MLB 2020: Local and National Experts Make Their Postseason and World Series Predictions

Jesse Pantuosco
July 21, 2020 - 8:01 pm

Sometimes you just have to enjoy the view. A month ago, amid labor tension and the threat of COVID-19, it looked like we may not have an MLB season. It’s still debatable whether we should be having one or how long this current one will last. In the age of the coronavirus, nothing is certain. But after four harrowing months, baseball is back and boy does it feel right.

It won’t be what we’re used to. How could it be with a July 23 Opening Day followed by a fun-size 60-game regular-season slate, not to mention the players who have opted out (David Price and Buster Posey, to name a couple) or are still feeling the effects of COVID (Aroldis Chapman). But weird—an apt adjective for baseball’s current state of affairs with empty stadiums, a homeless Toronto Blue Jays team and gimmicky extra-inning rules—is all we’re getting this year, and I think we’d all agree that’s better than the alternative. So let the chaos begin!

I can think of no better way to ring in the belated, corona-shortened 2020 MLB season than by giving the floor to my RADIO.COM colleagues for their playoff and World Series predictions. Our team, comprised of five national leads (that includes myself, Jordan Cohn, John Healy, Tim Kelly and Dan Mennella) and 20 writers representing our various RDC markets, seems to like the Dodgers’ chances (10 had them tasting champagne) with the Yankees (seven) a close second in that department. The Indians, Rays and Twins also got some World Series love from our writers (two nominations each) while only Brandon Scott of SportsRadio 610 went full heel by picking Houston. Overall, 23 of MLB’s 30 clubs—all but Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle—garnered at least one playoff nod from our panel.

I've said my piece. Let's get to the picks, shall we?

*Denotes Wild Card teams

Tom Ackerman, KMOX

American League: Yankees, Twins, Athletics, *Rays, *Angels

National League: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Nationals, *Reds

World Series: Yankees over Braves

The Braves were a strong team last season that fell apart at the wrong time, squandering two chances to knock out St. Louis before being overwhelmed at home in the deciding Game 5. This time around, Atlanta’s exciting young players are a year older and the time seems right for them to do damage in a 60-game regular season. But the Yankees are loaded. Not only are they talented at just about every position, but they’re finally healthy. After going more than a decade without a title, this is the year they get it done in the Bronx.

Knox Bardeen, 92.9 The Game

American League: Rays, Twins, Astros, *Yankees, *Athletics

National League: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Mets, *Padres

World Series: Rays over Dodgers

Who knows what to expect with baseball in 2020. I believe pitching will be more important and potentially dominant than ever, especially since we’ve seen many pitchers ahead of hitters throughout Spring Training 2.0. And by the time hitters catch up, half the season may already be in the books. Give me the Rays, a team with a top-five rotation and bullpen (the only team that can boast that, in my opinion), over the Dodgers, who have depth everywhere and also boast a top-ten rotation and bullpen.

Blake Snell pumps his fist after making an out at home plate
Photo credit Julio Aguilar, Getty Images

Mike Bormann, 92.3 The Fan

American League: Rays, Indians, Athletics, *Yankees, *Twins

National League Winners: Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers, *Padres, *Braves

World Series: Indians over Dodgers

It just makes too much sense that the Tribe would end a 72-year title drought with a World Series met by skepticism due to the truncated, 60-game season.

Rob Bradford, WEEI

American League: Yankees, Twins, Athletics, *Astros, *Rays

National League: Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, *Diamondbacks, *Cardinals

World Series: Twins over Phillies

The Twins' lineup mashes their way through the postseason before Minnesota finds pitching lightning in a bottle thanks to Jose Berrios and Rich Hill (yes, that Rich Hill).

Will Burchfield, 97.1 The Ticket

American League: Yankees, Indians, Astros, *Red Sox, *Angels

National League: Braves, Reds, Dodgers, *Brewers, *Nationals

World Series: Yankees over Reds

The Reds have quietly loaded up with a stacked rotation and a deep lineup. But they reach the end of the road against a team with more talent and the most power in baseball. I’ll take Gleyber Torres as my World Series MVP.

DJ LeMahieu bumps fists with Aaron Judge
Photo credit Mike Stobe, Getty Images

Karl Buscheck, 95.7 The Game

American League: Yankees, Indians, Astros, *Athletics, *Rays

National League: Braves, Reds, Dodgers, *Nationals, *Marlins

World Series: Dodgers over Rays

Dodgers over Yankees makes too much sense. But baseball never makes sense and it certainly won’t in an unprecedented 60-game sprint. L.A. has been too good for too long not to figure it out. Amid a shortened schedule, the Dodgers will bulldoze their way to a title.And, yes, I picked the lowly Marlins to sneak in as an NL Wild Card. With only a 60-game slate, you can bet something weird is going to happen.

Josh Clark, 105.3 The Fan

American League: Yankees, Twins, Athletics, *Astros, *Rays

National League: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Nationals, *Cubs

World Series: Dodgers over Yankees

Asterisk or not, the Dodgers finally get to celebrate a championship thanks to a strong lineup and the 1-2 punch of Walker Buehler (yes, I listed him first for a reason) and Clayton Kershaw.

Jordan Cohn, RADIO.COM

AL Playoffs: Yankees, Twins, Astros, *Rays, *Angels

NL Playoffs: Braves, Reds, Dodgers, *Phillies, *Nationals

World Series: Twins over Dodgers

The Twins got better offensively (adding Josh Donaldson), defensively (also with Donaldson, allowing fielding liability Miguel Sano to play elsewhere on the diamond), improved their pitching staff by trading for Kenta Maeda and play in the league’s weakest division. And the Dodgers are the Dodgers.

Miguel Sano looks skyward after slugging a home run at Yankee Stadium
Photo credit Elsa, Getty Images

Lou DiPietro, WFAN

American League: Yankees, Twins, Astros, *Rays, *Indians

National League: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Phillies, *Reds

World Series: Dodgers over Yankees

Injuries always cause chaos and COVID-19 will make things even more hectic this summer. But in a 60-game sprint, pitching is going to be the difference and the 10 teams I picked have the deepest rotations and bullpens as currently constructed. Come the playoffs, anything can happen. What I do think will, though, is that the Yankees will finally overcome the Astros and make it back to the World Series, but just like in ‘03 when they vanquished Boston, there may not be enough left to overcome another hot, deep team trying to end a 32-year title drought.

Dan Edwards, WCCO 

American League: Yankees, Twins, Astros, *Rays, *Indians

National League: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, *Phillies, *Reds

World Series: Dodgers over Twins

While the Twins will finally break their Yankees playoff curse, the stacked Dodgers will prove too much for them in the Fall Classic.

Chris Emma, 670 The Score

American League: Yankees, Twins, Athletics, *White Sox, *Rangers

National League: Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, *Reds, *Phillies

World Series: Dodgers over Yankees

There's far less disparity in a shortened season, but the Dodgers will ultimately reign supreme. They're the most complete team in baseball and will prove it as World Series champions.

Max Muncy celebrates with Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger
Photo credit Harry How, Getty Images

Jack Fritz, WIP

American League: Rays, Twins, Athletics, *Yankees, *Astros

National League: Nationals, Reds, Dodgers, *Braves, *Cardinals

World Series: Rays over Dodgers

It would be so 2020 for a season without fans to have the Rays, a team that doesn't have fans to begin with, win the World Series. Regardless, they’re one of the deepest teams in baseball and have arguably the game's best bullpen. They’ll ride those strengths to a World Series title in 2020. 

John Healy, RADIO.COM

American League: Yankees, White Sox, Athletics, *Rays, *Astros

National League: Braves, Reds, Dodgers, *Phillies, *Padres

World Series: Dodgers over Yankees

While I think the 60-game season could allow for a shakeup with some unexpected division winners and Wild Card berths, the best clubs will emerge once the playoffs start, which leaves us with the sport’s two deepest teams, the Dodgers and Yankees. New York and Los Angeles have made some deep October runs of late, but keep falling short. Both made marked improvements this offseason—the Yankees by adding Gerrit Cole and the Dodgers by acquiring Mookie Betts from Boston.

These teams are so evenly matched, picking a winner is almost impossible. I’ll give a slight nod to the Dodgers. They’ve knocked on the door so many times in recent years, that in this crazy, abbreviated season, I think L.A. will finally break through.

Bonta Hill, 95.7 The Game

American League: Rays, Indians, Astros, *Athletics, *Yankees

National League: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Phillies, *Diamondbacks

World Series: Athletics over Braves

2020 has been a weird year and this 60-game sprint of a season will be no different. We may see multiple guys bat over .400 and I’m here for it. But enough with the blather. In the end, it’ll be the A’s dropkicking their way to the playoffs, where they will eventually face a young, loaded Braves squad in the Fall Classic. Yes, the Dodgers will again find a way to barf in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t be able to overcome their wounds and the Astros won’t have enough access to video monitors and whistles to redeem themselves from the shame they’ve caused.

I predict the A’s will parade down Broadway in front of nobody (due to COVID) after outlasting Atlanta in six games. Oakland will be partying like it’s 1989 after this wacky season in what has surely been the wackiest year of all of our collective lives.

Marcus Semien bumps elbows with teammate Matt Olson
Photo credit Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

Jason Huber, WFNZ

American League: Yankees, Indians, Angels, *Rays, *Twins

National League: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, *Mets, *Cubs

World Series: Dodgers over Rays

With the addition of Mookie Betts, the star-studded Dodgers claim their first World Series since 1988. The Rays make a run as a Wild-Card team behind their elite starting rotation, but after a decade of playoff letdowns, 2020 will be the year L.A. finally gets over the hump.

Jason Keidel, WFAN

American League: Yankees, Indians, Astros, *Rays, *Twins

National League: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Padres, *Mets

World Series: Dodgers over Yankees

Nothing could revive a season mutilated by the pandemic like these baseball behemoths squaring off in the Fall Classic. The Dodgers have reached the playoffs seven straight years, including two World Series over the last three seasons. They have to break through sometime and bag their first World Series since 1988. The loss of former staff ace Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery) could hurt the Yankees during their postseason run. And now that David Price has shattered his image as a playoff choke artist with his dazzling run in 2018, including two wins and 1.98 ERA in the World Series, perhaps it’s time for teammate Clayton Kershaw to conquer his own October demons. The Yanks have won eight of their 11 World Series against the Dodgers. This time, the team born in Brooklyn edges the Bronx Bombers.

Tim Kelly, RADIO.COM

American League: Rays, Indians, Astros, *Yankees, *Twins

National League: Braves, Reds, Dodgers, *Cardinals, *Phillies

World Series: Dodgers over Indians

After adding Mookie Betts, the Dodgers boast an unfathomably deep lineup. If it doesn't happen for them this year, maybe it's just not meant to be for Clayton Kershaw and Dave Roberts. The Indians won 93 games last season despite relative down years from Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. With both likely to bounce back (in perhaps their final season together) and an elite starting rotation, the Indians are flying under everyone's radar.

Chris Lingebach, 106.7 The Fan

American League: Yankees, White Sox, Astros, *Twins, *Rays

National League: Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, *Nationals, *Reds

World Series: Yankees over Dodgers

With the typical grind of 162 thrown out the window, this pandemic-shortened season favors the blue bloods … big time. You'd be hard-pressed to find a club with a deeper talent pool than the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will draw on their strong farm system for reinforcements come October to retool with fresh arms and dominate their opponents already gassed from the 60-game sprint. Look for the Dodgers (sigh) to make their third World Series appearance in four years. That's where they'll run into a buzz-saw in the New York Yankees.

Dan Mennella, RADIO.COM

American League: Rays, Indians, Astros, *Yankees, *Twins

National League: Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, *Reds, *Padres

World Series: Indians over Reds

Every managerial decision will have a greater impact in a shortened season. In this case, I'm going with one of the best in Terry Francona, who is a strong evaluator of talent and adept at putting his players in positions to succeed. His Cleveland team, which won 93 games after a sluggish start in 2019, once again looks to be a contender. Though maybe not as deep as juggernauts like the Dodgers and Yankees, the Indians also don’t have any glaring holes.

Francisco Lindor dumps a bucket of Gatorade on teammate Jose Ramirez after a walk-off hit
Photo credit Joe Robbins, Getty Images

Jesse Pantuosco, RADIO.COM

American League: Yankees, Twins, Astros, *Rays, *White Sox

National League: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Mets, *Reds

World Series: Dodgers over Rays

Something crazy is bound to happen in a shortened season, so let’s get nuts. Forget chalk—I’m going with the little team that could, the perennially underappreciated Tampa Bay Rays in all their low-budget glory, to win the AL pennant. We know pitching wins in October and only the Dodgers (who I have winning it all, conveniently enough) logged a lower team ERA than Tampa last season. The Rays’ bullpen-heavy approach with frequent “openers” can wear thin over 162 games, but I think the condensed schedule works to their advantage. After years of postseason heartbreak including Clayton Kershaw’s eighth-inning collapse against Washington last fall, I think the Dodgers, led by Cy Young hopeful Walker Buehler as well as former MVPs Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts, are finally ready to break through and pop that World Series champagne they’ve been dreaming of for so long.

Dan Plocher, 105.7 The Fan

American League: Yankees, Twins, Astros, *Indians, *Athletics

National League: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Nationals, *Brewers

World Series: Yankees over Dodgers

Those who spend the most tend to make the biggest impact. For the small-market fan, New York vs. L.A. won’t be ideal, but MLB stands to make the most money (in a year where the league has lost billions in revenue) with the two largest markets squaring off in the Fall Classic. It will be a tight series between two extremely deep teams, but the Yankees have a tad more offensive firepower and a better bullpen, which should be enough to crown them 2020 World Champs.

Kyle Powell, WGR Sports Radio 550

American League: Yankees, Twins, Angels, *White Sox, *Blue Jays

National League: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers, *Reds, *Phillies

World Series: Yankees over Nationals

The Bronx Bombers should be able to withstand any randomness a 60-game schedule could throw their way and handily earn New York the right to represent the American League in the 2020 World Series. I don’t see it being much of a battle come playoff time.

As for the National League, I am here for dogfights all around. Heck, I’m already drooling over a potential playoff arms race between Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin of the Nationals and Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray of the Reds. I have the defending champs raising another National League pennant, but falling just short of a repeat at the hands of New York’s "Evil Empire.” Yankees in six.

Brandon Scott, SportsRadio 610

American League: Yankees, Twins, Astros, *Athletics, *Rays

National League: Phillies, Reds, Dodgers, *Brewers, *Nationals

World Series: Astros over Dodgers

The Astros have the most dangerous lineup in the American League and the top of their rotation is elite. Reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander recently changed his mechanics to make his delivery smoother and he looked like vintage Verlander during the team’s summer camp. The Dodgers have been the National League’s best team for three years running and that should continue in 2020. But they don't have the pitching to match up with Houston in a seven-game series.

George Springer celebrates Jose Altuve's series-clinching home run against the Yankees
Photo credit Tim Warner, Getty Images

Cody Westerlund, 670 The Score

American League: Yankees, Indians, Astros, *Rays, *Twins

National League: Nationals, Reds, Dodgers, *Braves, *Padres

World Series: Yankees over Dodgers

Bullpens are going to be more important than ever in a shortened season. The Yankees have arguably the best pen in baseball, which they'll pair with a new ace in Gerrit Cole and a deep lineup to bring a title back to the Bronx.

Jonathan Zaslow, 790 The Ticket

American League: Rays, White Sox, Athletics, *Yankees, *Twins

National League: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, *Cardinals, *Mets

World Series: Yankees over Braves

The Braves will win the East for a third straight season as their young arms will carry them in a shortened season. While the sprint to 60 games won’t be enough time for New York to catch Tampa in a tough division race, the Bombers’ elite offense will be the difference in October.

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