It seems that baseball domination has been stagnant among a few teams since the 1994 strike. The New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and Boston Red Sox have all had their fair share of consistent success and playoff domination. Without the boundaries of a salary cap that every other professional sports league has, it becomes difficult for small market teams to emerge into success. Even with small market teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics being successful, the large markets of New York and Boston continue to dominate.
Yet with large crops of prospects and a few big signings, other teams can get back into the mix to become league-wide powers, teams that possess the skill to dominate for a generation. Some teams, such as the Cardinals and Red Sox, maintain the fair balance of prospects and big league success, whereas others are on their way.
With this, I will look at the top three teams that are set to take the MLB by storm in five years, and how they will be able to achieve long term success.
After a World Series appearance in 2005, all luck and success for the Astros went quickly downhill. And while the talent at the big league level is rather slim, the hopes of young players is quite plentiful. Some of the future does reside at the big league level, utilizing the talents that are found in Jose Altuve, Jason Castro and George Springer. It is the minor league talent, however, that is expected to carry the recently futile Astros franchise into a period of long term success. With the likes of Delino DeShields, Carlos Correa and Mark Appel, the Astros are building an entire lineup that can create a competitor. A lineup with power, speed, and solid pitching. While they will need to spend a little, the Astros can be carried if their prospects hit their respective ceilings.
Futility may be reality for the Houston Astros, but the Chicago Cubs have had 106 years and counting of not having a world championship. With the weight that is borne on Chicago’s shoulders, building up a strong farm and eventually a competitive big league team are needed to hold on to the city’s overall support. Since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over in the Cubs’ front office, that has been the primary focus. Drafting highly touted prospects such as power hitting shortstop Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and five tool phenom Albert Almora, the Cubs have gained a collection of very skilled hitting prospects. Add that on to the addition of Cuban defect Jorge Soler, and the Cubs have perhaps the best collection of hitting prospects in the minors. Shall the North Siders spend big on pitching, they will begin to mature into a perennially competitive team.
With two World Series titles in franchise history, both of them coming within the last 106 years (sorry Cubs), the Twins are perhaps the least historically futile out of these three teams. After being a perennial playoff team throughout the 2000’s, the Twins are building up a farm system to take back the AL Central. While the Twins haven’t had what the Astros and Cubs have had with ridiculously high draft picks, the Twins have built up a very impressive farm system. Having the number one prospect in all of baseball in Byron Buxton, the Twins have an expected star to build around. While there’s a delay in the growth of third baseman Miguel Sano,due to injury, the Twins possess an equal balance of veterans and prospects to perhaps knock down the Detroit Tigers from the top of the AL Central quite soon.
Thank you for reading, and make sure to comment on who you believe will take the MLB by storm very soon.