pitching staff, I think the Twins win the Central but not by much.
Just falling short of winning their division, I have the Chicago White Sox taking the first Wild Card spot. A very young team with guys like Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Yoan Moncada, and reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu, this team will be very good in 2021 and many years to come. With that said, I think they will have to wait at least one more year to become AL Central Champs.
I have the Tampa Bay Rays taking the second Wild Card spot. There are a few teams that could take this spot including a fellow AL East team full of young talent and new superstar George Springer. Even though the Rays traded away star pitcher Blake Snell and lost Charlie Morton to Atlanta, they always find a way to win and I think they do it again in 2021.
NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
WILD CARD GAME
New York Mets vs. San Diego Padres
In a five or seven game series I would have the Padres coming out on top, but in a one game playoff with Jacob deGrom getting to pitch, it’s hard to bet against the Mets. Anything can happen in a one game wild card and it would be a great game in Petco Park, but it will end in the Mets celebrating on their field lead by an absolute dominant performance from Jacob deGrom.
Mets win 5-1
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves
A rematch from the 2019 Division Series that went to five games and ended with the Cardinals coming out on top. I think things go a little differently this time around with a more experienced Braves roster and a much better pitching staff. Although it would be a great series between the two, I think the Braves overpowered lineup will be too much to handle for a not so great Cardinals pitching staff other than Jack Flaherty. The Braves handle St. Louis with ease and advance to the NLCS for the second year in a row.
Braves win series 3-1
New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
This series would be fun just to watch Trevor Bauer go up against the team he trolled all offseason before signing with the Dodgers. This would be just about as good as a matchup your gonna get in the Division Series but I think the Dodgers would be to much to handle for an unexperienced Mets squad. The pitching matchups would be something to see but I think Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Corey Seager will be on their game and ready for the Mets star studded rotation. In a battle that will last five games, the Dodgers clinch at Dodger Stadium hopefully in front of a big crowd.
Dodgers win series 3-2
Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
A rematch from last years NLCS that didn’t disappoint after the Braves went up 3-1 on the Dodgers. We saw the Dodgers crawl back and win three straight to earn their second World Series birth since 2017. This would be a battle of two heavyweight lineups but I think the Dodgers pitching staff wont disappoint and they will lead them back to the World Series for the second straight year. I think we will see two dominant starts from Walker Buehler earning him NLCS MVP honors.
Dodgers win series 4-2
AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
WILD CARD GAME
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox
After just making it to the playoffs the Rays have to face Lucas Giolito and the White Sox in a one game playoff. With Tyler Glasnow likely going for Tampa, this should be a great pitching matchup, but ultimately one that Giolito wins. The White Sox offense will be too much for Glasnow and the bullpen to handle and the Sox coast with an easy Wild Card victory.
White Sox win 9-3
Minnesota Twins vs. Houston Astros
A rematch from the three game series in the first round of the 2020 playoffs where we saw the Astros sweep 2-0. The Twins will be looking for a playoff win in general after losing their last 18 postseason contests. I think they will finally get their win but fall short in the series as a whole. The Astros mighty offense will destroy a weak Twins pitching staff and find themselves back in the ALCS for the 5th straight year.
Astros win series 3-1
Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees
The young White Sox take on the mighty Yankees in a series for the ages. I think this will be the best series of the playoffs even though it is a division series matchup. The White Sox will shock the world and go up 2-0 on the Yankees taking both games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees wont go down without a fight though coming back and taking both games in Chicago tying the series at two a piece. In a very unexpecting outcome the White Sox defeat the Yankees in game 5 at Yankee Stadium and move on to the ALCS for the first time since 2005 when they won the World Series. The Yankees get an early elimination once again and leave Yankees fans devastated.
White Sox win series 3-2
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
A very intriguing matchup to me for some reason and I think this series wouldn’t disappoint. In a back and forth battle between the two I think the Astros deny the haters once again and take out the Sox to return to the World Series for the fourth time in the last five years. This would have most baseball fans very upset and hoping for the Dodgers to take care of them in the World Series. Alex Bregman will star in this series clubbing 4 home runs and leading Houston back to the World Series and receiving ALCS MVP honors.
Astros win series 4-2
Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Could possibly be one of the most interesting World Series ever with a rematch from 2017 where the Astros came out on top but of course with an asterisk in the eyes of most baseball fans. There would be a lot of tension between these two teams and it would be awesome to watch for fans of these two teams and for all fans of baseball in general. Everyone will be rooting for the Dodgers except Houston fans and I think the Dodgers come out on top winning back-to-back World Series titles for the first time since the Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000. The Dodgers would get the last laugh against the Astros defeating them in the World Series and finally getting proper revenge. The last time they met, the Dodgers didn’t have Mookie Betts, and he will be the x-factor for them this series taking home World Series MVP honors and becoming a Los Angeles Dodgers legend forever.
Dodgers win World Series 4-2.