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MLB playoffs 2017: Purple Row picks the postseason

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Presenting your 2017 World Series champion.

On Thursday, we shared with you some insight on who you should be rooting for in this postseason as a Rockies fan. Maybe you found it helpful, maybe you don't like being told what to do.

A natural follow up to that article would be a predictions post. So we took a brief survey of Purple Row staff to see who everyone thought would be advancing, all the way to World Series picks. We got 10 staff members—an even mix of editors, writers, and moderators—to take the plunge. We kept it anonymous to protect the innocent; instead this is the wisdom-of-the-crowds consensus Purple Row opinion.

ALCS

Astros vs. Indians - 70%

Red Sox vs. Indians - 20%

Red Sox vs. Yankees - 10%

There’s good reason to pick the Yankees: they have a bullpen that can shorten games considerably with Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman. They also have “baseball’s biggest friend” Aaron Judge, along with Gary Sanchez and apparently-good-hitter-now Didi Gregorious. But only one person believed enough to pick them.

Three people picked the Red Sox to advance. They have the weakest offense among remaining playoff teams (92 wRC+), but they also have the fourth best pitching staff according to FanGraphs WAR. But Cy Young candidate Chris Sale did not fare well in his playoff debut yesterday to this pick is already in doubt.

The consensus is that the two teams that spent extended stretches of the season as the best team in baseball—the Astros in the first few months and the Indians in the last few—will play for the AL pennant. The two teams have gone a combined 124 seasons without a World Series title (1948 for the Indians and never for the Astros, who came into the league in 1962), so this would make for the most compelling ALCS matchup on that front as well.

NLCS

Nationals vs. Dodgers - 40%

Cubs vs. Diamondbacks - 30%

Cubs vs. Dodgers - 20%

Nationals vs. Diamondbacks - 10%

Results were a little more spread out in the National League, and for good reason: Rockies fans are intimately familiar with the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, and the Nationals and Cubs seem evenly matched.

By virtue of playing the Rockies in the Wild Card game, Arizona will be without their ace Zack Greinke until Game 3 and they may be without Robbie Ray for the first two games as well. However, their pitching overall has been such a strength (80 ERA-, second best in baseball) that they might not be at too much of a disadvantage against the Dodgers. The Dodgers, mind you, won the most games in baseball this season, fueled by a 43-7 stretch in the middle of the season. They more recently had a 1-15 stretch from August to mid-September, so there are some cracks in the armor.

On paper, the Nationals and Cubs are incredibly similar. They have similar offenses (Cubs 101 wRC+, Nationals 100), similar pitching staffs (Nationals 89 ERA-, Cubs 91), and are both driven by perennial MVP candidates from Las Vegas (Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant). The Cubs had a lackluster follow up to their World Series title and the pitching hasn’t been what it was (75 ERA- in 2016) despite carrying mostly the same players. But then again, the Nationals can never seem to win a playoff series. As such, our panel view this as a coin flip.

The majority opinion (where “majority” here means 40%) puts the NLCS as a Nationals vs. Dodgers rematch of last year’s incredible NLDS.

World Series

Purple Row World Series Picks

AL Champion NL Champion World Series Champion
AL Champion NL Champion World Series Champion
Astros Dodgers Dodgers
Astros Dodgers Astros
Astros Nationals Astros
Astros Nationals Astros
Indians Cubs Indians
Indians Cubs Indians
Indians Dodgers Indians
Indians Dodgers Indians
Indians Nationals Indians
Yankees Diamondbacks Diamondbacks

It was at this point that I somewhat regretted making this an anonymous survey, as I wondered aloud if the Yankees-Diamondbacks pick—two wild card teams and a 2001 World Series rematch—was a troll. Of course, now baseball will almost certainly give that to us.

That person was the only one who didn't pick the Astros or the Indians to come out of the ALCS (sorry Red Sox). It was much more even in the National League, where every team got picked once. The majority (40%) picked the Dodgers to take the NL pennant, but only one person picked them to win the World Series. In fact that person and the aforementioned trickster who picks the Diamondbacks we're the only ones to pick National League teams to win it all.

While the rooting interest should be for the Astros, our panel seems to believe that the Indians are the favorites. Sixty percent picked them to advance out of the ALCS, and 50% picked them to win it all. One could hardly blame them: not only did they set to the American League record for consecutive wins, but they also set the all-time record for pitcher WAR. And an offense that is headed by Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Ramirez is certainly a force to be reckoned with. And hey, it would be nice to see them win the title one year after coming oh so close.

★ ★ ★

There you have it, the Indians are going to win the World Series, taking down the Dodgers in six games. Personally I think we deserve such a matchup. But because baseball is what it is, we are probably going to get that Yankees-Diamondbacks World Series. Such as baseball, and such is life.

Poll

What’s your World Series pick?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Indians
    (32 votes)
  • 36%
    Astros
    (35 votes)
  • 1%
    Red Sox
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Yankees
    (1 vote)
  • 12%
    Dodgers
    (12 votes)
  • 6%
    Nationals
    (6 votes)
  • 6%
    Cubs
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    Diamondbacks
    (2 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now