The Texas Rangers are playing in the World Series for the second year in a row, and there may be another American League pennant or two in their near future.
The Series is not yet their birthright in the way it was to the New York Yankees of the late 1990s and early 2000s (or better yet, the Yankees of the 1940s and 1950s), but Texas is one of the elite organizations in baseball today, led by baseball's best GM, Jon Daniels.
They have a top-tier farm system, headlined by Jurickson Profar. They have Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando and a handful of other near-elite players under control into 2012 and beyond.
They have a TV contract that, beginning in 2014, will pay them $80 million per year and give them the wherewithal to spend with the big boys.
Yes, the future is bright in Texas, but a number of teams will be there every year to contend with the Rangers. Let's look at the next five years in MLB, and try to discern which teams will be the class of their respective leagues each year, as well as what they'll look like when they get there.