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San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals World Series Position Battle: Who has the advantage?

By Jacob Fagan
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Oct 14, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; A view of a postseason sign in the outfield before game three of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It has come. The 2014 World Series. Giants and Royals. San Francisco and Kansas City. California and Missouri. And of course the only way to figure who wins the series is to evaluate every position (not really). Here it goes:

Starting Pitching:

In the postseason, the Giants’ starters have a 2.40 ERA in 63.2 innings pitched while the Royals have a 3.80 ERA in 45 innings pitched. Madison Bumgarner (NLCS MVP), who has a 1.42 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched this postseason will go game one, game five, and be available for game seven. The Royals, in the regular season, had a combined WAR of 10 between James Shields, Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie. San Francisco had a combined WAR of 10.1 between Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy, and Ryan Vogelsong. Advantage: Giants

Bullpen:

With Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Danny Duffy, and even Brandon Finnegan in the Royals bullpen, there’s no other bullpen that could trump them. The Giants have the better ERA (1.78) in the postseason in the same amount of innings (35), but the back end of the Royals’ pen is nearly impossible to hit. Yusmeiro Petit, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt are all dominant so far in the playoffs, but advantage: Royals

Catcher:

Buster Posey vs. Salvador Perez

Easy one. Perez has been terrible in the postseason hitting for a .261 OPS and a -35 wRC+, but had a good season overall. 92 wRC+ and had a 3.3 fWAR. Posey hasn’t had a good postseason either hitting for a .656 OPS and a 90 wRC+, but had a much better regular season compared to Perez. 5.7 fWAR with 22 home runs, and a 144 wRC+. Advantage: Giants

Oct 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland (left) celebrates with catcher Salvador Perez (right) after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in game four of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals swept the Orioles to advance to the World Series. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

First Base:

Brandon Belt vs. Eric Hosmer

Everybody’s hopping on the Hosmer train, but Belt has had a much better career. Hosmer has 1.314 OPS and a 266 wRC+ in the postseason, but has a 104 career wRC+ and a combined 2.4 fWAR in 570 games. Belt has a 129 wRC+ and .781 OPS in the postseason, but a 124 wRC+ and a combined fWAR of 7.1 in 419 games. We all know who the better player is here (Belt), but I’m going to make this a draw due to Hosmer’s hot streak. Advantage: Tie

Second Base:

Joe Panik vs. Omar Infante

Infante had a dismal season in 2014 hitting for a slash of .252/.295/.337 with a 76 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR, and a .632 OPS. In the postseason he has a 37 wRC+ and a .501 OPS. Panik, in just 73 games, hit for a slash of .305/.343/.368 with a 107 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR, and a .711 OPS. In the postseason he has a 78 wRC+ and a huge two-run home run in game five of the NLCS off Adam Wainwright. Advantage: Giants

Third Base:

Pablo Sandoval vs. Mike Moustakas

Sandoval had a much better regular season hitting for a .739 OPS, 111 wRC+, and a 3.0 fWAR while Moustakas had a 76 wRC+, 0.9 fWAR in 140 games. However, in the postseason both have been remarkable. 135 wRC+ for Sandoval, 157 wRC+ for Moustakas and both have played excellent defense. The Moose had 15 home runs in 500 PAs in the regular season, but already has four this postseason in 31 PAs. I’ll give it to the overall better player and the guy who has more experience. Advantage: Giants

Shortstop:

Brandon Crawford vs. Alcides Escobar

Escobar had a slash of .285/.317/.377 with a 94 wRC+, 694 OPS, 2.4 WAR in 162 games and has a 100 wRC+ in the postseason with a .714 OPS. Crawford had the better regular season hitting for a slash of .246/.324/.389 with a 102 wRC+, 3.2 WAR, and a .713 OPS. In the postseason he has an 80 wRC+ and .621 OPS. Extremely close numbers, but I’ll give the edge to Escobar, because of his base running. Advantage: Royals

Left Field:

Travis Ishikawa vs. Alex Gordon.

Why even waste my time? Gordon is arguably a top ten player in the game and Ishikawa is having a very good postseason while topping it off with a pennant clinching walk-off three-run home run in game five of the NLCS. Advantage: Royals

Center Field:

Gregor Blanco vs. Lorenzo Cain (ALCS MVP)

Once again, Cain is just a better overall player and is having a great postseason. 5.0 WAR and a 130 wRC+ in the playoffs. Blanco had a 2.0 fWAR and a 107 wRC+ in the regular season and a 24 wRC+ in the postseason. Advantage: Royals

Right Field:

Hunter Pence vs. Nori Aoki

Another no-brainer. Pence had a 123 wRC+ and 4.7 fWAR in the regular season while Aoki had a 104 wRC+ and a 1.1 fWAR in the regular season. Pence has a .684 OPS in the playoffs while Aoki has a .604 OPS. Pence also plays the entire game unlike Aoki who is taken out for defensive reasons for Jarrod Dyson. Advantage: Giants

Designated Hitter:

Michael Morse vs. Billy Butler

Morse had a much better season hitting for a 133 wRC+, 12.8 offensive value and Butler had a 97 wRC+ with a -7.5 offensive value. Pretty easy decision here as Morse is feeling good after his game tying home run in the eighth off Pat Neshek in game five of the NLCS. Advantage: Giants

Bench:

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Royals have speed, speed, and more speed on their bench. Terrance Gore, Dyson, Josh Willingham, Christian Colon, and maybe Raul Ibanez bring more value to the table than Matt Duffy, Andrew Susac, Joaquin Arias, and Juan Perez. Advantage: Royals 

Manager:

Bruce Bochy vs. Ned Yost

Bochy has two World Series for a reason and Yost goes against all probability with his small ball strategy that might get him burned this series. Bochy is a future Hall of Famer who doesn’t care about bullpen roles and Yost has shown he likes to keep his seventh inning guys in the seventh inning and his eighth inning guys in the eight inning. If it comes down to bullpen management, Bochy is the answer every time. Advantage: Giants

Giants: 8 and Royals: 6

Of course this means absolutely nothing, so expect the opposite of everything.

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