A few of us decided to be fools and put our predictions for the playoffs out there. And some of us got a little more in depth with our answers, too. I reached out and asked what everyone thought the World Series matchup would look like, who wins, and why. Here’s what we got:
Matthew Habel | Astros over Braves
I picked the Astros over the Braves at the beginning of the season so I am going to stick with that. I like the Astros over the Yankees in the ALCS in a good series. I like the Nationals to upset the Dodgers and get to the NLCS, setting up the NL East showdown. It was the only division that saw four teams finish at .500 or better, so why not, In the end, the Astros are insane this year and while anything can happen in baseball, not sure how anyone could pick against them.
Ashley Davis | Dodgers over Astros
I’m predicting a rematch from the 2017 World Series: the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers will face each other again. But unlike every other person in the baseball universe, I think the Dodgers will take the crown this year. Third time’s a charm, right?
Jeff Carr | Astros over Braves
- Rays over A’s
- Nationals over Brewers
- Astros over Rays
- Yankees over Twins
- Dodgers over Nationals
- Braves over Cardinals
League Championship Series
- Astros over Yankees
- Braves over Dodgers
- Astros over Braves
Doug Gray | Astros over Dodgers
The Dodgers are clearly the best team in the National League. They won nine more games than anyone else. They had easily the best offense in the league, leading the way with a 112 OPS+, which was six points higher than the next closest team (and 12 better than the next closest playoff team). They also had far and away the best pitching staff in the league, pacing things with a 123 ERA+. The next best team was the Cardinals at 112. The best offense and the best run prevention? EASY pick.
In the American League things are a little bit closer. How the Yankees won 103 games with their patched together roster that seemed to be missing 10 players at a given time on the injured list is incredible. The Minnesota Twins hit a Major League record 307 home runs on their way to 101 wins. And then there’s the Astros, who have just run through the American League once again, winning 107 games. Offensively it’s close between those three teams, but Houston just separates themselves on the mound. Their 127 ERA+ tops the league, and easily outpaces the other two offensive juggernauts. Another fairly easy pick.
That gives us a match up of the the Astros and the Dodgers. On paper, the Astros are just a little bit better. And that means that they’ll get my pick and that the Dodgers will lose their third straight World Series.
Richard Fitch | Twins over Nationals
If the over/under for usage of the word “crapshoot” is 8 in this article, I’ll take the over. Small sample size can take a team anywhere and everywhere in October, especially when a mere 11 wins gets you the opportunity to pour cheap beer or bubbly on the head of the commissioner.
From the run prevention side, if you don’t have at least 2 aces on your staff, you’re at a serious disadvantage. From the offensive side, the ability to hit the baseball deep into the gloaming is a must, as attempting to sequence hits together against the postseason’s best pitchers is like trying to draw to an inside straight. It’s a sucker’s bet.
Houston is everybody’s favorite for obvious reasons—Gerritt Cole and Justin Verlander have each struck out 300 batters this season—and Zack Greinke is their #3 starter. Are you laughing yet? Their batters don’t strike out and only the Twins and Yankees hit more home runs. Their bullpen—while not elite—has the best xFIP of all 30 teams.
The Dodgers mirror the Astros on the Senior Circuit side. Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu are both elite pitchers and have Clayton Kershaw as their #3. Kershaw may not be the pitcher he once was, but he still strikes out 9.5 batters every 9 innings. The three of them rank 8th, 9th and 12th in baseball in xFIP. They flog the ball, too, and the Hollywood sign has the dents to prove it. They may have more depth than any team in baseball. Their bullpen is their Achilles heel.
So, the chalk says Houston and LA. But, not so fast.
The Yankees, with suspect starting pitching—will attempt to do it another way. They’ll try to bludgeon their way to an early lead and turn it over to their gold-plated Park Avenue Bullpen. The Yankees hit 306 home runs this season, the second-most in baseball history.
But, wait. Who hit the most in baseball history? The 2019 Twins with 307 home runs. They also don’t strike out. Home runs + contact = upset? Minnesota relievers have the 3rd best WAR in baseball. In the American League, only the Rays’ starters give up fewer home runs per 9 innings than the Twins’ starters. Twins starters are 3rd best in all of baseball in HR/FB at 13.4%. The Yankees are 28th at 17.8%.
Numbers aren’t everything in the postseason. Often, they mean nothing. I remember the 2014 Orioles/Royals ALCS when Baltimore came into the series having hit more home runs that season than any team in baseball. The punch ‘n judy Royals were a lowly 26th. As you know, the Royals would sweep the Orioles, out-homering them 4-2.
If a journeyman catcher named Gene Tenace can hit 4 HRs and ruin Cincinnati’s magnificent 1972 season, anything can happen. It’s… well… a crapshoot.
So, I’ll eschew the chalk. I’ll take the Minnesota Twins over the bridesmaid Washington Nationals, who have Scherzer, Strasburg and have stormed back from a 19-31 start under the radar to win 90 games.