The 2020 Major League Baseball 60-game regular season has come to a close. Although the season was abbreviated, fans will be getting more than usual for this year’s MLB postseason. The field includes an expanded, 16-team playoff field, from the usual 10. The first round will also feature a best-of-three Wild Card Series in which the higher seed hosts all of the games. Here at CBS Sports, your MLB writers are here to share our bracket predictions for the entire 2020 postseason.
Katherine Acquavella’s bracket
Acquavella: Firstly, here’s hoping all players, coaching staffs, umpires and gameday employees start and finish the month-long postseason healthy. All I can confidently say about the 2020 MLB postseason is that it’ll be bittersweet. It honestly feels like things were just getting started when I realized it’s nearly October and that we only have ~30 days left of baseball this year. 60 games is just not enough regular season baseball for me, so I’m planning on cherishing every pitch of however many playoff games we’re going to be treated to this season. Now that I’ve gotten a little sentimental (it’s 2020, give me a pass), it’s onto the baseball.
If I’m really thinking about it now, the Yankees-Cleveland Wild Card Series could honestly be a toss-up. Possibly the same with White Sox-A’s or Cubs-Marlins. I think the Braves offense is going to break through against a tough Reds rotation. I don’t believe the Dodgers or Padres will run into any trouble with their first-round matchups. Then, when the two clubs face each other in the NLDS, it’ll feel like big brother (Dodgers) vs. little brother (Padres) vibes. The Padres are knocking on the door and certainly pose a serious division threat for the future, but I don’t see their time as happening just yet. I’m really hoping Cubs-Braves happens because that would be a fun series. And, I guess you could qualify my White Sox run to the ALCS as my Cinderella pick.
As much as I think the Rays need to improve their heckling efforts (cc: their horse stable shirts worn after clinching AL East in reference to when their GM hinted at relitation against the Yankees), the club is really good on the field. Offense, defense, rotation, bullpen … Tampa has very few definite weaknesses as they head into the postseason. Plus, they’ve got momentum on their side. I think that’s going to be more important than it is normally, given the shortened season and weird schedules. I think they’ll get by in the Wild Card Series before two tough series against their New York rivals and the young, upstart White Sox, all before falling to the Dodgers in the World Series.
I’m going with the Dodgers to win it all, and yes, they were/would have been my pick to win it all back before the spring when we thought we were in for a normal 162-game season. The Dodgers are the full package, and the Mookie Betts trade and subsequent contract extension was really the cherry on top. They’ve been unbelievably good even when they’re not playing at 100 percent. They haven’t shied away from the pressure. Instead, they’ve embraced it in this very strange season. It’s World Series or bust in L.A. and I think this is the time they’re going to break through.
R.J. Anderson’s bracket
Anderson: This is the same World Series pick I would’ve submitted in the spring and that I did submit in the summer. I stuck with it for consistency’s sake, though I do think it’s possible that the Yankees are upended along the way. The Dodgers, meanwhile, would seem likely to face their toughest competition in the second round, assuming the Padres can take care of the Cardinals. Of the two, I obviously feel better about the Dodgers. And why wouldn’t I based on their respective regular-season performances?
Mike Axisa’s bracket
Axisa: The short Wild Card Series could really throw a wrench into things, but in just about every series, I see a reason to clearly favor one team over the other. Cleveland’s rotation, San Diego’s offense and bullpen, so on and so forth. Aside from the Dodgers, I feel like the Twins are the most complete team in baseball right now. The Kenta Maeda-Jose Berrios-Michael Pineda rotation trio is no joke, and Rich Hill is a quality No. 4 option should they advance. The offense can bang (even though it didn’t for stretches of time this year) and the bullpen creates all sorts of matchup headaches. The Dodgers are a great team, but I’ll stop picking them to lose the World Series when they stop losing the World Series.
Dayn Perry’s bracket
Perry: The Twins are operating at full strength in the lineup and the rotation right now, and as such I think they have the strongest present roster of all the playoff teams. Over on the NL side, the two best teams — the Dodgers and Padres — wind up facing each other in the NLDS. I’m taking the Padres in an upset, but it’s basically a coin flip in a best-of-five series such as that. The strength of the Reds’ rotation front will carry them deep, as will the Rays’ overall roster depth. In the end, though, it’s the Twins power and starting pitching over the Padres.
Igor Mello’s bracket
Mello: You can make the argument that the two best teams in baseball reside in the NL West. The way the bracket shakes out for the Padres and Dodgers is unkind, so one of them will go home way too early in the Division Series. I’m rolling on some big upsets just based on the fluky results we’ve already seen from a 60-game sample in 2020. With this format, the field is kind of as wide open as it has been for a long time, so why not predict the first all-California World Series since 2002?
Stephen Pianovich’s bracket
Pianovich: Predicting anything in 2020 — especially a 16-team baseball tournament that begins with a best-of-three series — seems like an asinine endeavor. But I have not filled out a sports bracket in more than a year-and-a-half, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to complete this foolish exercise. The bizarre 2020 baseball season was a blend of the expected (Dodgers winning 43 games) and the unexpected (the Miami Marlins are in the playoffs and have the same seed as the Houston Astros), so for my bracket I went with a blend of picking from my head and my heart. That culminates with a World Series matchup between baseball’s Most Fun Team (and a franchise without a World Series ring) against a team that has 27 rings and just as many regular-season losses in an uninspiring 2020 campaign. My head says it will be time to party like it’s 1998. Sorry, heart.
Matt Snyder’s bracket
Snyder: So much of this is a crapshoot, so the picks were mostly for fun while still a strong attempt at accuracy. Some things that were on purpose:
- I felt like the Twins getting over the top against the Yankees (who have beaten the Twins in a ridiculous 13 straight playoff games) would be very fitting.
- I love the Reds in the first round, but the quick turnaround to the second round means their rotation gets a bit jumbled.
- The Cubs-Dodgers NLCS would be the third in the last five years and be a bit of a “rubber match” since each has won one so far.
- Ultimately, the Dodgers are by far the best team and you can’t go wrong with that pick. It’s time for it to finally happen with this group.
Danny Vietti’s bracket
Vietti: My preseason World Series matchup prediction was Yankees-Dodgers, and neither of those two clubs have given me enough reason to think otherwise. If the Yankees are healthy, they are the most lethal team in baseball. As for Los Angeles, what hasn’t already been said about the depth and talent they possess? Dodgers in 6.