It’s hard to not like both of these teams.
Both the Royals and the Mets have middle-of-the-road payrolls. The Mets have the 15th highest payroll in the league while the Royals come in having the 14th highest.
Both the Royals and the Mets have pitchers that throw straight fire out of their arms. The Mets’ have the liveliest group of young starting pitchers in their rotation, while the Royals trot out a bullpen that seemingly hasn’t given up a run in two years.
To get to this point, they’ve both taken down the “favorites”. The Royals took out the Blue Jays, who many thought would just hit as many home runs as they needed to win every game. The Mets swept the Cubs, the darlings of the postseason who seemed to have fate and momentum (whatever that means) on their side. The Royals also had to go through the Astros, a team that resembled Kansas City of three years ago. The Mets didn’t have it any easier, as they had to deal with two Cy Young candidates that led the team with the highest payroll in the league, the Dodgers.
You might as well flip a coin when it comes to picking the winner in a seven game baseball series. The sample size is too small to draw any logical conclusions, and we all know momentum from series-to-series is a figment of our imagination. See Cubs, Chicago. We could break down the matchups, but baseball will always be baseball for a reason. Variance from game-to-game, inning-to-inning, and pitch-to-pitch, will always win out in the end. No matter what statistic you rely on, you can’t predict what is going to happen in any minute of a baseball game. You can make an educated guess, some more educated than others, but there is no statistic that accounts for variance within a baseball game.
That being said…I’m going to make a prediction. This is a blog after all, right?
The matchup that everyone will be discussing is the Mets pitching against the Royals hitting. The first interesting stat I found tells me that there might not be any walks in this series. The Royals took the second-fewest walks of any team in the MLB this season while the Mets’ pitchers walked the second-fewest batters. So the Mets pitch to contact. Well, sort of. They also allowed the sixth fewest hits during the regular season. Conversely, the Royals compiled the second highest amount of hits during the regular season.
So whose is better at their best skillsets? Answer: the Royals. While the Mets come in at tenth in the league in strikeouts by their pitchers, the Royals struck out the least amount of times among all MLB teams throughout the season. When you put enough baseballs in play, they eventually fall in for hits. That is how the Royals obtained season-long success and how they are going to their second World Series in a row.
The Mets have also been riding the extremely hot bat of Daniel Murphy. While, again, I don’t believe in momentum, I do believe that there is such a thing as being “locked in” at the plate. However, that usually encompasses some luck as well. Murphy hit 14 home runs during the regular season and has left the park seven times this postseason. That is a surge of variance that is not likely to continue much longer. Also, Murphy played his last two games in an extremely home run friendly Wrigley Field. Now he is going to Kauffman Stadium, a field that plays just as big as it looks.
You’re going to see a ton of broken bat hits. You’re going to be watching this series and think “what in the world does it take to get these guys to swing and miss?” The Royals will win this series by frustrating the young Mets pitchers. A formula that worked against an all-or-nothing Cubs lineup will not work against a Royals team that has no problem taking a single. As long as Ned Yost doesn’t screw anything up, the Royals will be your 2016 World Series Champions.