Which title drought will end next? Here's a ranking

November 2nd, 2019

Multiple championship droughts ended on Wednesday night in Houston, where the Nationals beat the Astros in Game 7 of the World Series.

That victory brought Washington, D.C., its first title since 1924, when the Senators beat the New York Giants, and the franchise its first since the Expos debuted in Montreal in 1969.

But there are many other fanbases out there yearning to feel the joy that Washington’s is experiencing now. Despite the fact that MLB hasn’t produced back-to-back champions since 2000 -- with 13 different teams claiming a trophy during that time -- that still leaves 17 clubs parched by a drought that extends back to at least the last expansion in 1998. Six of those 17 have never won it all, a group the Nats bid farewell to on Wednesday.

Which drought will end next? We ranked the top 10 of these clubs, in order of who appears closest to that long-sought championship. We put an asterisk next to teams that have never won a title.

1) Dodgers: 31 years (1989-2019)
The more postseason opportunities a team gets, the more likely it is to break through eventually. The Nationals suffered heartbreak four times in the National League Division Series between 2012-17 before things came together this year. There’s no guarantee that time will come for the Dodgers, but the franchise has a savvy front office, a strong core in place and more young talent arriving. They will be one of the favorites again in 2020.

2) Braves: 24 years (1996-2019)
This is a team that already has won two straight division titles, and features an enviable group of talented young players that includes Ronald Acuña Jr. (21 years old last season), Ozzie Albies (22), Mike Soroka (21) and Max Fried (25). Freddie Freeman and Co. should have more chances in the near future.

3) Twins: 28 years (1992-2019)
The future arrived in Minnesota this year, with 101 victories and a division title behind a mostly young team. More exciting prospects remain in the pipeline and could help the Twins finally slay the Yankees and reach the promised land again.

*4) Rays: 22 years (1998-2019)**
Their competition in their division is an impediment, but as the Rays showed in 2019, they have the talent and creativity to overcome that. MLB’s No.1 prospect, shortstop Wander Franco, is waiting in the wings to join Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and the rest of Tampa Bay’s young core.

*5) Padres: 51 years (1969-2019)**
This is an aggressive placement based on recent results, as San Diego lost 92 games in 2019 -- its ninth straight sub-.500 season. But the Padres have some elite pieces in place, a demonstrated willingness to be aggressive and MLB’s top-ranked farm system even after the graduation of rookie sensation Fernando Tatis Jr.

6) Athletics: 30 years (1990-2019)
The Billy Beane era has been marked by regular-season success -- even in the face of long odds -- and October disappointment that includes an AL Wild Card Game loss in each of the club's past three postseason trips. But, as we’ve seen time and time again in recent years, a club can’t win in the playoffs … until it suddenly does.

7) Mets: 33 years (1987-2019)
A club with a possible back-to-back NL Cy Young Award winner (Jacob deGrom) and a record-setting NL Rookie of the Year Award contender (Pete Alonso) isn’t exactly starting from square one. The Mets won 86 games even with plenty going wrong in 2019, and some savvier offseason moves could have them right back in the hunt. With a strong offseason, they could create a really solid short-term window to compete for a World Series crown.

8) Blue Jays: 26 years (1994-2019)
Did Toronto fans see the heart of its next title team arrive in 2019, with the debuts of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio? It’s hardly out of the question, but the front office will have to prove it can supplement those young players through free agency and the trade market.

9) Indians: 71 years (1949-2019)
Cleveland came agonizingly close in 2016, following that with two American League Division Series defeats and a 93-win campaign in ‘19 that still left it short of the postseason. The Tribe likely will contend again next year, but concerns about a closing window are intensifying, with Francisco Lindor’s name surfacing in trade rumors ahead of his penultimate year of club control.

*10) Brewers: 51 years (1969-2019)**
Aggressive trades and free-agent signings have led to two straight postseasons in Milwaukee. But while Christian Yelich gives the Brew Crew an MVP-caliber starting point, it’s fair to wonder whether they can continue putting enough talent around him. Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas are among the club’s key free agents this winter, and the farm system has one Top 100 prospect.

The rest (in alphabetical order): *Mariners, Orioles, Pirates, Rangers, Reds, *Rockies, Tigers

The clubs here all face an array of challenges, with some playing in extremely tough divisions with a current juggernaut (such as the Rangers and Orioles), while others are in the early stages of major rebuilds (Pirates, Tigers and Mariners). That said, it's not hard to foresee any one of them "jumping the line," so to speak. Just think: If you had asked a fan in 2010, "who will win a World Series first, the Dodgers or Royals," you probably would have gotten a lot of people saying Los Angeles.