We are in the home stretch of the MLB season and we know which teams are making vacation plans but not nearly as certain as knowing which will be in the postseason parade. Below we will not only give our divisions winners and wild card predictions but take it one step further and deliver the 2021 World Series matchup as well. Without further ado, let’s peer into our crystal ball and reveal which city will be the home of champions this year.
AL East Division Winner: Tampa Bay Rays – Despite winning the division by seven games in last year’s truncated 60-game season, the preseason MLB lines showed the Yankees as the favorite to win the AL East. But the Rays have proven the pundits wrong and will, in all likelihood, claim another divisional crown and play host to the winner of the wild card game due to its No. 1 seed in the American League. At this point, the 2020 World Series runner-ups are the team to beat in the junior circuit.
AL Central Division Winner: Chicago White Sox – You don’t need a crystal ball to know that the White Sox are the best in class in a division devoid of it. But while getting to the postseason is a fait accompli, there is a potential landmine waiting for the Southsiders if they don’t cop a better record than their first-round AL West foes because the White Sox are the best home team in the majors but a sub .500 club on the highway. If Chicago has to take their act on the road in the opening round of the playoffs, then they could very well be one and done.
AL West Division Winner: Houston Astros – Houston has been an AL powerhouse for several years now and this year is no different. Once again their pitching is above average while their hitting is tops in the majors, vis a vis batting average, and on-base percentage. Houston has all the pieces to the puzzle and it is not surprising that it is the Astros, and not the Rays, that are the favorite at +200 to win the AL pennant.
AL Wild Card Winners: New York Yankees & Toronto Blue Jays
NL East Division Winner: Atlanta Braves – The Braves have several big boppers in their lineup with Ozzie Albies, Freddy Freeman, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, and perhaps even Ronald Acuna Jr. all having at least 30 homers at season’s end. They are tough on opposing pitching and trail only the Blue Jays in the home run category but their own pitching is middling-at-best and is the chink in this team’s armor.
And despite not having an insurmountable division lead, they are the only team in the NL East with a favorable +/- run differential which tells the tale of why they will be division champs while their rivals will be on the outside looking in on the postseason.
NL Central Division Winner: Milwaukee Brewers – Set it and forget it, the Brewers have exceeded all expectations this season after a year in which they were below .500. There is no team in the majors with as daunting a division lead with just three weeks remaining in the regular season. Milwaukee currently has seven hitters with double-digit home runs and could end with as many as a dozen before the curtain closes on the 2021 regular season.
NL West Division Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers – The cream always rises to the top and despite San Francisco’s stunning Cinderella season and current 2 ½ game lead, we are still convinced that the Dodgers will ultimately overtake them when the regular season comes to a close. There are no more series between these clubs but Los Angeles could have been in front had they performed better in the second half of the season against their fierce rivals from the Bay Area in which they went a dismal 3-7 over their 10 second half meetings.
Now if we look at Big Blue’s +/- differential we see that they have a league-leading +234 which tells us that they score plenty and don’t allow many. It will be a race to the wire but the Dodgers secure an NL West title while the Giants get the No. 1 wild card bid.
Wild Card Winners: San Francisco Giants & San Diego Padres
World Series Matchup: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – These teams met only twice this season, back towards the end of May where they split a two-game set. However, we see them facing off for all the marbles in October where the Dodgers’ superior pitching will win the day. Let’s face it, any team facing Los Angeles in the postseason will be up against the Fab Four of Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buhler, and Julio Urias.
Imagine if Trevor Bauer, currently on administrative throughout the remainder of the season, had been in the mix? They say pitching wins championships, and if that is indeed the case then strike up the band for another Dodgers World Series banner.