Saturday, October 24, 2015

Joey's Soapbox: My 2015 Obviously Biased World Series Pick

I don't think Pete Rose believes I should be sharing my picks on this platform.

Hi, everyone!  This is Joey Beartran and it's time to share my World Series pick.  I'm picking the Mets.  That was simple, wasn't it?

Well, if you came to this page, that means you probably want to see more than just an obvious pick from a roving reporter/culinary expert.  So I guess I should give you a reason why it would be a wise decision to pick the Mets to win their first World Series in 29 years instead of the team that was the defending world champion when the Mets last lifted the trophy.

The reason is because I've correctly picked 87.5% of this postseason's winners.  I chose the Astros and Cubs to win their respective wild card games.  I was two-for-two with those picks.  Then I batted .750 in the four division series, banging out hits when I picked the Blue Jays, Royals and Mets to advance to the league championship series.  However, I whiffed by picking the Cardinals to advance.  Hey, even Daniel Murphy doesn't hit one out of the park every once in a while.

Once the ALCS and NLCS were both set, I picked the Royals and Mets to face each other in the World Series.  And sure enough, my picks were as automatic as Jeurys Familia has been in the ninth inning (and sometimes the eighth as well).

What?  Picking seven out of eight winners isn't a good enough reason for you to place a bet on the Mets in the Fall Classic?  Did Pete Rose coerce you into thinking that?  Fine.  Here's why I think the Mets will defeat the Royals in the World Series.

World Series

New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals

The Mets have already taken out the 92-win Dodgers and the 97-win Cubs en route to their fifth National League pennant.  They've gone 7-2 in doing so, with only one of the losses being legitimate.  (The Dodgers didn't earn the Chase Utley game, but Chase Utley sure earned his suspension and his tee time on the golf course.)  Meanwhile, the Royals needed to go the distance against the upstart Astros in the division series, needing a furious comeback in Game Four just to force a fifth and deciding game.  Then they lost two more games to the Blue Jays in the ALCS and could have lost a third, but they had help from a fan in the outfield on a "home run" by Kansas City's Mike Moustakas and also benefited from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson's strike zone, which became wider than Bartolo Colon's waistline when Ben Revere was at the plate in the ninth inning with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

Kansas City has an excellent bullpen.  But the Royals need to have the lead to use their top relievers.  And their starting pitchers aren't exactly turning heads.

Their four starters (Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, Johnny Cueto and former Met Chris Young) were quite ordinary in the regular season and continued to be so in the postseason.  The not-so-fearsome foursome combined to post a 3.77 ERA and 1.22 WHIP during the regular season - numbers that would have been worse had it not been for Young's contributions (3.06 ERA, 1.09 WHIP).  And as good as Young was during the regular season, it was mostly due to what he did in the first two and a half months.  Through June 16, Young had a stellar 1.98 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.  In his final 20 appearances (10 starts, 10 relief outings), those numbers shot up to 4.06 and 1.24, respectively.

When Chris Young has a lower ERA and WHIP than these guys, it shows they don't have a true ace. (USA TODAY Sports)

Once Volquez, Ventura, Cueto and Young got to the postseason, they fell apart, combining to post a 5.33 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.  They also became more erratic with their control, walking 31 batters in 59 innings.

Of course, the team's hitters bailed them out on numerous occasions, as Kansas City scored five or more runs in six of their seven victories against the Astros and Blue Jays.  But both Houston and Toronto shared so-so starting rotations and bullpens, and it showed in the playoffs.  Neither team had a deep starting rotation and neither club had a Jeurys Familia-type closer.

The Mets have all of that, and then some.

Kansas City went 5-44 in the regular season when they scored fewer than three runs.  That continued in the postseason, as they lost all three games in which they failed to cross the plate three times.  It should be noted that in the 171 games the Mets have played this year, they've allowed three or fewer runs in 90 of those contests.  For all you kids out there, that's 52.6% of the time.  That bodes well for the Mets as they go up against a starting rotation that combined to post an ERA north of 5.00 in their 11 postseason starts.

The Royals also have a starting rotation that's entirely right-handed, with only Franklin Morales and Danny Duffy pitching from the left side out of the pen.  That means more at-bats for Michael Conforto and more comfortable plate appearances for Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson.

The key to defeating the Royals is to get into the late innings with a lead, as Kansas City boasts a three-headed monster in the bullpen with set-up men Ryan Madson (2.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP), Kelvin Herrera (2.71 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) and closer Wade Davis (0.94 ERA, 0.79 WHIP).  That's where the Mets' starting rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz will come into play, and they're more than up to the task.

The four pitchers combined to post a 2.92 ERA and 1.08 WHIP during the regular season and continued to shine in the postseason against potent Dodgers and Cubs lineups (2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP).  Kansas City finished tenth in the majors in ERA and 13th in WHIP.  And for all of you saber-dudes out there, the Royals' 4.04 FIP was below the 3.96 league average.  When the Royals faced a team that was better than them in all three categories, their won-loss record was 17-20.  They were 78-47 against all other teams.  For the record, the Mets were fourth in the majors in ERA, second in WHIP and sixth in FIP (3.53 - more than half a run better than the Royals).

Last year, the Royals hit well against the Giants in the Fall Classic, scoring 26 runs in the 40 innings not pitched by Madison Bumgarner.  Of course, they crossed the plate just once in the 21 innings tossed by the Bumgarner Buzzsaw and that was enough to give San Francisco the crown.  The Royals are now about to encounter a staff full of Bumgarners when they face the likes of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey in this year's World Series.

Kansas City might be Royal, but it's the Mets who will be celebrating a coronation.

Prediction: Mets in 5.

See you at the World Series!!

1 comment:

Evan said...

I like the way you think! LGM!