So, after waiting 30 years to get back to a World Series, the Kansas City Royals made sure that kind of gap wouldn’t occur again by making it to back-to-back Fall Classics. For the New York Mets, its the first time this millennium (but not century) that they have been this far into October. It’s the battle of two young teams, and one that should be awesome.
So, how does The Wayniac see it going down?
Despite having a name that you can sing a fun little tune to (doo dah, doo dah), despite having a fun Instagram account, Hosmer has the edge over Duda. Hosmer — in my opinion — is the leader of this Royals squad. He hasn’t been the hottest hitter, but there is just something about Hosmer that screams leader to me. With a successful 2014 World Series in the books, Hosmer definitely has the slight edge over the hot-hitting Duda.
Here’s the main reason I like Hosmer over Duda. He slashed .310/.384/.501 against right handers this season. The Dark Knight, deGrom and Thor will be the first pitchers in the Mets rotation and they are all righties. All three gave up the bulk of their home runs this season to lefties. You can be sure that the Royals leader will be zoned in on them.
SECOND BASE: Ben Zobrist vs. Daniel Murphy
It’s rather unfair for Zobrist because he had a fantastic ALCS. He slashed .320/.370/.680 with two home runs and played the role of table setter nearly flawlessly with Escobar. But….
Murphy is in a zone like no other. He comes into the World Series behind his record setting streak of six consecutive games with a home run. These aren’t ordinary home runs either, they are big-time, WOW, exclamation point home runs (and he could have actually had a few more along the way that nearly missed).
While everyone has been so taken back by the home run streak, they look over the fact that in the NLCS he added on five more hits (an average of 2.25 hits a game) for a .529/.556/1.294 slash line. Murphy isn’t simply a boom-or-bust guy right now, he is the Mets offense.
SHORTSTOP: Alcides Escobar vs. Wilmer Flores
We all know by now that Wilmer Flores wouldn’t be starting if it weren’t for a dirty slide by Chase Utley. But Flores — the 24-year old who was once the prize of the Mets’ infield future — has filled in remarkably well. Thrust into full-time action, Flores responded by hitting .292/.370/.458 in the NLDS and NLCS. Flores has pop in that bat, belting 16 home runs this season but…
Escobar is coming off an ALCS MVP performance. He is the little engine that makes the Royals freight train go. This team is predicated on getting on base, stealing bases and scoring runs, and Escobar sets the tone from the lead of spot. He now posts an impressive .330/.348/.468 slash line over the past two post seasons, so the bright lights of October don’t rattle him. He is the exact type of hitter to chip away at the Mets stud pitching and start a rally.
THIRD BASE: Mike Moustakas vs. David Wright
Last October, Moose got into a power groove that helped propel the Royals to the final game of the season. He hasn’t found that magical post season stroke yet, and I don’t know that the Mets’ pitching staff is going to be the rotation to find it against.
Here’s the thing. Wright isn’t tearing the cover off the ball, but he turned it around in the NLCS, posting a .444 OBP. The 32-year old Captain America knows that he is lucky to be on the baseball field, and with his injury history (he hasn’t played close to a full season in four of the past five years), he knows every game could be his last. Wright is still searching for his first post season home run this year… I wouldn’t be surprised if it came in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game.
OUTFIELD: Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, and Alex Rios vs. Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto (starring Juan Lagares
I love this matchup because it features two players that should merit many MVP votes in their respective leagues.
While Hosmer is the leader of this bunch, Cain is without question their best player. He had a monster post season last year and has been pretty solid this season. He leads an outfield of scrappy players that know their role. Draw walks, get hits, and get on base. The Royals three outfielders posted a .423 (Cain), .368 (Rios) and .333 (Gordon) OBP and scored nine of the Royals 38 runs in the ALCS (24%).
Rios is actually the x-factor for the Royals to me. I love how this guy has transformed his game to become a hitter, instead of the once boom-or-bust player he was in his youth. Just two years ago, it seemed like he was always concerned about living up to the 30/30 hype and tried so hard, but he has put the long-ball behind him and has become much better at getting on base and stealing bases.
The Mets have a tremendous advantage in that they are four deep in the outfield. Cespedes changed the entire culture of this team and could seriously be the first guy to win the NL MVP in two months of play. The Mets went from one of the worst offenses in the game to a run scoring machine when he came over from Detroit. He has made everyone in the lineup better.
This is a tough category, because there really are quality players up and down. Granderson had a hot NLDS, but fell off a cliff in the NLCS, will he bounce back? And this Conforto kid, man. Don’t forget he was drafted in June of 2014. Not even two years of professional ball experience and he is in the World Series. Those are the kind of kids that become legends this time of year, aren’t they?
To be fair to Kansas City, they have a quality top three and Young can still surprisingly throw a hell of a game every now and then. But the Mets young guns in their rotation are second to none.
I truly believe that the Mets have the best rotation in baseball and at this juncture of the season, it can’t really be argued. They stayed afloat the entire season with an anemic offense, and once August and Cespedes came around, they were able to get more comfortable with run support. The fact that deGrom is the elder statesman in the post season rotation at a whopping 27-years of age and they allowed six runs over 25 NLCS innings is remarkable, considering none have even sniffed anything close to playoff experience. Throw in the experience of baseball’s fattest star — Bartolo Colon — as the long man to bail them out and this team is tough to beat.
BULLPEN: Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and crew vs. Jeurys Familia, Tyler Clippard and crew
Familia. Where did this guy come from? 43 saves, a 1.85 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP during the regular season? And then he pitches a Mariano Rivera-esque performance in the NLCS, appearing in all four games, not allowing a run and registering three saves. That’s a force to be reckoned with.
But I don’t that it is enough to take the edge over the playoff experience of Davis and Herrera. Neither allowed a run in the ALCS. Most impressive was how Davis closed out the ALCS.
Davis allowed a lead-off single to Russell Martin and then pinch runner Dalton Pompey steals second and third. He walked Kevin Pillar and had runners on the corners. Strikeout, strikeout, and a groundout later, the Royals are heading back to their second consecutive World Series. That’s composure, folks.
The key will be the lefties out of the Royals pen with a right-handed heavy rotation and how they handle the right handed bats, especially those of Murphy and Cespedes.
Well, that’s three edges to the Mets and three edges to the Royals with one tie. That doesn’t help much, does it?
This is the first World Series with two post-1960 expansion teams in it. It is the first World Series void of any of the Original 16 franchises. Whatever happens, we are in for a great show.
The Mets rotation is sick, but they have to run out of gas, right? Matz, Syndergaard and Harvey have never pitched this late into a season. And can Murphy really keep up those heroics? It seems impossible.
The Royals? They are sure and steady. Boring? Maybe, but over the past two seasons they have proven to be winners. That’s why I think they take home the title this season. I am not even going to try to project the amount of games this thing goes, because this post season has been anything but predictable.
Hopefully, this World Series is just as exciting as last year’s seven game thriller. And hopefully, The Chevy Guy can keep his composure.