The World Series gets started tomorrow in Kaufman Stadium as the Kansas City Royals host the New York Mets. I thought we should go position by position and see who looks to have the edge. It’s a 2-3-2 game format; so do you think it’s important for the Mets to take 1 of the first 2 games in Kansas City? Let’s try to break things down.
1st Base Eric Hosmer for the Royals against Lucas Duda for the Mets. Hosmer is hitting just .222 in the post season, but he is the team leader in RBI’s with 11. Duda is also having his issues at the plate hitting just .214 with 1 home run and 6 RBI’s this post season. So if your picking between 2 players who aren’t hitting well it should come down to defense. While Duda has turned into a solid fielding 1st baseman Hosmer is Gold Glove caliber at 1st; so while it’s a close decision it’s Hosmer.
2nd Base Ben Zobrist has taken over as the everyday 2nd baseman for the Royals. Before the playoffs Zobrist was a super utility guy. He’s hitting well this post season .326 with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s. He also plays above average at 2nd. Zobrist would probably be the pick over any other post season 2nd baseman, but the guy playing 2nd for the Mets is Daniel Murphy. Murphy is leading his team in home runs with 7; he’s homered in 6 straight games he’s also leading te Mets in RBI’s with 11 and he’s hitting .426. While Zobrist’s number are good Murphy’s are great; so even though there’s no guarantee he’ll stay as hot as he was the choice is Murphy
Shortstop Alcides Escobar is the Royals leader in batting average at .386. He has 17 hits this post season 2 of which are triples. There was some crazy stat about how well he is hitting the very first pitch of the game as he’s leading off for Kansas City as well. Wilmer Flores took over at shortstop for the Mets after Ruben Tejada was injured. Flores is hitting .292 over his 24 post season at bats. Flores is a better power hitter than Escobar, but Esobar is one of the better defensive shortstops in the American League. Escobar is another player will have to see how the time off effects and he’s the choice at shortstop.
3rd Base Mike Moustakas is the Royals player who has the lowest batting average this post season (.167) he does have 1 home run and has driven in 5 runs even with a poor batting average. David Wright is hitting exactly the same as Moustakas is .167 and has struck out 12 times in 30 post season at bats, but has walked 9 times. It’s another situation where the players are both struggling; so we look to defense to try and make a choice. Moustakas has improved defensively at 3rd, but Wright is still a better defender at the hot corner; so let’s take Wright.
Left Field Alex Gordon is hitting .250 with 3 doubles 1 home run, but just 3 RBI’s. That could be a case of the guys in front of him are driving everyone in or is he not coming through in the clutch. He is the best defensive outfielder in this series though. Will the Mets stick with the platoon of Micheal Cuddyer who has 1 hit in 8 post season at bats and Micheal Conforto who has 1 hit in 15 post season at bats. Either way the Mets go the Royals have the advantage here; so the choice is Gordon.
Center Field Lorenzo Cain may still be one of the most underrated players in baseball even though we’ve seen him the last 2 post seasons. His base running alone put the Royals in the World Series. He’s hitting .275 with a home run and 7 RBI’s; plus 2 stolen bases. Yoenis Cespedes has had a solid post season a .265 average with 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s, but he hasn’t had those flashes of brilliance we saw in the regular season. He had a shoulder issue and received a cortizone shot; so we’ll have to keep an eye on that. This may be the toughest choice of them all and you really could take either guy, but I’m going to go with Cain.
Right Field Alex Rios just goes about his business at the bottom of the Royals order. He’s hitting .333 with 2 doubles a home run and 5 RBI’s. Not bad at all for your #9 hitter. While Rios has been a bit of a surprise Curtis Granderson has been very good for the Mets. Granderson is hitting .303 this season and has driven in 7 RBI’s as the Mets lead off hitter. Granderson is the tam leader in stolen bases with 4 and may be the only stolen base threat on the Mets. They’re comparable defensively as well. Granderson is the choice here.
Designated Hitter This is really an unfair position as the Royals have Kendrys Morales who DH’s all season while the Mets will just use one in the American League ballpark. Morales is hitting .268; is tied for the team lead in home runs with 4 and has 10 RBI’s this post season. He’ll be a very big loss to the Royals when he’s out of the line up when the games move to New York. If I had to guess I’m thinking Cuddyer is going to fill the DH role for the Mets. Cuddyer has some experience in the American League and has DH’d before, but no matter who fills the role for the Mets when the DH is used it;s advantage Morales.
Catcher While Salvador Perez is struggling at the plate hitting just .194 he does have 4 home runs and we all know any hitting he does is just a bonus for Kansas City. Travis D’Arnaud isn’t hitting much better for the Mets. A .206 batting average, but he; showing some power as well with 3 post season home runs. Perez has thrown out 1 base stealer this post season, but D’Arnaud hasn’t thrown out anyone. It’s a pretty even choice here, but I think you have to go with the experience and go with Perez.
Starting Pitching It’s Edison Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young as the listed starters for the Royals while the Mets have Matt Harvey, Jacob deGroom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz listed as there starters. This was an easier choice than I thought it was going to be. The Royals will run out a veteran staff while the Mets stick with there up and coming rotation. The Royals starters have been a little hot and cold while the Mets have been much more consistent. I really think that starting pitching is going to be the deciding factor in this series. If the Royals starting rotation can have good outings and hang with the Mets young stud starters it would really give the Royals an advantage. Either way when it’s rotation versus rotation the Mets have a big advantage.
Set Up Men Even with Greg Holland out the Royals still have the bullpen down to a science. Kelvin Herrera leads to Ryan Madson or Luke Hochevar who leads to the closer. It got them to the World Series last season and can shorten games to 6 or even in some cases 5 innings. It’s a very good system and Bed Yost knows how to use it. Tyler Clippard has always been a great set up guy, but has struggled this post season. Luckily for the Mets they have starters Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon added to the post season bullpen. If Addison Reed can get some big outs and Hansel Robles gets some outs the Mets bullpen might be able to hang with the Royals. Sadly that’s a lot of if’s for the Mets and you have to go with the Royals in the bullpen.
Closer Wade Davis has 10 strikeouts and 3 walks over 6 2/3rd post season innings. Jeurys Familia has 6 strikeouts and 2 walks over 9 2/3rd post season innings. Davis is 3 for 3 in save opportunities and has a win. Familia is 5 for 5 in save opportunities. Davis has been in 5 games while Familia has pitched in 8 games. Davis has given up 3 hits while Familia has given up 3 and by the way neither pitcher has given up a run. Both pitchers have proven they can get more than 3 outs to record a save. Have you made a choice yet? I think I’m leaning a little towards Davis, but not by much and if you picked Familia I can see how you came to that decision.
Series I’m picking Kansas City to win the title in 6 or 7 games.
Let me know what yoou think on Twitter @Burketime