Tonight at 7:05 PM central time the World Series begins. And I can't wait. Facing off in the World Series are the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals. Both top offenses in the league this year. In this article I will be comparing the two teams and giving my opinion on who I think has the better line-up. My slash lines will consist of ISO, wOBA and wRC+. I will also include WAR.
First off the Texas Rangers.
Ian Kinsler: .233/.370/128 7.7 WAR
Ian Kinsler is not your prototypical lead-off man. He hits for power which you normally don't see in a lead-off guy. He has solid speed, he stole 30 bases throughout the year. He has an above average eye at the plate, walking 12.3% of the time and striking out only 9.8% of the time. As you can see in his slash line he also gets on base an exceptional amount of the time. While he isn't what you think of when you hear lead-off hitter he's very good at what he does.
Elvis Andrus: .082/.323/96 4.5 WAR
Andrus' stats don't exactly jump out at you. He has very good speed, stealing 37 bases. His eye at the plate is above average. He walks 8.4% of the time and strikes out 11.1% of the time. Like I said, he isn't really a producer on offense, his value comes mostly from his defense but for hitting number two he does somethings well.
Josh Hamilton: .238/.371/129 4.2 WAR
What's there to say? Hamilton is a straight beast. He hits for power, he gets on base, he defends, he has a good eye. The only thing he doesn't do is run but he doesn't need to.
Michael Young: .136/.369/127 3.8 WAR
Young is one of the underrated offensive players in baseball in my mind. He isn't a star but he's one of those guys that knows how to play baseball. He doesn't strike out a lot, only 11.3% this year, has modest power, .136 and can get on base. What more can you ask for?
Adrian Beltre: .265/.379/134 5.7 WAR
So much for only performing in contract years. After signing a long term deal with the Rangers in the off-season Beltre has been wrecking the baseball. Not only does he have ridiculous power but he also has patience at the plate walking 4.8% of the time, a little low but he only struck out 10.1% of the time. Just what you want for a fifth hitter.
Mike Napoli: .312/.444/178 5.6 WAR
This year was a breakout year for Napoli for sure. He's always had good power but this year he really flashed it. He has a great eye, walking 13.4% of the time and striking out only 19.7% of the time. His OBP was a career best, .414. I bet the Angels are pretty upset that they traded him.
Nelson "Nellie" Cruz: .246/.352/116 1.6 WAR
On offense Cruz is a beast, one thing that is a problem is that he strikes out a lot, 22.6% of the time. He has power but could bring his OBP up a bit. His defense is pretty poor, hurting his WAR. This postseason he's been a beast though so don't be surprised if he moves up.
David Murphy: .196/.319/96 1.1 WAR
Murphy is pretty much the prototypical replacement player. He's an average offensive player and sub-average defensive player. He doesn't strike out and gets his share of walks. He doesn't do anything great but he's someone who can come off the bench.
Endy Chavez: .125/.325/98 1.5 WAR
Chavez, like Murphy is also a basic replacement player. He can get on much, hit for some power, play league average defense. He isn't an everyday player but someone I'd take without complaining.
Some other players to watch in the series: Mitch Moreland, Yorvit Torrealba.
Now for the home team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Rafael Furcal: .117/.288/84 .5 WAR
Furcal has been injury plagued the last couple of seasons and has been a shell of his formal self. He's really not that good anymore.
Jon Jay: .127/.333/112 2.8 WAR
A lot of people like Jay in St. Louis. He can be a solid OF in the majors if he can keep the job. He can get on base and doesn't strike out. His defensive hasn't proven to be the best but that's a SSS. He isn't quite as good as his numbers suggest due to his .340 BABIP but he has the potential to be decent.
Albert Pujols .242/.385/148 5.1 WAR
He wasn't even completely healthy all year and he a really good. He's a machine. Need I say more?
Lance Berkman: .246/.402/159 5 WAR
Talk about a comeback year. After the end of last season everyone thought he was done. Guess we were wrong. Berkman always had a good eye at the plate and an exceptional OBP. He also has always had amazing strength, but you should know that already. With Pujols and Berkman hitting 3-4 I'd be nervous if I was Texas.
Matt Holliday:.226/.398/140 5 WAR
What's there to say? He's one of the game's better OF. He gets on base, has power, can defend, the only thing he can't do is run. With Pujols, Berkman and Holliday 3-4-5 the Rangers will have their hands full for sure.
David Freese: .144/348/122 2.7 WAR
Freese is one of those guys that can do a variety of things for your club. For a bottom of the line-up guy he can hit for some power, get on base and play league average defense. He'll never be a star but for a bottom half of the line-up guy he isn't bad.
Yadier Molina: .160/.349/123 4.1
Molina is one of the game's better catchers. While he isn't known for his offense as much as his glove he's still a very solid hitter. He does a good job at getting on base and has above average power. Most of the teams in baseball would take this guy in a heartbeat.
Nick Punto: .143/.350/123 1.8 WAR
No, Punto isn't that good of an offensive player. He only played in 66 games. If you don't already know, he's a horrible offensive player. Horrible may be an understatement. Most of his value comes from his defense. He's one of those guys that you put in during the 8th or 9th inning with a slim lead.
Allan Craig: .240/.399/158 2.6 WAR
Craig may look like he's really good, but again SSS. His .344 BABIP was also ridiculously high. He may be a solid player but I don't know enough about him. As a bench player though he looks good.
Others to watch: Skip Schumaker
I know I did not include a pitcher in the line-ups but honestly you all should know that pitchers don't do anything of significance really at the plate.
Overall I believe that Texas has the better line-up. Their 1-9 is much more balanced and they have some other bench players who are really solid. St. Louis has some really good players hitting 3-5 but again 1-9 I'd take Texas. Stay tuned for my evaluation of the pitching staffs and my overall team evaluation!