Take a break from reflections on the end of this decade to look ahead at predictions for the next one. Here are our picks for the winners of the next 10 World Series (to be taken with as many grains of salt as are required to enjoy anything looking a decade ahead with a postseason as capricious as baseball’s, of course).
2020: Los Angeles Dodgers. After seven consecutive titles in the NL West—and seven consecutive early exits in October—the Dodgers are in a strong position to go all the way on No. 8. But the core of the roster could look markedly different from L.A.’s last World Series-bound team from 2018. Think key contributions from current rookies Alex Verdugo, Will Smith, Gavin Lux, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May, plus top prospect Keibert Ruiz. And, just for old times’ sake, let’s throw in a redemptive arc for Playoff Clayton Kershaw.
2021: Atlanta Braves. In 2021, you’d be looking at potential prime performances from Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Dansby Swanson (and this is just part of that young core), plus the veteran presences of Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte. Add in a little more quality pitching, and chances are, Atlanta should look pretty good.
2022: New York Yankees. A Yankees postseason run that will not be dominated by broadcasters’ reminders that Gleyber Torres is 22! Because he’ll be… 25, which, probably, will feel no less staggering. Centerfield prospect Estevan Florial will be 24, and perhaps he’ll have overcome his injury woes and tapped into his massive upside. In other roster news, Aaron Judge will about to hit free agency, and Giancarlo Stanton—if he doesn’t take his opt-out after 2020—will be just halfway into his tenure as a Yankee.
2023: Cincinnati Reds. Picture a World Series team led by Nick Senzel in the field and Hunter Greene (remember him?) on the mound. Meanwhile, Joey Votto will be 39, in the last guaranteed year of his current contract (Cincinnati has a $20-million option for 2024) and pushing into the all-time top-five on baseball’s walks leaderboard.
2024: San Diego Padres. Fernando Tatis Jr. will be 25. He’ll be accompanied by Chris Paddack and Francisco Mejia, plus some current top prospects like Mackenzie Gore and Luis Patiño. And, yes, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer will both still be in town.
2025: Toronto Blue Jays. In the last year before they hit free agency, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio will lead the Jays to their first World Series since 1993. Look out for the SON-POWERED stadium posters.
2026: Houston Astros. Will anyone from the 2017 World Series champ Astros be on the 2026 World Series champ Astros? Probably not. (We’ll assume that even the trash cans will have been changed out by this point.) Will they win with the same blend of technical and analytical innovation, demonstrated in everything from roster construction to organizational development, that sends other clubs scrambling to figure out how they did it? We’ll say yes.
2027: Philadelphia Phillies. Bryce Harper will still have four years left on his contract.
2028: Montreal-Tampa Bay ExpAys. The international team-sharing deal will spark plenty of questions about what constitutes a postseason “home” game. All hail Youppi. (Well, for half the playoff run, at least.)
2029: London Red Booths. Global expansion will get the World Series to, finally, live up to its name. Fans everywhere will experience the series through virtual reality, getting the glory of feeling like they’re sharing their couch with Joe Buck. And we’ll still all be arguing about pace of play.