Off the top of your head, see if you can name the teams that won the World Series every year of the last decade. You ready? No peeking. The answers are, of course:
2010: Giants over Rangers
2011: Cardinals over Rangers
2012: Giants over Tigers
2013: Red Sox over Cardinals
2014: Giants over Royals
2015: Royals over Mets
2016: Cubs over Indians
2017: Astros over Dodgers
2018: Red Sox over Dodgers
2019: Nationals over Astros
You knew that. That was easy! But today, as we enter the next decade, we assign ourselves a considerably more difficult quest. Let’s see if we can predict the World Series winners for every year of the next decade.
This is a horrible task we have put upon ourselves, and we already regret it. Please do not show us how wrong we were in 10 years; we will claim that someone else wrote it.
2020: Yankees over Braves
In case you were wondering how the Yankees handle missing a World Series for a whole decade, you should know: They go a little nuts! The signing of Gerrit Cole to a whopping nine-year contract, nearly unprecedented for a starting pitcher, bakes in some down years on the back half of the contract, a further sign they plan on winning the whole thing next season, 11 years since their last title. Here’s betting the combination of that power and that rotation and that stud ace and that bullpen is enough to push them over the top, pleasing Yankees fans for at least a couple of weeks before they want their 29th title. In the National League, the bet is that the Braves finally overcome their October blues long enough to be vanquished in a rematch of both the 1996 and '99 World Series.
2021: Yankees over Padres
Speaking of late-90s World Series rematches … The Yankees attempt to re-create their ‘90s dynasty by actually beating all the teams they beat back then: They took out Tony Gwynn's Padres in 1998. It is a very real possibility that the Yankees' best player in '21 is Gleyber Torres. Is this his Derek Jeter year when he becomes a national star? The Padres have a budding shortstop superstar of their own in Fernando Tatis Jr., who just might be an MVP by this point.
2022: Dodgers over Angels
The Dodgers have to do it at some point, don’t they? By this point, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger may be leading them, and Clayton Kershaw will be the grizzled vet finally having his big postseason moment. By the way, congratulations to Mike Trout, whose team has finally become good enough around him to succeed in the postseason. Wouldn’t a Fall Classic be truly amazing if it had Trout in it?
2023: Braves over White Sox
The Braves, despite all their postseason appearances, haven’t won a World Series since 1995, but they barely sneak under the 30-year drought mark with the first championship for Ronald Acuña Jr., one of those players whose talents are so abundant that his career will feel incomplete if he never gets one. By this point, he should be surrounded with pitching, and his contract, if you can believe this, runs through 2026. The White Sox may well be dominating the AL Central by this point: All their young talent is going to mature and grow old together.
2024: Blue Jays over Dodgers
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be 25 years old in October 2024, right in his prime, and all his fellow “Juniors” -- Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio -- will be ready to take over the AL East. (Until the Yankees reload again.) The Dodgers are as likely as any team in the NL, and maybe in baseball, to be competitive every year of this decade. As a frame of reference, by the way: 2024 is the first season the Tigers won’t be paying Miguel Cabrera.
2025: Marlins over Angels
The Marlins randomly winning a World Series out of nowhere, particularly the year that a 34-year-old Trout has his best chance to finally grab a title, just seems like something that would happen, doesn’t it?
2026: Red Sox over Mets
You didn’t think we’d go a whole decade without the Red Sox winning the World Series, did you? What is this, the ‘90s? (Or the ‘80s. Or the '70s. Or the '60s. Or … well, you get it.) The Red Sox juggernaut might be taking a step back in 2020, but one shouldn’t expect that to last too much longer, and '26 seems like as good a target as any. Meanwhile, the Mets may have as many questions about what they’ll be like in '26 as any team in baseball, but the potential of this franchise has always been apparent and obvious, and it seems likely that Pete Alonso will still be around mashing dingers at this point. And a 40-year anniversary of that classic 1986 World Series seems perfect, doesn’t it?
2027: Indians over Brewers
Perhaps it is the holiday spirit taking us over, but the idea of a World Series between the team with the longest championship drought in the AL and the team with the longest championship drought in the NL is irresistible. It’s nearly impossible to guess who will be on these rosters by 2027, but both clubs are run by smart people who seem likely to still be in place in eight years. Which is as good a starting point as any.
2028: Cubs over A’s
The Cubs should be well into their next run of contention by 2028, and the A’s, well, the A’s will probably be competing with the big dogs just like they are now. Thought experiment: How many players currently playing for the Cubs will be on the team in 2028? Anybody? For context, Anthony Rizzo made his Cubs debut eight years ago, so it’s possible one of their current guys will still be around. Javier Báez, who turned 27 in December, seems like the best bet.
2029: Cardinals over Orioles
It is not known how long the Orioles’ long-term plan is supposed to take, but 10 years from now seems a conservative estimate, no? Catcher Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2019 MLB Draft, will be a crusty old vet at this point! (We can confirm that Chris Davis’ contract will have, in fact, expired by then.) If the Cardinals do not make the World Series this decade, by the way, it will be their longest drought since 1946-64.