World Series 2012: Ranking All 50 Players on the Tigers and Giants

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2012

World Series 2012: Ranking All 50 Players on the Tigers and Giants

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    With San Francisco's 9-0 victory over St. Louis in Game 7 of the NLCS, the World Series is now set, as the Giants will take on the AL champion Detroit Tigers starting Wednesday night.

    As of now, neither team is expected to make any roster changes heading into the World Series, with the most notable move being the continued absence of now-eligible Melky Cabrera from the Giants roster.

    Assuming no changes are made and the teams stick with their LCS rosters, here are my rankings for all 50 players who will be participating in the World Series.

    Players were ranked less on their reputation or performance during the regular season and more on postseason performance this year and how big of an impact I expect them to make in the World Series—hence Madison Bumgarner being below George Kontos.

    Without giving anything else away, here are my rankings of all 50 players from this year's World Series teams.

50. IF Danny Worth, Detroit Tigers

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    Danny Worth played in just 43 games during the regular season with a line of .216 BA, zero HR, three RBI. The utility infielder has appeared in just one postseason game and has yet to record an at-bat.

49. IF Ramon Santiago, Detroit Tigers

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    Ramon Santiago hit .206 BA, two HR, 17 RBI over 228 at-bats during the regular season as one of the Tigers' utility infielders, and he's yet to appear in a postseason game so far, as he's little more than roster depth.

48. RP Jose Mijares, San Francisco Giants

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    Jose Mijares came over from the Royals in August on waivers and posted a 2.55 ERA in 27 games with the Giants as a situational lefty.

    He's made five postseason appearances, pitching 2.1 innings and allowing three hits, two walks and three earned runs.

47. IF/OF Xavier Nady, San Francisco Giants

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    After seeing significant playing time early on for a Nationals team dealing with injuries, Xavier Nady's role shrunk to nothing, and he was eventually released at the end of July. 

    The Giants signed him in early August, and he hit .240 BA, one HR, seven RBI in 50 at-bats down the stretch. He's 0-for-5 with a walk in four postseason games.

46. IF/OF Don Kelly, Detroit Tigers

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    Don Kelly is capable of playing essentially anywhere on the field, and that versatility could come into play when the Tigers play in San Francisco. 

    He hit just .186 in 113 regular-season at-bats, though he has recorded an RBI and scored two runs in two postseason appearances thus far.

45. RP Guillermo Mota, San Francisco Giants

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    The 39-year-old Guillermo Mota appeared in 26 games during the regular season, posting a 5.23 ERA while striking out an impressive 10.5 batters per nine innings.

    He has allowed six hits and four earned runs in 1.2 innings of work over three appearances in the postseason thus far and will likely be one of the last guys called upon moving forward.

44. SP/RP Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers

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    Rick Porcello made 31 starts during the regular season, going 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA while giving up a league-high 226 hits in 176.1 innings of work.

    He's been relegated to the bullpen for the postseason and has faced just one hitter so far. He likely won't see much action in the World Series either unless injuries strike, as Drew Smyly is the No. 1 option as a long reliever.

43. IF/OF Aubrey Huff, San Francisco Giants

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    Aubrey Huff quickly lost his job to Brandon Belt during the regular season and spent some time away from the team while dealing with anxiety issues.

    He finished the regular season with a .192 BA, one HR, seven RBI line over 78 at-bats, and he's gone 1-for-8 in the postseason serving as a pinch-hitter. He'll likely get a few more at-bats in the World Series, but don't expect much.

42. IF Ryan Theriot, San Francisco Giants

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    The Giants' primary second baseman until Marco Scutaro was acquired, Ryan Theriot hit .270 BA, zero HR, 28 RBI with 13 steals in 352 regular-season at-bats.

    He's had five at-bats off the bench this postseason, going 2-for-5 with three RBI, and he should get at least a few more opportunities in the World Series as one of the team's few speed threats.

41. C Gerald Laird, Detroit Tigers

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    Gerald Laird was one of the better backup catchers in baseball during the regular season, hitting .282 over 174 at-bats and filling in admirably when Alex Avila battled injuries.

    He's done nothing in the postseason, though, going 1-for-13 in four starts. He calls a great game and is capable of stringing together some good at-bats; it just hasn't happened for him this postseason.

40. RP Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers

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    Jose Valverde suffered through a rough regular season, converting 35 of 40 save chances with a 3.78 ERA just one year after going a perfect 49-of-49 on save opportunities.

    He's been removed from the closer's role in favor of Phil Coke, and in three appearances this postseason, he has allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 innings. Don't expect to see him anywhere near the late innings in the World Series.

39. SP Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

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    Madison Bumgarner was one of the best starters in the National League during the regular season, going 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA and striking out 191 in 208.1 innings of work. 

    However, he ended the season with a thud, going 2-3 with a 5.93 ERA over his last six starts—and that carried over into the postseason, as he's 0-2 with 15 hits allowed and 10 earned runs in eight innings. He lost his rotation spot to Tim Lincecum last time around, and it seems unlikely he gets another start from here on out.

    UPDATE: Bumgarner will reportedly start Game 2 for the Giants (h/t CBSSports), so he'll have a chance to redeem himself. With Tim Lincecum in the bullpen, he'll no doubt have a short leash, but his impact will now be far greater than what I anticipated it to be here.

38. SP/RP Drew Smyly, Detroit Tigers

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    Drew Smyly made 23 appearances (18 starts) during the regular season, going 4-3 with a 3.99 ERA, as he made a much bigger contribution than expected in his rookie season.

    He'll be the first guy called on if one of the Tigers starters gets into trouble early, but even if he doesn't fulfill the long-relief role, he gives the team another left-handed option. He's thrown 2.1 scoreless innings in two appearances so far this postseason.

37. RP George Kontos, San Francisco Giants

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    Acquired from the Yankees for backup catcher Chris Stewart back in April, George Kontos pitched well as a rookie, as he appeared in 44 games and posted a 2.47 ERA and 9.1 K/9 over 43.2 innings of work.

    The Giants have a deep bullpen, so he's not been relied on to pitch in high-pressure situations, but he's made seven appearances this postseason and allowed two earned runs over five innings.

36. LF/CF Quintin Berry, Detroit Tigers

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    Quintin Berry saw significant playing time in center field when Austin Jackson went down with an injury in the first half and played well enough to stick on the big league roster as the team's fourth outfielder once Jackson returned.

    The speedster hit .258/.330/.354 over 291 at-bats and went a perfect 21-of-21 on stolen base attempts during the regular season; he's 5-for-18 so far at the plate this postseason.

35. IF Joaquin Arias, San Francisco Giants

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    Joaquin Arias, who didn't even play at the major league level last season, was one of the Giants' biggest contributors off the bench during the regular season with a .270 BA, five HR, 34 RBI line over 319 at-bats while playing third base and shortstop.

    He's 3-for-8 with a pair of doubles so far this postseason and should once again be one of the first guys turned to as a pinch-hitter in the World Series.

34. RP Al Alburquerque, Detroit Tigers

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    A stress fracture in his right elbow cost Al Alburquerque most of the 2012 season, but he was dominant down the stretch with a 0.68 ERA and 12.2 K/9 in 13.1 innings.

    That earned him a spot on the playoff roster, and he's pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in two appearances. While he won't be counted on as a late-inning guy, he has the stuff to thrive in some crucial middle-inning situations.

33. C Hector Sanchez, San Francisco Giants

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    Hector Sanchez earned the backup catcher job out of spring training, and at 22 years old, he enjoyed a solid rookie campaign with a .280 BA, three HR, 34 RBI line over 218 at-bats.

    He'll likely see some World Series starts, either as the DH or spelling Buster Posey behind the plate when Posey plays first base. He's the Giants' best offensive option outside of the usual starting lineup.

32. SS Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants

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    For all that was made of the Giants needing to upgrade the shortstop position, Brandon Crawford finished the season with a decent .248 BA, four HR, 45 RBI line and continued to play fantastic defense on his way to a 2.3 WAR.

    The offense hasn't been there in the postseason, as he's hitting just .206, but he has driven in six runs and continues to play flawless defense at shortstop.

31. C Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers

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    Coming off a breakout season in 2011, Alex Avila struggled with injuries and slumped at the plate in hitting just .243 BA, nine HR, 48 RBI over 367 at-bats during the regular season.

    He's just 5-for-22 with a solo home run so far in the postseason, and while he'll continue to be a leader behind the plate and handles the pitching staff well, don't expect a breakout offensive series.

30. LF Gregor Blanco, San Francisco

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    Forced into the starting job after Melky Cabrera was suspended, Gregor Blanco hit .244 BA, five HR, 34 RBI with 26 steals during the regular season.

    He's hitting just .222 this postseason, but he's done a nice job getting on base with seven walks and a solid .364 on-base percentage. He also has one home run and four RBI, as he's at least given the Giants something from the bottom of the order.

29. 2B Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers

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    Omar Infante didn't do much after being acquired from the Marlins a week before the deadline, hitting .257 BA, four HR, 20 RBI over 226 at-bats with Detroit.

    He's served as a solid catalyst in the postseason, however, hitting .286 with nine runs scored. If he can continue to get on base ahead of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, he'll continue to make his way around the bases.

28. 1B Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

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    Brandon Belt seized a starting job early on in the season and turned in a passable .275 BA, seven HR, 56 RBI campaign in his first full big league season.

    He's hitting just .222 in the postseason and has struck out 12 times in 36 at-bats. Perhaps his towering solo home run in Game 7 of the NLCS will snap him out of it, and he'll make an impact in the World Series. Then again, perhaps not.

27. RP Joaquin Benoit, Detroit Tigers

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    One of the best setup men in all of baseball last season, Joaquin Benoit saw his ERA jump to 3.68 this season, as he was much more prone to the long ball (0.7 HR/9 in 2011, 1.8 HR/9 in 2012). He was still called on often, making 73 appearances, but he was not the sure thing he was the previous few seasons.

    He's made four appearances so far this postseason, allowing two earned runs and five hits in 3.2 innings of work. He'll still be relied on in the late innings, but don't be surprised if Octavio Dotel gets the ball for the eighth inning in the World Series.

26. RF Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants

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    Hunter Pence was a major disappointment after being acquired at the deadline, as he hit just .219 BA, seven HR, 45 RBI over 219 at-bats following his acquisition.

    The struggles have continued into the postseason, as he's hitting just .188 with one home run and three RBI. He's still hitting in a prime spot in the Giants lineup and is one of the team's few legitimate power threats, so don't be surprised if he comes up with a big hit or two in the World Series.

25. LF Andy Dirks, Detroit Tigers

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    Andy Dirks was a pleasant surprise in 2012, as he hit .322 BA, eight HR, 35 RBI in just 314 at-bats and eventually settled into the starting left field job.

    He's hit .257 with one RBI so far in the postseason, but he is someone who is capable of providing a spark in the bottom half of the order and coming through with some big RBI.

24. RF Avisail Garcia, Detroit Tigers

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    Avisail Garcia made his major league debut on August 31, and by the end of the season, he was the team's everyday right fielder. After hitting .299 BA, 14 HR, 58 RBI between High Single-A and Double-A, the 21-year-old hit .319 in 47 big league at-bats down the stretch.

    He's 6-for-18 with a double and four RBI in the postseason and should continue to get the bulk of the at-bats in right field. He has as bright a future as any hitter on either team, and this experience should go a long way toward earning him a starting job with the team next season.

23. RP Santiago Casilla, San Francisco Giants

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    Santiago Casilla was the first to assume closing duties after Brian Wilson went down, and he was nearly perfect in the role early on, as he converted 20 of 21 save chances with a 1.59 ERA. He hit a bump after that, though, as he blew five of his next nine save opportunities before returning to his usual setup role.

    Even with the rough patch, he finished the season with a 2.84 ERA over 73 appearances and ranks as one of the better setup men in the game. He's made nine postseason appearances already and has a 1.59 ERA.

22. RP Javier Lopez, San Francisco Giants

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    Javier Lopez has been part of the ninth-inning picture in San Francisco this season, as he saved seven games during the regular season while posting a 2.50 ERA in 70 appearances.

    He's absolutely devastating against left-handed hitters—he held them to a .191 average during the regular season. While he could still see action in the ninth inning, he's been used somewhat sparingly to this point with just three innings of scoreless work spanning five appearances.

21. RP Octavio Dotel, Detroit Tigers

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    After giving the St. Louis Cardinals a boost down the stretch and in the postseason on their way to a title last season, Octavio Dotel is once again filling a crucial bullpen spot for a World Series team. He made 57 appearances this season and posted a 3.57 ERA and 9.6 K/9.

    He's struck out five in 3.1 scoreless innings so far this postseason, and with Joaquin Benoit no longer a sure thing, Dotel could be the team's primary setup man in the World Series. The 38-year-old certainly isn't short on experience.

20. RP Jeremy Affeldt, San Francisco Giants

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    Since joining the Giants prior to the 2009 season, Jeremy Affeldt has made 261 appearances and posted a stellar 2.73 ERA in 237.1 innings of work as one of the best left-handed relievers in all of baseball.

    He's thrown 8.1 innings of scoreless relief so far this postseason, allowing just five hits and two walks while striking out six. Expect him to pitch in some huge situations, as he's capable of getting both lefties and righties out.

19. CF Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants

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    The trade that sent Andres Torres to the Mets for Angel Pagan goes down as the steal of the offseason, as Pagan hit a solid .288 BA, eight HR, 56 RBI, legged out an MLB-best 15 triples and swiped 29 bases.

    He's hit just .208 atop the Giants lineup this postseason, though he does have two home runs and six RBI. A free agent at season's end, he'll be playing with even more of a sense of urgency in the World Series.

18. SS Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers

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    Jhonny Peralta finished a far cry from his 2011 numbers of .299 BA, 21 HR, 86 RBI this season, as he hit just .239 BA, 13 HR, 63 RBI and did it in six more at-bats.

    However, he's turned it on in the postseason and has been the Tigers' best hitter so far with a .343 BA, two HR, three RBI line and four runs scored. The team has a $6 million option on him for 2013, and a strong performance in the World Series would all but assure that being picked up.

17. RP Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants

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    The Giants were dealt a blow when closer Brian Wilson was lost for the season in April after just two appearances, and after the team tried a number of different guys in the ninth-inning role, Sergio Romo eventually settled into the job and converted 14 of 15 save chances.

    He nailed down his only save chance so far this postseason and also has a win in posting a 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings. The Giants aren't afraid to trot out guys like Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt in the ninth inning if the situation calls for it, but it's Romo who will be the primary ninth-inning guy.

16. RP Phil Coke, Detroit Tigers

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    Phil Coke appeared in 66 games during the regular season, posting a 4.00 ERA and career-high 8.5 K/9 mark as the team's primary left-handed reliever.

    However, he's seemingly shifted into the closer's role in the postseason with Jose Valverde struggling. He's converted both of his save chances and pitched 7.1 scoreless innings over seven appearances as he now becomes the most important pitcher in a deep Tigers bullpen.

15. SP/RP Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants

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    Barry Zito enjoyed his best season as a member of the Giants in 2012, going 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA as he actually earned some of his $19 million salary this season.

    He was pulled in his NLDS start after just 2.2 innings of work, but he threw a gem in the NLCS, going 7.2 innings and allowing six hits and no runs. He'll get the ball opposite Justin Verlander in Game 1, and he could go a long way toward redeeming the past six seasons with a victory.

14. DH/LF Delmon Young, Detroit Tigers

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    Delmon Young put together a solid regular season, hitting .267 BA, 18 HR, 74 RBI and giving the Tigers another legitimate run producer outside of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

    He torched the Yankees in the ALCS for a .353 BA, two HR, six RBI line, and he'll be relied upon once again to help take some of the pressure off the aforementioned duo.

13. SP/RP Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

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    Tim Lincecum struggled through the worst season of his career in 2012, going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA. While he remained in the rotation the entire season, he was not in the Giants rotation when the postseason rolled around. 

    Instead, he was a valuable arm out of the bullpen in the NLDS, going 6.1 innings over two appearances, allowing just one run and picking up a win. That was enough to earn him a start in the NLCS—and regardless of what role he's in during the World Series, he'll be counted on to pitch some important innings.

12. CF Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers

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    Austin Jackson finally tapped into his enormous potential in 2012, as he raised his slash line from .271/.331/.387 in his first two seasons to .300/.377/.479 and emerged as a dynamic hitter atop the Tigers lineup.

    He's kept up his strong play in the postseason with a .297/.350/.514 line and should continue to provide ample RBI opportunities for the Tigers' big boppers in the middle of the lineup.

11. 3B Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants

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    Pablo Sandoval had a decent regular season, hitting .283 BA, 12 HR, 63 RBI over 396 at-bats and earning the start at third base for the NL in the All-Star game. He's certainly capable of more, though, if he can stay healthy and in shape.

    He was the only consistent hitter in the Giants lineup outside of Marco Scutaro in the NLCS, as he had an RBI in each of the last five games of the series. He'll need to keep producing in the middle of the order.

10. SP Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers

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    Anibal Sanchez was acquired from the Marlins at the deadline to shore up the Tigers rotation, and after a shaky start to his time in Detroit, he has settled in as yet another reliable option.

    He pitched a gem in his ALCS start, throwing seven shutout innings and allowing just three hits while striking out seven. A free agent at season's end, he'll look to boost his stock even more with a strong Game 3 start in the World Series.

9. SP Doug Fister, Detroit Tigers

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    Doug Fister was acquired at the deadline in 2011 and settled into the No. 2 spot in the Tigers rotation in the second half after battling injuries early on. In his year-and-a-half with the Tigers, he's 18-11 with a 2.95 ERA over 36 starts.

    He has a pair of no-decisions in the postseason, but has a 1.35 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13.1 innings of work, so he's certainly pitched well enough to win both times he's taken the mound.

8. 2B Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants

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    Marco Scutaro was putting up passable numbers for the struggling Rockies when the Giants picked him up at the deadline. He went on to hit .362 BA, three HR, 44 RBI in 61 games in San Francisco, as he not only shored up second base, but replaced Melky Cabrera's production in the lineup.

    After a 3-for-20 performance in the opening round, Scutaro was amazing in the NLCS, tying a record with 14 hits and winning MVP honors. The Giants will look for him to continue to be a table-setter and catalyst for their lineup against the Tigers.

7. SP Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

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    Max Scherzer enjoyed the best season of his young career in 2012, going 16-7 and striking out 231 hitters in 187.2 innings of work for an MLB-best 11.1 K/9 mark.

    He's been lights-out in two postseason starts, allowing one earned run in 11 innings while striking out 18, showing flashes of being absolutely dominant. If anyone's going to turn in a masterful World Series pitching performance, it could very well be Scherzer.

6. 1B Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers

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    Prince Fielder understandably played largely in the shadow of teammate Miguel Cabrera during the regular season, providing valuable protection for his Triple Crown teammate while hitting .313 BA, 30 HR, 108 RBI himself.

    He hasn't done much so far this postseason, hitting .211 with a home run and three RBI, but if Delmon Young continues to hit well in the No. 5 spot in the lineup, Fielder should see some better pitches to hit.

5. SP Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants

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    Ryan Vogelsong proved that his breakout 2011 season was no fluke, following it up with a 14-9 record and 3.37 ERA in his second season in San Francisco.

    He's been fantastic so far this postseason, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts and winning both of his outings during the NLCS. 

4. C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

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    Buster Posey is the front-runner for NL MVP honors after hitting .336 BA, 24 HR, 103 RBI to win the NL batting title and put any concerns that last season's broken leg would be an issue moving forward in the rear-view mirror.

    He's been quiet so far this postseason, hitting just .178 with two home runs and six RBI, but he's more than capable of breaking out in the World Series and is easily the Giants' most dangerous hitter.

3. SP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

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    Matt Cain officially stepped forward as the ace of the Giants staff in 2012, winning a career-high 16 games and highlighting his season with an All-Star Game start and a perfect game.

    He'll have to wait to make his first 2012 World Series start after starting Game 7 of the NLCS, as he'll look to match the success he enjoyed in his only World Series start of 2010, when he threw 7.2 innings of scoreless ball.

2. 3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

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    With the first Triple Crown since 1967, Miguel Cabrera had a historic regular season and should be a shoo-in for the AL MVP with a .330 BA, 44 HR, 139 RBI line.

    He's been relatively quiet so far in the postseason, with one home run and five RBI, but he's without question the most dangerous hitter on either roster—and shutting him down will be key for the Giants.

1. SP Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

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    The consensus best pitcher in the game today, Justin Verlander had another phenomenal season in 2012 and will be counted on to set the tone with his Game 1 start.

    He's been dominant so far this postseason, allowing just two earned runs in 24.1 innings of work over three starts. No reason to think that trend won't continue in the World Series as he looks to redeem an 0-2 performance in the 2006 World Series.