World Series Predictions: Projecting Which Players Will Have Biggest Impact
The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals rode strong team efforts to the 2013 World Series, but they will both rely on a few individual players to take home the hardware.
From elite pitchers to clutch hitters, look for the following players to make the biggest impact on this year's Fall Classic.
Michael Wacha, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
The 22-year-old Wacha has been red-hot lately, having given up just one earned run in 21 postseason innings.
Wacha's composure is remarkable for his experience level, and although he will be facing the best offense in baseball, I'm expecting him to deliver on the game's biggest stage.
Wacha was clinical in the NLCS, giving up just seven hits in 13.2 scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He won't be quite that flawless against Boston, but he should give the Cardinals at least one important W.
Mike Napoli, 1B, Boston Red Sox
The bearded Napoli stole the show in Game 5 of the ALCS, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored. But that wasn't the only time he produced.
After struggling for much of the season, Napoli came alive against the Detroit Tigers. In the six-game ALCS, he hit .300 while scoring four runs.
Those aren't mind-boggling numbers, but if Napoli can produce something similar against St. Louis, he will put his team in an excellent position.
David Freese, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Freese was pretty quiet in the NLCS, but after his monster 2011 World Series, he will be expected to provide a major boost for St. Louis.
Freese was named MVP of the 2011 World Series thanks to his clutch hitting. For the entire 2011 postseason, Freese went 25-for-63 (.397) with five home runs and 21 RBI.
He also saved the Cardinals in the epic Game 6 of the 2011 Series, blasting a game-tying triple in the ninth and a walk-off homer in the 11th to win it.
I wouldn't expect such theatrics this time around, but look for Freese to make a major impact on this series.
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