After implementing an expanded postseason field for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the MLB playoffs returned to a 10-team format in 2021.
That means 20 teams were on the outside looking in when the regular season ended, and each of those teams is facing a different set of obstacles in breaking through to join that group of World Series contenders.
With that in mind, we've taken a closer look at the 20 teams that failed to clinch a postseason berth this year and given our best guess as to when they will in fact reach the playoffs again.
Current roster strength, prospect outlook and financial flexibility all factored into predicting how quickly each team could right the ship.
Baltimore Orioles: 2026
Beyond left-hander John Means, the current Orioles pitching staff is a total teardown after the team ranked last in the majors with a 5.84 ERA in 2021.
The eventual arrival of top prospects Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall will help, but it takes time to build a viable staff, and the Orioles are not the most attractive free-agent destination right now as the cellar-dweller in an ultra-competitive AL East.
It's going to get better, but getting over the postseason hump won't be easy.
Toronto Blue Jays: 2022
With 91 wins and a plus-183 run differential that ranked fifth-best in baseball, the Blue Jays were without a doubt the best team that failed to make the playoffs in 2021.
The offensive core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez, George Springer and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is controllable for multiple seasons, and there are more potential impact bats on the way with catcher Gabriel Moreno and infielders Jordan Groshans and Orelvis Martinez fronting the farm system.
The question is pitching, especially with AL Cy Young front-runner Robbie Ray headed for free agency. If they can find a way to lock him up long-term alongside Alek Manoah, Hyun Jin Ryu and Jose Berrios the rotation will be in good shape.
Cleveland Guardians: 2024
A team rebranding won't change the fact that the Cleveland front office is among the most tight-fisted in baseball, and third baseman Jose Ramirez could be the next superstar out the door if they can't come to terms on another team-friendly extension.
Luckily, they have one of the best player development teams in baseball, especially on the pitching side, where they continue to churn out impact arms. There's enough rising talent in the minors to believe this team can stay relevant on the strength of homegrown players, but they're still in the process of building back up right now.