Tuesday, September 29, 2020

MLB Playoff Rankings 2020


This shortened  season has thrown me off. Even though I knew the season was in it's final week, I never even thought about getting my annual playoff ranking post done. Next thing you know, I'm reading about teams clinching and the light bulb goes off. I'm starting this post 6 days before the craziest postseason in baseball history begins, and there is still so much left unsettled. Even heading into the final day of the season, there was so much left undecided that I had little choice but to finish this at the last possible second! Yikes. Let's get on with it.

Who I'll Be Rooting For:

The Red Sox were awful this year, and will not be participating in the postseason. Outside of my team, I usually will root for whichever team has gone the longest without a Championship. There are, of course, exceptions based on current rosters, special circumstances and my own gut feelings. 

1. Cleveland Indians (AL Wild Card/4th seed -  71 year drought)

1967 Laughlin World Series #45 1948 Braves vs Indians
Coming from a fandom that had to wait 86 year between championships, I tend to put a little extra weight based on how long the team has gone without a title. The Indians top the list with their last Championship happening in 1948. Their Top 3 starters are very good, and in those early short series that may be enough to take them on an extended run.
Prediction: Lose to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Series

2. San Diego Padres (NL West 2nd Place Team/4th Seed - 51 year drought)

2020 Topps #15 Manny Being Manny

The Padres are one of 3 postseason teams, along with the Brewers and Rays, who have never won a World Series. They have an exciting young team led by a pair of MVP candidates in Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado. These guys are my official "Cinderella story" pick and I think they'll go deep.
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the World Series

3. Milwaukee Brewers (NL Wild Card/8th Seed - 51 year drought)

2020 Topps #27 Milwaukee Brewers (TC)
Like their expansion year partners in San Diego, it's been a long 51 years without a title in Milwaukee. I don't think they'll get past the Dodgers, but if a 3-game Wild Card Series is going to produce any crazy upsets, this might be the match-up to watch.
Prediction: Lose to the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card Series

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champions/1st Seed - 31 year drought)

1989 Fleer - World Series #12 Dodger Blue World Champs

I'm not going to lie: I'm not ready to see Mookie lead the Dodgers to a World Series yet. It would sting, like an ex-girlfriend getting married to a guy you genuinely liked. The Dodgers have been so good for so long, and they absolutely deserve a title. I just can't watch it happen this soon after the breakup.
Prediction: Lose to the Padres in the NL Division Series

5. Minnesota Twins (AL Central Champions/3rd Seed - 28 year drought)

1988 Fleer World Series #8 Kirby Puckett

I want to like the Twins, I really do. The problem is that they always seem to face the Yankees in the postseason, and the Yankees own them. I'd have an easier time rooting for them if I knew they weren't going to let New York just waltz through to the next round. 
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the AL Championship Series

6. Atlanta Braves (NL East Champions/2nd Seed - 24 year drought)

1996 Collector's Choice
#395 Tom Glavine (WS)

Given all the trouble they've had this year with their rotation, I'm honestly surprised to see them as the No. 2 seed in the National League. I have a feeling that if the Braves make a deep run, it'll be because  Freddie Freeman will have the kind of postseason that will significantly boost his case for the Hall of Fame.
Prediction: Lose to the Reds in the NL Wild Card Series

7. Oakland Athletics (AL West Champions/2nd Seed - 30 year drought)

1990 Score #708 World Series Game 4 (WS)

The Astros left the AL West wide open after losing their heavyweight 1-2 punch of Cole and Verlander, and the Athletics took full advantage of it. They will need their bullpen to dominate if they want to have a chance.
Prediction: Lose to the Twins in the AL Division Series

8. Cincinnati Reds (NL Wild Card/ 7th Seed - 29 year drought)

1991 Score
#795 Barry Larkin/Chris Sabo (WS)
There must be something about Ohio pitching, because the Reds' Top 3 starters are almost as good as Cleveland's. Heck, just Bauer and Castillo might be enough to take them all the way. This may be Joey Votto's best chance to add a ring to his amazing career.
Prediction: Lose to the Padres in the NL Championship Series

9. Chicago Cubs (NL Central Champions/3rd Seed - 3 year drought)

2017 Topps Mini On Demand #206 Chicago Cubs (WS)
I could probably swap the two Chicago teams here, but I'm giving the edge to the Cubs because of my fondness for Jon Lester and David Ross. 
Prediction: Lose to the Marlins in the NL Wild Card Series

10. Chicago White Sox (AL 2nd Place Team/7th Seed - 14 year drought)

2005 Topps Updates & Highlights
#UH134 White Sox Sweep (WS)
The AL equivalent to the Padres, I think they are maybe a year or two away from being a powerhouse. Lots of young talent here, and they'll be fun to watch for years to come.
Prediction: Lose to the Athletics in the AL Wild Card Series

11. "Buffalo" Blue Jays (AL Wild Card/ 8th Seed - 26 year drought)

1993 Score #521 Dave Winfield (WS)

The Yankees and Rays will still be competitive for awhile, and that was hard enough for the Red Sox in the division. Having yet another team to deal with isn't ideal. That being said...If this postseason wasn't being played in a bubble and there was a chance of watching playoff baseball in Buffalo, I'd be rooting for the  Blue Jays hard core. 
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the AL Wild Card Series.

12. St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central 2nd Place Team/5th Seed - 8 year drought)

2012 Topps Heritage
#148 St. Louis Cardinals (WS, HL)

This is the last team on the list that I have no legitimate reason to root against. They've won already in the past decade, so they can sit towards the bottom of my list.
Prediction: Lose to the Padres in the NL Wild Card Series

13. Tampa Bay Rays (AL East Champions/1st Seed - 22 year drought)

2020 Topps #501 Tampa Bay Rays (TC)
The Rays just flat out annoy me. It annoys me that they have no obvious strengths or weaknesses, but consistently compete to a point where you can't say they're playing over their heads. It annoys me that they never seem to make bad moves. They are the mosquitoes of Major League Baseball. You swat at them and they just keep buzzing in your ear. The way this postseason is set up, I think that they're going to annoy me with a World Series Championship too.
Prediction: Win the World Series

14. Houston Astros (AL West 2nd Place Team/6th Seed - 2 year drought)

2018 Topps Heritage
#169 Astros Celebrate Their Victory (WS)

There's still a few players on the team I like, but outside of that they sure have lost a lot of their luster haven't they? Not having Cole or Verlander makes them a lot less of a threat.
Prediction: Lose to the Twins in the AL Wild Card Series.

15. Miami Marlins (NL East 2nd Place Team/6th Seed - 16 year drought)

2004 Topps
#732 World Series Game 6 (WS)
Rooting for the Marlins is rooting for Derek Jeter. As a Red Sox fan, that's not allowed. 
Prediction: Lose to the Reds in the NL Division Series

16. New York Yankees (AL East 2nd Place Team/5th Seed - not a long enough drought)

2010 Topps - History of the World Series
#HWS25 Yankees

This team was built to mash at Yankee Stadium. That reason alone is enough for me to support the isolated bubble destinations for the playoffs. Here's hoping for a quick exit!
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the AL Division Series
Just to recap my predictions:

Wild Card Series

AL match-ups
Rays over Blue Jays
Athletics over White Sox
Twins over Astros
Yankees over Indians

NL match-ups
Dodgers over Brewers
Reds over Braves
Marlins over Cubs
Padres over Cardinals

Division Series

AL match-ups
Rays over Yankees
Twins over Athletics
NL match-ups
Padres over Dodgers
Reds over Marlins 

Championship Series

AL match-up
Rays over Twins

NL match-up
Padres over Reds

World Series
Rays over Padres

Want to make your own predictions and wins some cards in the process? Collector's Crack is holding his 10th Annual Almost The Easiest World Series Contest! All you have to do is predict who wins, and you could end up with some great cards!



  1. Braves over Rays in 6. I want tickets that that WS, lol.

  2. "Lose to the Padres in the NL Division Series"?

    Now THAT stings.

  3. I haven't watched a single game this year. I've made this comment before but really, whoever winds the series did it without the grind of a full season. Is there a real winner this year? It's certainly not the fans. Perhaps if the Dodgers win, it will less the sting of 2017. I would definitely root for the Indians but - still not a full season for bragging rights.

  4. What night owl said. Other than that, I like this post. I think it's actually a miracle MLB got to the postseason but I'm so glad they did.

    And thank you for joining my MLB Postseason Bracket Challenge contest on TCDB. We got 30 entrants, which should provide a bit of fun for the next four weeks. Good luck to you!

  5. If my Cubs aren't up to the challenge (and I don't think they are), I'd like to see the Twins, Indians, Rays, or Padres win it all. I honestly have no idea who will win it, but I'll just say the Dodgers.

  6. Personal rankings...

    1. Oakland A's
    2. San Diego Padres
    15. Los Angeles Dodgers
    16. New York Yankees