September is here, which marks the unofficial end of summer. Kids are back in school, the weather gets colder, and football starts up. But everybody forgets about one minor detail: baseball is in the middle of pennant chases and playoff spots being clinched in September. It's a great time to see the races in certain divisions come down to the last week or so. One division that is particularly interesting this season is the National League West with the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Dodgers all battling for the top spot with only 1.5 games separating all three teams. The AL West is also very interesting as the Astros were the clear favorites to wipe out the rest of the teams in that division. Somebody didn't tell the Oakland Athletics that as they have been playing great since the All-Star break and find themselves holding a wild card spot.
Of course, winning the division is one thing, but winning the World Series is another one. Teams can have everything go their way once October rolls around. Look at the Yankees in 2017, as they were one game away from the World Series. There are some teams ready as early as this year to make a World Series run while some are years away from arriving to the big show in October. Why not make some early predictions and see what could potentially play out? After all, we love to make projections as baseball fans. Let's project the next seven MLB World Series matchups and pick some winners.
21 2018 AL Champion: Houston Astros
The World Series champion Houston Astros look to be the favorite again for the 2018 World Series. They have proven that they can easily win in Boston, who has the best record in baseball currently.
The Astros just have way too much talent to not be back in the World Series.
They have the starting rotation with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel leading the way. They have the offense behind Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. They also have one of the best bullpens right now and bullpens are essential in the postseason. The Astros have too much fire power to not be back there.
20 2018 NL Champion: Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs look like they will get themselves back to the World Series after being absent from it in 2017. Jon Lester is emerging as one of the best pitchers, even at his age. They also have Cole Hamels pitching well with a solid lineup backing them up as well. The National League should be the Cubs' to take as the Dodgers have taken somewhat of a step back from last year, even with the acquisitions of Manny Machado and Brian Dozier. The Braves are too young and won't have the experience to know what it takes to win in October. It looks good for the Cubs.
19 2018 World Series Winner: Houston Astros
It is hard to go against the Astros in this matchup. The Cubs have a very good lineup and pitching staff. But the Astros have that type of offense that can put up runs in a hurry. Just look at the last game of their recent series against the Red Sox. They were down 5-1 and immediately made it 5-5 in the blink of an eye. Verlander along with Cole, Keuchel and their lineup just seem too strong to get past this season. Houston will be a team that repeats for the first time in a long time after the 2018 World Series.
18 2019 AL Champion: Boston Red Sox
The 2019 AL pennant race will look to be a very interesting one. But, this looks to be the season that the Boston Red Sox put it all together. The Red Sox have a very good team in 2018 with a great lineup and a solid pitching rotation with Chris Sale as the ace and David Price is a very dependable number two starter.
The only thing in their way is a suspect bullpen.
If the Boston Red Sox can find a way to get some more dependable arms in the bullpen, then 2019 will be a special season for them as they will run away with the AL easily in hand.
17 2019 NL Champion: St. Louis Cardinals
Sometimes, teams play better under new direction. The Cardinals didn't even look to be a legitimate threat. Add to the fact that they are playing in the same division as the Cubs and the Brewers made it that much tougher to try to prevail out of the National League. The Cardinals got rid of Mike Matheny and now are under the direction of Mike Shildt. Shildt has gotten the Cardinals to the point that they are a legitimate Wild Card contender.
The Cardinals have Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter along with Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright in the rotation. With a full year of Mike Shildt, the Cardinals can win the National League pennant.
16 2019 World Series Champion: Boston Red Sox
With another matchup of the Red Sox and Cardinals in the World Series, it would be no surprise to see the Red Sox triumph over the Cardinals again. The Red Sox have won the last two matchups in 2004 and 2013.
The Red Sox have a much better lineup than the Cardinals do, top to bottom.
The pitching is also a lot better on the Red Sox side with Sale and Price leading the way. If the Cardinals get into an offensive battle with the Red Sox, they will very certainly lose. The Red Sox should be hoisting up the World Series trophy at the end of 2019.
15 2020 AL Champion: Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians have been a team that has been consistently at the top of the AL for a few years now. They have a bonafide ace in Corey Kluber and then dependable starters like Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger. They also have a great lineup and just recently added former A.L. MVP Josh Donaldson to help them this upcoming postseason.
The Indians may not win it next year, but they'll have a very good shot in 2020. A guy like Francisco Lindor can help the Indians offense stay up to pace and the pitching is really good. The Indians will look very good in 2020.
14 2020 NL Champion: Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers are on the rise in the National League. They went out and acquired big pieces like Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to bolster a lineup that already featured Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar was a big piece of the lineup in the first half of the season and Yelich has been taking over in August and September.
The Brewers are in a really good position at the moment. If they can acquire some good starting pitching within the next offseason or two, the Brewers have a very realistic chance of winning the National League pennant in 2020.
13 2020 World Series Champion: Cleveland Indians
The old saying goes, "offense wins games, and defense wins championships". The Brewers do have some very good, young bats in their lineup. However, the Indians have the pitching and their pitching can take them a long way. Keep in mind that the Indians are still a very good baseball team in 2018 when everyone else was talking about the Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros at one point.
The Indians could very well be at the end of their window when the 2020 season hits.
So, it would make sense that the Indians would win the World Series by beating the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2020 World Series.
12 2021 AL Champion: New York Yankees
The New York Yankees can always find themselves one year away from World Series titles whether we like to admit it or not. The Yankees went out and got Giancarlo Stanton last offseason and could add a piece like Manny Machado or a player of that caliber this offseason. The Yankees also have the sixth best farm system in the MLB with guys like Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Chance Adams already getting Major League experience in 2018.
With guys like that in the fold and adding a solidified left-handed pitcher to compliment ace Luis Severino, the Yankees will put it all together come the 2021 season.
11 2021 NL Champion: Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are in a very good position right now. They are ahead of schedule as they are leading the National League East over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves have a superstar duo going on with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies leading for the youth side. On the veteran side, they have potential MVP candidate Freddie Freeman and All-Star Nick Markakis that have been productive all season long.
The Braves are very similar to the Brewers in the sense that some decent veteran starting pitching will bring them even closer to a National League pennant and World Series title. Look for the Braves to win the pennant in 2021.
10 2021 World Series Champion: New York Yankees
Experience beats youth more often than not and that will be the case come the 2021 World Series. The Yankees will face off against the Braves in a battle of former 1990s perennial contenders.
The Yankees will simply have two much pitching with guys like Severino and Tanaka in the fold.
You also know that the Yankees will add more starters by this time. The power numbers with Stanton and Aaron Judge will be too much for the Braves to overcome in a four out of seven game series. The Yankees will be lifting up their 28th World Series trophy after the 2021 World Series is concluded.
9 2022 AL Champion: Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are the team of the future. Why might this be said do you ask? Well, the White Sox have an absolutely loaded farm system. The White Sox may have one of the worst records in the AL this year. But when the 2022 season comes around, watch out!
The White Sox have the third best minor league system in the MLB and already have guys like Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada that are getting Major League experience at young ages.
They also have pitchers such as Dylan Cease and Dane Dunning that are top 100 prospects and will be up soon. When teams like the Red Sox, Astros, and Indians eventually fade, the White Sox will be ready to take over the league like they did in 2005.
8 2022 NL Champion: Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are a cellar type of team in the National League Central. They have too much fire power to have to deal with in the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers ahead of them. But, Reds fans have a lot to be excited about in the near future. The Reds have the eighth best farm system in the MLB and fourth best in the National League alone. They have Nick Senzel who is the number seven overall prospect in the game right now. They also have guys like pitcher Hunter Greene and outfielder Taylor Trammell ready to produce at the big league level soon. Watch out for the Reds when the 2022 regular season comes around.
7 2022 World Series Champion: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox and the Reds would be a very unorthodox and very interesting World Series matchup. Both teams have a very bright future ahead of them that can make for exciting baseball when the time comes. This also would be a World Series that would potentially come down to a game seven. Overall, when it comes down to it, the White Sox will be the ones taking home the crown.
The trio of Kopech, Cease, and Dunning in a few years can be very devastating to any lineup they face. Especially in a game seven when everything is on the line, you have to like taking the White Sox.
6 2023 AL Champion: Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays were at the top of the AL East not too long ago. They have gone back to being a lower tier team in their division, but the times could be looking a lot better in the future. John Gibbons will not be back as manager for the Toronto Blue Jays next year which is a definite plus for the organization.
The Blue Jays also have two of the best prospects that are in the minor leagues right now in Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.
They have tremendous upside offensively and could be similar to Acuna and Albies in Atlanta or Betts and Martinez in Boston. Look for the Blue Jays to be amazing in 2023.
5 2023 NL Champion: San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are in a division where they are trying to knock off the likes of the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Rockies. The Padres have not had a lot of luck with free agent signings recently. But, they could be getting very lucky with their Minor League system.
They have the number one overall Minor League system with guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. along with McKenzie Gore and Anderson Espinoza in the mix as well. The Padres could very well be on their way to years of success as soon as 2023 hits. The Padres have a good chance of winning the National League in 2023 if their prospects pan out.
4 2023 World Series Champion: San Diego Padres
The Padres and the Blue Jays would be another one of those World Series matchups that you could just never see happening. But, with both of their Minor League systems being in the top 10 in the entire league, they both could find themselves right in the thick of things in the World Series. The Padres look like they would be able to come just out on top.
The Padres have a ton of pitching in their farm system along with arguably the best shortstop prospect in baseball with Tatis Jr. there. If both him and Eric Hosmer can lead the charge hitting, the Padres easily come out winning it all.
3 2024 AL Champion: Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are in an interesting position. They are over .500 and playing very well in the second half of the season. They have a bullpen day for pitchers which other teams are not doing and Kevin Cash is getting the Rays in the right direction. The Rays also have the fourth highest Minor League system in the MLB.
They have three of the top 25 prospects in all of baseball, with two of them being pitchers.
The Rays could use some more pitching before they are considered serious contenders again, as well as a big bat to replace Evan Longoria's presence. The Rays can be a legitimate threat when October of the 2024 season approaches.
2 2024 NL Champion: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies were right with the Atlanta Braves for a good part of the 2018 season. It looks like the Braves will be running away with the division when all is said and done and the Phillies are looking at fighting for a wild card spot. The Phillies do have some pieces in place with Rhys Hoskins and pitchers Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta at the front of the rotation. They also have the fifth highest Minor League system in the MLB with guys like J.P. Crawford and Mickey Moniak as part of their prospects list.
Philadelphia could find themselves in the 2024 World Series if their prospects develop and they add one pitcher to their thriving roster.
1 2024 World Series Champion: Philadelphia Phillies
In a battle between the Rays and Phillies, a rematch of the 2008 World Series, the Phillies win this one as well. The Rays do have an interesting dynamic going on with Kevin Cash and have a legitimate ace now in Blake Snell. But the Phillies have so much more fire power. Nola and Arrieta will be tough for the Rays to beat and they will certainly pitch two games each in the World Series. Their prospects will be ready to go and the Phillies will find themselves on top of the baseball world again, while the Rays will have to wait another year to win their first ever World Series.