World Series Position Player Primer
Breaking down a series as evenly matched as the 2017 Fall Classic is no easy task. However, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros set to kick off this year’s edition of the World Series on Tuesday night, we here at LOD wanted to bring a little World Series talk to satisfy your baseball appetite until tonight’s first pitch. Here is your 2017 World Series position player primer.
Catcher: Advantage Dodgers
I’m a true Austin Barnes believer. His defense is more than adequate behind the plate and he has a decent postseason with the bat in his hands, something none of the other catcher’s in this series can say. While part of me wants to lean towards the experience, Brian McCann just hasn’t done enough this postseason to give the Astros the advantage on the receiving end of the battery.
First Base: Advantage Dodgers
In the year of the rookie phenom we have two of them lining up at first base for our World Series teams. While one of those rookies is 33 and the other 27, both have the promise of being a staple in these organizations for years to come. With that being said, the clear advantage goes to the NL rookie of the year front runner, Cody Bellinger, who has the ability to change any game with just one swing. Don’t sleep on Yuli Gurriel though, I could see him being one of those off the radar players that comes through with a huge World Series performance.
Second Base: Advantage Astros
Jose Altuve will finish in the top two in MVP voting this season and he has carried that MVP caliber play straight into the postseason with him. While he and his Astros teammates were outscored in their ALCS series with the New York Yankees, he still has 16 hits in 40 at bats this postseason with five home runs. Altuve is the best position player in this series and, outside of Mike Trout, is in the argument for best player in baseball.
Third Base: Advantage Dodgers
I am one of the biggest Alex Bregman believers you will find that does not live in Houston, but the 23 year old seems to still be adjusting to postseason baseball. Oh yeah, and Justin Turner has played out of his mind this year. After posting an OPS+ of 149 in his first all-star season, Turner has racked up 12 hits in 8 games this postseason while winning the NLCS MVP award with Chris Taylor.
Shortstop: Advantage Dodgers
This was perhaps the hardest position to pick as Corey Seager is back on the roster after missing the NLCS with a back issue. It’s scary to think that the Dodgers just got even better after that performance against the Chicago Cubs, but they did. Seager and Carlos Correa are two young, former first round picks who put up similar numbers defensively at baseball’s premiere position. Correa is coming off of a good ALCS, but Seager is one of those rare players who seems to always get a hit, or steal a base, or draw a walk whenever you need it. Correa is amazing, but Seager is hard to edge.
Left Field: Advantage Astros
Marwin Gonzalez is not having a good postseason whatsoever. But, as long as the Dodgers keep trotting Curtis Granderson out to left field, the Astros will have an advantage pretty much regardless of who they pencil into the lineup. Gonzalez did have a very good regular season and will look to get on track tonight and contribute the Astros offense, something he has yet to do very much this postseason.
Center Field: Advantage Astros
This one could be a coin flip. Right behind shortstop, it was the hardest one to pick. Chris Taylor shared the NLCS MVP award with Turner this postseason and he is really making a name for himself in these playoffs. In terms of defense, both he and George Springer are pretty evenly matched and they have both put up relatively similar numbers at the plate so far this postseason. Taylor has the hot hand right now, but his eight meaningful games in October may not be a good representation of what he brings to the plate in the World Series. That’s not to say that Springer’s 11 game sample size is any more convincing, but I think Springer has a better chance to bounce back from a rough seven game ALCS than Taylor has to maintain his momentum off a five game NLCS hot streak. You can’t go wrong with either guy here.
Right Field: Advantage Dodgers
Josh Reddick logged just one hit in the ALCS, not the time to go into a slump, and now he is talking about how bad he wants to beat the Dodgers to stick it to their fans. Meanwhile, Yasiel Puig is stealing the show, for better or worse, with leg kick takes and bat licks. Despite how you feel about these two players outside of the lines, there is a clear advantage for the Dodgers here. Puig plays a very good right field with arguably the strongest outfield arm in the league and he has been unbelievable at the plate this postseason posting an OPS over 1.1 in both of their series so far.
The position players are just half the battle. We all know that pitching is king in the playoffs, but there is no arguing that these are two very dynamic offenses that will be hard to stop. These are undoubtedly the two best teams in baseball that we are going to get to see square off in this fall classic.
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