2015 World Series Preview: The Resilient Royals vs. the Masterful Mets

We are at the final stage of the 2015 postseason and it will be the Kansas City Royals, back again after losing last year to the Giants, against the pitching heavy New York Mets. The Royals look for their first World Series ring since 1985, and the Mets look for their first since 1986.


Starting Rotation

Mets: It has been well documented throughout the playoffs that the Mets have a rotation filled with flamethrowers. All four starters can throw 95+ and were able to dominate the Cubs because of that velocity. The five day break between games should help their young starters, especially Matt Harvey whose limits have been talked about plenty of times by the media. They line up their rotation with Harvey in Game 1, followed by Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz.

Royals: The Royals are not as strong in the rotation, but it has been good enough to get them to the World Series once again. I believe that their chances of winning the World Series hinge on Johnny Cueto. He was acquired to be an ace and he has not fulfilled his expectations for the most part besides Game 5 of the ALDS. If the Royals can get Game 5 ALDS Cueto and not the one that showed up in Game 3 of the ALCS against Toronto, they will be hoisting the World Series trophy instead of watching that happen like last year. They line up their rotation with Edinson Volquez, Cueto, Yordano Ventura, and Chris Young.


Mets: This is not as lopsided as one may think. Mets closer Jeurys Familia has developed into one of the game’s best closers this season with a splitter/sinker that is thrown over 90 mph. The Mets acquired Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed at the trade deadline, who both provide depth to a team that lacked middle relief before he arrived. They also can employ starters Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese out of the bullpen in case they are needed in any sticky situations in the middle-late innings. The Mets bullpen has a closer and several reliable arms in the pen that can come through when need be.

Royals: The Royals once again have relied on a great bullpen to carry them to this spot. If the Mets are down after six innings, the game is practically over with Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson, and Wade Davis looming. Personally, I would be hesitant to use Madson as he has had trouble with the long ball this month after being great during the regular season. Herrera and Davis have been lights out and are two of the best bullpen arms in baseball. Davis is the best closer in the game right now, and if you do not believe me, watch the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS where he stranded runners at second and third in a one run game with no outs after not pitching for almost an hour due to a rain delay. The winning recipe for the Royals is get to the seventh with the lead and let the bullpen take care of the rest.

Pitching Edge: MetsMets

Rationale: This was a close one, but because of the starting pitching of the Mets and their ability to go deep in games, it gives them an advantage over the pitching staff of the Royals who consistently have to get more than three innings out of their bullpen.


Mets: The Mets offense has completely turned around since the trade deadline. Since the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes, they have had one of the best offenses in the NL. Without that trade, I doubt they would have gotten past the NLDS, but the past is the past. Daniel Murphy has homered in six straight games, which is a postseason record, surpassing Carlos Beltran who hit five in a row for Houston in 2004. What’s truly incredible about Murphy’s streak is that it includes home runs off Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta. Three of those four pitchers are going to finish in the top three in the Cy Young race. This would be impressive for Mike Trout, but Daniel Murphy, a player who has never hit more than 20 home runs, is doing something crazy. I do not think his streak will carry on due to the very long layoff (since the 21st) and his bat will not be as hot. A good thing for the Mets is that no one else was really on fire, so the layoff may not hurt as much as one would think.

Royals: The Royals offense has once again saved them from elimination. Just as in the Wild Card game last year against Oakland, they came back from four runs down to avoid elimination again, this time against the Astros. A big part of why they have the ability to make these comebacks is because they are in the same state as the Cardinals and some of that magic rubs off and reaches across the state. Kidding, kind of. In all seriousness, they have done this because they are the hardest team in baseball to strike out. They also are one of the best offense at hitting fastballs 95+ mph. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs posted an article about how the Royals are hitting the top 1/3 hardest throwing pitchers in baseball. His data shows that the Royals have an OPS 18 points higher and strike out 6% less often compared to the rest of the league. The Royals can hit velocity and that will be a main factor in how this series plays out.

Hitting Edge: RoyalsRoyals

Rationale: I give the edge to the Royals because of their ability to hit velocity well, ability to string hits together, and no Madison Bumgarner to worry about. One thing that can hurt them is not having DH Kendrys Morales’ bat in the lineup when they play in New York. He is an important bat that they will surely miss in Games 3,4, and possibly 5. The Mets’ layoff will hurt Murphy, who has been their best hitter this month, and that could cause the Mets to have a slow start to the series.


Game 1: Royals 4, Mets 2

Game 2: Mets 3, Royals 1

Game 3: Mets 7, Royals 4

Game 4: Royals 5, Mets 2

Game 5: Mets 6, Royals 1

Game 6: Royals 4, Mets 3

Game 7: Royals 6, Mets 4



FanGraphs-Jeff Sullivan

Images via Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press and WSBTV

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