Indians: The Indians Roberto Perez will be taking over the catching duties for the Tribe as they enter World Series play. The 27-year old has not seen much success as of late, slashing just .174/.269/.348 in the postseason. Perez will certainly not be feared by the Chicago pitchers due to his recent slumps at the plate.
Cubs: The Cubs depth behind the plate is unrealistic, with three different options. The two main players who will be doing the catching are veteran David Ross and rookie Willson Contreras. Contreras has been on fire in his first postseason where he is slashing .400/.429/.550 with big hit after big hit. This rookie has done more than the Cubs could ever ask for and should bring his red-hot bat to the grandest stage of them all.
Big advantage: Cubs
Indians: The Indians have two options for first base when they head to Chicago which will surely be a tough decision, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana. Both of these two had one of the best seasons of their careers where they clubbed 34 home runs each. The Tribe may determine who they select by how each does in the first two games of the series but no matter who they select, they will bring some pop to the lineup.
Cubs: The Chicago first baseman is Anthony Rizzo, longtime Cub and 2016 MVP candidate. Rizzo had one of the best seasons of his career in 2016 where he hit 32 home runs and slashed .292/.385/.544 but was unable to carry that into the NLDS. The perennial all-star struggled in the first round but was able to rebound in the championship series. The left-handed slugger batted .320 against the Dodgers with two home runs five RBI’s. The defense Rizzo plays is also impeccable compared to that of either Cleveland first baseman.
Indians: The Tribe’s second baseman is all-star Jason Kipnis. Kipnis is entering the World Series following an ALCS he’d like to forget, where he batted .053 with just a single hit to his credit. Despite the rough championship series, Kipnis batted .275/.343/.469 in the regular season with 23 home runs. Though his regular season was very good, the recent slump is what prevents the Indians from gaining an advantage in this category.
Cubs: Manning second base for Chicago will be one of the most exciting players currently in major league baseball, Javier Baez. This 23-year old is having himself a postseason to remember, batting .342 with seven RBI’s. Not only has he been getting the job done on offense, but he is making some outstanding plays on the field as well. This spectacular performance earned him the co-MVP recipient along with teammate Jon Lester for the NLCS most valuable player.
Slight Advantage: Cubs
Indians: Cleveland’s shortstop will be the 22-year old Fransico Lindor. Lindor had himself a great season where he hit 15 home runs and slashed .301/.358/.435 and was able to carry that into October baseball. So far in the postseason the shortstop has been mashing the ball, batting .323 with two home runs and four RBI’s so far. The 22-year old solidified himself as one of the top shortstops in all of baseball in 2016 and has continued to prove his worth into the postseason.
Cubs: Opposing Lindor at shortstop will be the Cubs own 22-year old, Addison Russell. Russell had an average season in 2016 as well as a very slow start to the playoffs. Fortunately for Chicago, their shortstop would light up for the NLCS where he hit .273 with two home runs and proved to be a key piece of the Cubs being where they are now.
Slight Advantage: Indians
Indians: Taking control of the hot corner for the Tribe will be Jose Ramirez, who had his breakout season in 2016. This past season, Ramirez had his best season to date where he slashed .312/.363/.462 and brought that success into the first round of the playoffs. The 24-year old had a stellar ALDS where he batted .500 but his bat completely depleted in the championship series where his average dwindled down to a disappointing .059.
Cubs: The Chicago third baseman will be the current NL MVP favorite, Kris Bryant. In 2016, Bryant solidified himself as one of the top players in all of Major League Baseball when he clubbed 39 home runs and drove in 102 RBI’s. The two-time all-star has not been too shabby in the playoffs either, batting over .300 in each playoff series and coming up with a couple of clutch hits.