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The Major League Baseball season has reached it’s conclusion. In the season’s final showdown, the Houston Astros face off with the Washington Nationals in a World Series featuring two teams that are polar opposites.
The Astros, despite losing several key names due to injury, fought the entire American League to claim the best record in baseball. After barely fending off the Tampa Bay Rays in five games, they’d face the New York Yankees in six games to advance to their second World Series in three years.
Meanwhile, the Nationals started the season off horribly. Despite being over .500 early on, they looked like a team with no business making the playoffs. After a brilliant second half of the season, they would ride momentum past the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the fall classic.
As we’ve reached the World Series, let’s go position by position and see who comes out on top.
Neither catcher has looked impressive at the plate, both batting under .100 in over 20 at bats. However, Houston’s Robinson Chirinos also has a run batted in and a home run, giving him a slight edge.
First Baseman: Washington
Washington’s Howie Kendrick may be the one guy nobody saw breaking out in this playoff run. He’s been very reminiscent of Steve Pearce with the Boston Red Sox last year. He’ll be a player to watch easily, during and even after this series.
Second Baseman: Houston
Houston’s Jose Altuve is seemingly becoming the new face of October baseball. His home run against New York propelled the Astros to the World Series. Despite an injury early in the season, he has shown up and shown out for this Houston team.
Third Baseman (Key Matchup): Washington
Washington’s Anthony Rendon and Houston’s Alex Bregman are the two best players in this series. While Bregman has more home runs, Rendon has been more productive with a higher batting average and more RBI.
Houston’s Carlos Correa has been more of a boom or bust player than Washington’s Trea Turner. What gives him the edge is that his home runs and RBI have lead to more productivity for Correa.
Left Field: Washington
Washington’s Juan Soto has been another playoff hero. While Michael Brantley was here before with the Cleveland Indians in 2015, when a young man gets his first taste of success, they want more. Considering Soto’s been a hero, he’s going to revel in it for a while.
Center Field: Washington
Houston’s George Springer is not having the postseason that he’s used to. Meanwhile the combination of Victor Robles and Michael Taylor has been money for Washington. Sometimes having two people at one position is just as effective as having one.
Right Field: Washington
Adam Eaton is the veteran of this Nationals’ outfield and while probably the weakest link, he’s been decent. Josh Reddick hasn’t been bad but he’s always been a top tier player in October. This year, he’s been underwhelming.
Starting Pitching (Key Matchup): Washington
On paper, Houston’s starting rotation would seem like the most elite with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke but so far, only Cole has really been effective. All Washington starters from Max Scherzer to Anibal Sanchez have just been outstanding.
Too many good arms in the Washington bullpen. They also hold the advantage of not needing to use a reliever as an “opener” pitcher and pitching a bullpen game.
A.J. Hinch may be baseball’s best manager right now. While Dave Martinez has done a good job, this is also someone who would be fired at various points in the season. Even if you don’t hold that against him, Hinch has been here and done this.