Los Angeles Dodgers With over $230 million spent this year in payroll, the Los Angeles Dodgers are all in.
This roster has been stacked from the get-go with one of the top pitching staffs in baseball featuring Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu. In the postseason, pitching wins championships.
The Dodgers have proven throughout the year that their pitching is legitimate, building a 3.40 earned run average as a team with the fifth highest relative power index in the game. In layman’s terms, they pitched very well against some of the best hitters in baseball.
Their batting and fielding are also solid. Outfielder Yasiel Puig has a cannon for an arm in right field and can hit inside fastballs a mile if he’s given the chance. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez and centerfielder Matt Kemp add to the lineup with strong defensive play and clutch hitting to combine well with Puig’s power.
The Dodgers’ biggest competition for a ring this year will be whomever they meet in the World Series. Just a freeway ride away, crosstown rivals the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are hungry, young and relentless. Their bats will be strong, but the Dodgers’ pitching will be better.
The Dodgers’ time is now. With a huge payroll and a remarkable pitching staff, the Dodgers will easily defeat the Angels in six games.
Every team in the postseason has top-caliber pitching and a solid lineup. Not every team, however, possesses the top-to-bottom quality that the Washington Nationals have.
First, they have the best starting rotation in baseball. Although Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the league, the rest of the Dodgers’ rotation fails to match Washington’s depth. The Nats’ front four starters all have earned run averages of 3.14 or lower. On top of that, no pitcher has more than 11 losses.
Washington’s lineup is also undeniably stacked. Third baseman Anthony Rendon and outfielders Jayson Werth and Denard Span all have batting averages above .287. They also have three players with over 20 home runs.
One overlooked factor that could push the Nationals to the top is their fan base. Like the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Nationals have not been the most successful franchise in baseball. The city itself is hungry for a title. The last time a Washington, D.C. team won a championship was in 1991, when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI.
The Nationals don’t have the flashiest player in baseball or the most dominant pitcher––what they do have is the best depth in the league. That will be the determining factor come World Series time.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will win the 2014 World Series. The Angels have one of the best lineups in baseball. Major players such as superstar outfielder Mike Trout, first baseman Albert Pujols and shortstop Erick Aybar are leading the charge as the Angels look to take the trophy.
The team also has solid pitching with Jairo Diaz, Kevin Jepsen and Cory Rasmus—all of whom have pitched the ball very effectively against all teams this season.
The Angels should be the biggest competition to any team. While the Kansas City Royals have a good defense, the Angels have Trout who has the potential to be the next great legend of baseball. Trout’s line included a batting average of .287 with 36 home runs and 111 runs batted in this past season.
The Angels are no strangers to the postseason; plenty of players on their roster have postseason experience. Their team batting average is .259—good enough for sixth in the league. Their opponents’ batting average is just .236—fourth in the league.
The key for the Angels to win the World Series will be to play defensive baseball. They need to have their pitchers throw strikes. They need to have their fielders limit errors and convert plays. Doing so will set them up to hit the ball effectively. Come the end of October, it’ll be time to bring out the Rally Monkey once again.
Writers Billy Burns and Taylor Frank contributed to this article.