Pickard’s 2020 MLB Postseason Predictions

It’s finally here. 119 days after its originally scheduled date, MLB’s Opening Day has arrived. While the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc (and continues to impact communities around the country), baseball is set to re-open with safety protocols in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

But enough about safety protocols. While important, those have been discussed thoroughly for the last two months. Let’s switch things up and focus on which teams could go the distance in 2020.

Listed below are the teams predicted to make the playoffs. They are given a ranking based on how likely they are to win the World Series (one is “no chance” and 10 is “a lock”) as well as an explanation to back up their case. At the bottom of the story, the matchup scenarios are laid out with quick predictions for each one.


American League Seeding

No. 1: New York Yankees

The Yankees were already an exciting team, but they could be even more thrilling now that they’ve added Gerrit Cole. This season, pitching and health will be the biggest keys for New York. While they will surely struggle with injuries again, which will cost them a handful of games, they should be able to attain the best record in baseball.

World Series chance: 6

No. 2: Minnesota Twins

2020 is a season where pitching will set teams apart, but the Twins may challenge that. They have a decent pitching staff, but their offense their real draw. The idea of Nelson Cruz going on an absolute tear should not be ruled out, and Luis Arraez is a top candidate for MVP. Keep an eye on the Twins this season.

World Series chance: 7

No. 3: Houston Astros

Many have speculated that the resolution of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal will push them out of the playoffs and back to .500. While that likely won’t happen, a regression can be expected after losing Gerrit Cole. Houston is a long shot to make the World Series this year, but they should retain the top spot in the AL West.

World Series chance: 3

No. 4: Tampa Bay Rays

Pitching, pitching, pitching. The Tampa Bay Rays’ arms are incredible. Tyler Glasnow should steal the show with a Cy Young-caliber season while the rest of the rotation follows suit. If the starters can continuously pitch six or seven-inning games, the Rays should find themselves in the playoffs with a legitimate shot to win this year’s World Series.

World Series chance: 4

No. 5: Los Angeles Angels

While the Oakland Athletics are another candidate for this spot, the much-hyped Angels just can’t be excluded. Anthony Rendon is in town, and Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are healthy. Andrelton Simmons is poised for a big year, Jo Adell‘s debut is in the near future, and the pitching staff was strengthened with various additions. The Angels should reverse their long-lasting woes in 2020.

World Series chance: 2

National League Seeding

No. 1: Los Angeles Dodgers

There’s not much to say here. The Dodgers are going to run away with 2020 and obliterate their opponents. In fact, open up the Dodgers’ depth chart, close your eyes, and point to a random name. Chances are, he’s an All-Star. You see what I mean?

World Series chance: 8

No. 2: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds might not be World Series favorites, but they should at least win their division. Manager David Bell showed promise in his rookie season last year, and the front office made various critical additions during the offseason. The Reds are a sleeper team in 2020 and should finish as the second or third seed out of the National League.

World Series chance: 5

No. 3: Atlanta Braves

The Braves suffered from a painful postseason exit last year and will be looking for revenge in 2020. Losing Josh Donaldson to the Twins hurt, but the Braves will likely secure the NL East title again this year and make a legitimate playoff run.

World Series chance: 6

No. 4: Chicago Cubs

Despite falling to the Reds for the top seed in the NL Central, the Cubs will secure a Wild Card spot in hopes of pulling off a Nationals-esque playoff run. Chicago’s pitching staff is concerning, but the offense is poised for a huge season. Perhaps power and pop will be enough to launch the Cubs into a deep playoff run.

World Series chance: 4

No. 5: Arizona Diamondbacks

The fifth seed is up for grabs with the Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, and Milwaukee Brewers among the teams set to compete for it. Arizona lost Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke last year, but they bounced back this offseason by adding Madison Bumgarner and Starling Marte. Watch out for the D-backs as a sleeper team this year.

World Series chance: 2


Wild Card Round

Angels vs. Rays | Rays win series 1-0

The Rays’ pitching is top-notch. Despite Los Angeles’s incredible lineup, pitching is crucial in the playoffs and Tampa Bay will win handily.

Diamondbacks vs. Cubs | Cubs win series 1-0

The Cubs are the better team and the easy favorites to win here. Arizona’s playoff run will come to an abrupt halt.

Divisional Series

Rays vs. Yankees | Yankees win series 3-2

After facing each other 10 times in the regular season, the Rays and Yankees will use all five games in this series. The former will get eliminated, but not without putting up a legitimate fight.

Astros vs. Twins | Twins win series 3-0

The Astros aren’t bad, but they also aren’t the Astros of the last five years. The Twins will pull out the brooms and sweep Houston.

Cubs vs. Dodgers | Dodgers win series 3-0

Much like the Cubs silenced the Diamondbacks one round earlier, the Dodgers will leave their mark on the Cubs by sweeping them 3-0.

Braves vs. Reds | Braves win series 3-2

This series could take five games, but it will ultimately end up in the hands of the Braves, who are more proven and have more recent playoff success than the Reds.

Championship Series

Twins vs. Yankees | Twins win series 4-3

These two teams met in last year’s playoffs. This time around, the outcome will be different, with the Twins handling the Yankees and advancing to the World Series.

Braves vs. Dodgers | Dodgers win series 4-1

Outside of one stray win, the Braves will be silenced by the Dodgers in a series that will only require five games.

World Series

Twins vs. Dodgers | Dodgers win series 4-2

The ultimate test of depth and talent pits the Twins against the Dodgers. Minnesota will put up a strong fight, but the Dodgers will finally get the World Series win that has eluded them for years.

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