As much as it pains me to say it, the baseball season is officially winding down. November will bring free agency, baseball’s MVP award (Altuve) and turkey with football. But until the end of October, and possibly a day into the next month, we can enjoy two teams battling for a trophy. In the world of hypothetical fantasy baseball, we have an intriguing matchup between two teams with a World Series drought. The Houston Astros, fresh off the first American League Championship in the team’s history, headed to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in the World Series.
Starting Pitchers: Two of baseball’s most well-known pitchers, Justin Verlander of the Astros and Clayton Kershaw for Los Angeles, highlight the starters. With an ALCS MVP to add to the trophy case, Justin Verlander proved that he is as much of his 2011 self as he possibly could be. He has been quite-literally unbeatable with the Astros. He was 5-0 in five games for Houston in the regular season. In the postseason, he has four wins in as many appearances. The win can be a deceiving stat, but Verlander deserves almost all of his, despite the one he earned as a reliever in Boston.
Infielders: As proven in the first two rounds, Jose Altuve is the best second basemen in baseball and should, without a doubt, be the MVP of the American League. Despite the disclaimer that the postseason doesn’t count towards regular season awards, Altuve definitely hasn’t hurt his brand. He batted .533 against Boston and .320 against New York with five home runs in 11 games. On the other hand, Cody Bellinger, who batted .318 in the five game series against Chicago, is another young player who will have a huge impact on the series. Big names tend to shine on big stages, and I think LA’s first name will have the biggest impact of all.
Outfielders: For the Dodgers, I think two outfielders will play two totally separate roles. Did you know Chris Taylor batted .458 in the NLCS? Neither did most people, as his performance flew under the radar of most casual fans. Taylor will continue to play a good defensive center field and hit for a good average for the Dodgers, and maybe even put a couple of home runs out. Despite winning the NLCS MVP, Taylor did not earn the coverage that the theatrical Yasiel Puig did. The Cuban native’s performance has been nothing to scoff at; Puig batted .455 in the sweep of Arizona and .389 in five games against the Cubs. Puig will continue to lead the Dodgers on the field and on the camera. For the Astros, centerfielder George Springer will headline. Springer was quiet in the series with the Yankees, but batted .412 with three extra-base hits in the ALDS against Boston. Expect Springer to jump out of his funk in the World Series.
Bullpen: I’ll keep this short and sweet. No offense to Ken Giles or Chris Devenski, but nobody stacks up to Kenley Jansen. A former catcher, Jansen posted a regular-season ERA of 1.32 with 41 saves, which led the National League. He has not allowed a run in 7 games this postseason.