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MLB Predictions: The Lineups and Rotations of the Next 10 World Series Teams

Matt TruebloodSenior Analyst IDecember 7, 2016

MLB Predictions: The Lineups and Rotations of the Next 10 World Series Teams

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    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.

2012 National League Champions: Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Phillies are getting old fast, and they haven't exactly set themselves up well for the long term over the past few seasons. To the contrary, they have strived to win every year by signing or otherwise acquiring whomever it took.

    Unfortunately, with each successive season since they won the Series in 2008, they have fallen farther short of that goal. 

    There is some chance that GM Ruben Amaro will choose a more moderate course this winter, planning a bit for the long term. It says here, though, that he will give it one more college try with the core the team has in place, and this time, it will work.

    Batting Order

    1. Shane Victorino, CF
    2. Chase Utley, 2B
    3. Hunter Pence, RF
    4. Ryan Howard, 1B
    5. Jimmy Rollins, SS
    6. Domonic Brown, LF
    7. Placido Polanco, 3B
    8. Carlos Ruiz, C

    Starting Rotation

    1. Roy Halladay
    2. Cliff Lee
    3. Cole Hamels 
    4. Roy Oswalt
    5. Vance Worley 

2012 American League Champions: Boston Red Sox

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    Don't look now, but the Red Sox are, you know, still an amazing team. They will return all the important components of that juggernaut offense they built in 2011, and the pitching staff can hardly help but get get healthier and deeper.

    Red Sox Nation may be given to overreaction and hysteria, but the men who lead the organization are not. David Ortiz will return. John Lackey will figure things out at the back end of the rotation. Boston will improve itself this winter and be back in 2012.

    Batting Order

    1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
    2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
    3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
    4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
    5. David Ortiz, DH 
    6. Carl Crawford, LF
    7. Ryan Kalish, RF
    8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
    9. Jose Iglesias, SS

    Starting Rotation

    1. CC Sabathia
    2. Jon Lester
    3. Josh Beckett
    4. Clay Buchholz
    5. John Lackey 

2013 National League Champions: Atlanta Braves

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    That ugly September collapse was actually the best thing for the Braves in the long run. They have holes, the kind of holes that tend not to get filled if a team's fans and executives are too satisfied with the ending of their season.

    They also have a dozen or so sensationally talented young hurlers who were wearing down noticeably and needed the early reprieve.

    The Braves will make the necessary changes. Their guys will stay healthy and productive, for at least as long as pitchers usually do. And they will be in the World Series sooner than you think.

    Batting Order

    1. Michael Bourn, CF
    2. Jason Heyward, RF 
    3. Dan Uggla, 2B
    4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
    5. Brian McCann, C
    6. Carlos Quentin, LF
    7. Martin Prado, 3B
    8. Tyler Pastornicky, SS

    Starting Rotation 

    1. Julio Teheran
    2. Tommy Hanson
    3. Tim Hudson
    4. Randall Delgado
    5. Mike Minor 

2013 American League Champions: Texas Rangers

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    Yeah, the Rangers will be back, and soon. They will probably lose C.J. Wilson this winter, but it's hard to imagine they will not ably replace him. Depth oozes out of the Rangers' pores.

    If everyone could use 40 players all year instead of 25, the Rangers would be the best team in baseball by 15 games.

    Batting Order

    1. Ian Kinsler, LF
    2. Jurickson Profar, 2B
    3. Mike Olt, 1B
    4. Mike Napoli, C
    5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
    6. Nelson Cruz, RF
    7. Engel Beltre, CF
    8. Michael Young, DH
    9. Elvis Andrus, SS

    Starting Rotation

    1. Martin Perez
    2. Matt Cain
    3. Derek Holland
    4. Neil Ramirez
    5. Matt Harrison 

2014 National League Champions: Chicago Cubs

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    Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer should accelerate the process of turning around the Cubs. The solid building blocks are in place, but the team is more than one impact player away from winning it all.

    Pitching remains a problem even organizationally, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the team get aggressive in the free-agent market for arms over the next few years.

    Batting Order

    1. Brett Jackson, CF
    2. Starlin Castro, 3B
    3. Andre Ethier, RF
    4. Albert Pujols, 1B
    5. Matt Szczur, LF
    6. D.J. LeMahieu, 2B
    7. Weilington Castillo, C
    8. Darwin Barney, SS 

    Starting Rotation

    1. Zack Greinke
    2. Matt Garza 
    3. Edwin Jackson
    4. Trey McNutt
    5. Andrew Cashner 

2014 American League Champions: Tampa Bay Rays

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    It has felt like something of a rip-off the past two seasons when the Rangers and Rays have met in the ALDS. It should not be so.

    In a perfect world, these thrilling, brilliantly run teams would play for the World Series title every year. At the very least, they ought to play in the ALCS all the time.

    Tampa still has that Svengali contract that will keep Evan Longoria around. They are as deep a pitching club as the American league has seen in years. Money aside, no one does it as well as the Rays.

    Batting Order

    1. Desmond Jennings, CF
    2. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
    3. Evan Longoria, 3B
    4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
    5. Yonder Alonso, DH
    6. Matt Joyce, RF
    7. James Loney, 1B
    8. Robinson Chirinos, C
    9. Brandon Guyer, LF

    Starting Rotation

    1. Matt Moore
    2. David Price
    3. Jeremy Hellickson
    4. Chris Archer
    5. Alex Cobb 

2015 National League Champions: Washington Nationals

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    After a year or two of competing seriously in an increasingly tough division, the Nationals will get over the hump in 2015.

    The front-line talent that could be there for this team in four years is utterly ridiculous. They're probably going to win before the Cubs, come to think of it. Oh, well.

    Batting Order

    1. Danny Espinosa, SS
    2. Jayson Werth, LF
    3. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
    4. Bryce Harper, RF
    5. Anthony Rendon, 3B
    6. Wilson Ramos, C
    7. B.J. Upton, CF
    8. Ian Desmond, 2B

    Starting Rotation

    1. Stephen Strasburg
    2. Jordan Zimmermann
    3. Brad Peacock
    4. Matt Purke
    5. Anibal Sanchez 

2015 American League Champions: New York Yankees

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    Never count out New York, who will spend whatever it takes to overcome what are looking every day like dumber mistakes.

    They will make an opportune trade or two, shuffle some pieces, sign someone they have no business signing and muscle their way to the Series in 2015.

    Batting Order

    1. Brett Gardner, LF
    2. Matt Kemp, RF
    3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
    4. Robinson Cano, 2B
    5. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
    6. Jesus Montero, DH
    7. Stephen Drew, SS
    8. Austin Romine, C
    9. Slade Heathcott, CF

    Starting Rotation

    1. Tim Lincecum
    2. Gio Gonzalez
    3. Manny Banuelos
    4. Dellin Betances 
    5. Hector Noesi 

2016 National League Champions: San Diego Padres

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    The pieces are so well in place in San Diego that even after the Cubs steal two of their brightest front-office stars, the Padres should be stacked by 2016.

    Their pitching depth alone makes them formidable, even scary. In five years, though, they may also have some thump in the lineup, a first in PETCO Park history.

    Batting Order

    1. Cory Spangenberg, 2B
    2. Cameron Maybin, CF
    3. Donovan Tate, RF
    4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
    5. Jaff Decker, LF
    6. Chase Headley, 3B
    7. Nick Hundley, C
    8. Jace Peterson, SS

    Starting Rotation

    1. Mat Latos
    2. Casey Kelly
    3. Robbie Erlin
    4. Joe Wieland
    5. Joe Ross 

2016 American League Champions: Toronto Blue Jays

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    If you think Alex Anthopoulos has been fun to watch build a team so far, wait until you see him with money. The Blue Jays have very rich ownership, but that group has not always been willing to spend big on the team. That's changing.

    Anthopoulos has built a remarkable core here. He will need some time, but once he flushes it out, this roster will intimidate even the Red Sox and Yankees.

    Batting Order

    1. Yunel Escobar, 2B
    2. Colby Rasmus, LF
    3. Prince Fielder, 1B
    4. Jose Bautista, RF
    5. Brett Lawrie, 3B
    6. Adam Lind, DH
    7. Travis d'Arnaud, C
    8. Anthony Gose, CF
    9. Adeiny Hechevarria, SS

    Starting Rotation

    1. Yu Darvish
    2. Ricky Romero
    3. Deck McGuire
    4. Daniel Norris
    5. Asher Wojciechowski 

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