MLB: The 5 teams with the biggest hump to get over in 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 18: New York Yankee general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media during the New York Yankees press conference to introduce Gerrit Cole at Yankee Stadium on December 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 18: New York Yankee general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media during the New York Yankees press conference to introduce Gerrit Cole at Yankee Stadium on December 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Let’s take a look at the five MLB teams that still have to get over that hump and win a World Series.

Each season, a handful of MLB teams garner enough talent and depth to feel that they are “supposed to” win the World Series and hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the year. However, we all know that only one team earns that right each year— leaving the rest disappointed and hungry for next season.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers finally getting over their hump in 2020, let’s take a look at which teams still have high expectations for a ring without having obtained one in recent memory.

5. The Oakland A’s

From 2012 to 2019, the A’s have managed to finish the season with over 93 wins a total of four times (and they were on pace for a fifth during the shortened 2020 season). This included back-to-back 97 win seasons in 2018 and 2019. What do they have to show for it? Early exits.

Even though the A’s managed to break their streak of losing nine straight elimination games in the postseason this year, any true fan would tell you that is not enough.

With a wide range of fairly young talent, the A’s will surely be a team to look out for in 2021. This past season, a California team broke their 30+ year World Series drought— the A’s would love to make lightning strike twice in a row in the Golden State.

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4. The Cleveland Indians

Who better to make this list than the team with the longest-running current World Series drought? Over in Cleveland, they seem to be up to their necks in elite pitching. They managed to trade away two of their front-of-the-rotation guys and not skip a beat on the mound. With reigning Cy Young winner Shane Bieber poised to take his place as a perennial All-Star, the Indians window for success can stay open— but not for too long.

It is no secret that the Indians plan on trading premier shortstop Francisco Lindor this offseason— which highlights a key challenge for the Tribe. They have struggled to keep high-priced talent in Cleveland.

It will be interesting to see if the front office caves in and pays the hefty price for some of their elite talent. Whether that happens soon or not, Indians fans are surely growing impatient. They were a rain-delay away from winning the World Series in 2016, giving the fans a taste of the feeling without the follow-through.

Will the Indians finish the job in 2021 and win their first World Series since 1948? Time and front-office commitments will tell.

3. The Minnesota Twins

A disappointing sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros brought the Minnesota Twins’ MLB playoff losing streak to a whopping 18 games this past season. In what was easily one of the most humiliating ways to be eliminated last season, the Twins face an unusually long offseason in preparation for 2021.

Amidst that offseason, the Twins face a bit of an identity crisis. The team that shattered home run records the season before with their explosive offense only managed to score one run per game against Houston.

With the seemingly ageless slugger Nelson Cruz now a free agent, and third-basemen Josh Donaldson not getting any younger, the Twins may be relying on their younger guys to get the job done in the coming seasons. It’s no cause for panic (yet), but the Twins need to shore up their pitching staff if they truly want to get over their playoff woes.

Look for a potentially active off-season from the Twins, and maybe they’ll be able to break the abysmal playoff losing streak that they are now all too familiar with.

2. The New York Yankees

Let’s face it— the Yankees have been at the top of everyone’s World Series prediction lists for the past few seasons, and haven’t managed to win a pennant in any of them. Fans can only say “27 Rings” for so long before they start to wonder if the 28th will come any time soon.

With a monster payroll and an embarrassment of talent riches in the Bronx, many continue to scratch their heads as to why the Yankees have not even seen the World Series since 2009. For the first time since the 1980s, the Yankees went a decade without a World Series ring. Even in the 80s, they made it there.

Yankees fans demand success— as they should with a roster this loaded. The only reason they are not #1 on this list is that they still have more rings than anyone else to coast on. The hump is growing in New York as rapidly as memories fade of the 2009 title-winners. Brett Gardner continues to creep towards his retirement, at which time no Yankee will be left from that 2009 team.

The Bronx Bombers desperately need a title in 2021, despite having so many in the past. It is as if we can feel the impatience of their fans growing with every month.

  1. The Atlanta Braves

The Braves and the Yankees were basically interchangeable on this list. I went with the team who has less to fall-back on. Perhaps no MLB team has more young talent than Atlanta does. With Freddie Freeman winning a very deserved MVP award in 2020, Braves fans can be happy, but not happy enough.

This team managed to secure its premiere talent for cheaper than anyone else is able to recently. Acuña, Albies, and Freeman form a talented core that are all on team-friendly contracts. With a farm system that is still rich in prospects, the Braves seem to be set for a long time. So why is their hump the largest one to get over?

The answer, much like the logic for the Yankees being in 2nd place, is the past. Braves fans surely remember their “Team of the 90s” that only managed one World Series title in that decade. Fans surely do not want a repeat— they want more than one. Again, they should— a team this loaded should win a few at least. However, with every first-inning explosion in key playoff games, fans of Atlanta grow more and more uneasy.

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The Braves are another team that we should expect to have a busy MLB offseason— they need pitching. If they manage to fork over the cash that’s necessary for high-level pitchers, then this list just may have a new #1 at this point next year.