Albert Pujols will be the best player on the field when the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers square off in Game 1 of the 2011 World Series Wednesday, but that doesn't guarantee the Cards anything. Nor does it matter that the Rangers possess perhaps the next five players if the two sides are stacked up and ranked by individual quality.
Playoff series are about luck and timing, good management and good execution. The team with the better roster wins perhaps three of every five such series. It may not be that much.
Still, we have little evidence of a consistent model for postseason success. Deep teams do not necessarily outperform top-heavy ones; good pitching does not always beat good hitting.
Absent any clear set of intangible or big-picture criteria, one easy way to line up this series and predict its outcome is to simply rank the players on the two 25-man rosters, and examine the composition of that list. Here is such a construct.