The World Series MVP dates back to 1955 and has honored some of baseball’s greatest players. There was Sandy Koufax in ’63 and ‘65, Bob Gibson in ’64 and ‘67, Roberto Clemente in ’71, Reggie Jackson in ‘73 and '77, Pete Rose in ’75 and Derek Jeter in ’00. It’s an award that was dominated by pitchers in its early years, but recently has been awarded to position players more often than not. With the Mets and the Royals set to meet in the 2015 World Series, here’s a look at some of the top candidates from both teams heading into the series.
Mets: Daniel Murphy, second base
The Mets second baseman has been the toast of the playoffs thus far. He broke the consecutive game home run record with seven straight, a record he’ll look to continue in Game 1. With another homer, he’ll tie for the most homers in a single postseason. But it’s not just the dingers, he’s been great all around batting .421/.436/1.026 with 16 hits, seven homers, 11 RBI and 11 runs in these playoffs.
Mets: Yoenis Cespedes, outfield
The Mets’ midseason acquisition had a blistering second half, and it’s continued to some degree in the playoffs. Though nothing can quite compare to Murphy’s dominance, Cespedes’s nine hits, two homers, seven RBI and six runs have been crucial to his team’s success. He exited Game 4 of the NLCS with a shoulder injury, so it's unknown how that will hold up in the World Series, but assuming he’s all right, his impact will be felt.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesAlex Trautwig
Mets: Curtis Granderson, right field
Granderson has been quietly having a tremendous postseason. The right fielder has 10 hits, two doubles, seven RBI and four stolen bases. A couple of those stolen bases have led directly to runs. He also robbed a homer from the Cubs’ Chris Coghlan in the NLCS. Granderson's combination of contact, speed and defense could come up big again against the Royals.
Getty ImagesMike Stobe
Mets: Matt Harvey, starting pitcher
Harvey has won two games in as many starts for the Mets so far this postseason. Over 12 2/3 innings, he’s sporting a 2.84 ERA with 16 strikeouts. He’s scheduled to start Game 1 of the World Series and could also pitch Game 5 and be available out of the bullpen in Game 7. Similar to Madison Bumgarner last year, who won the MVP, this might be Harvey’s turn.
Mets: Jacob deGrom, starting pitcher
Enjoying even more postseason success than Harvey is his rotation-mate. DeGrom has pitched brilliantly in the postseason. Last year’s NL Rookie of the Year seems to love the big moments and has a 3-0 record with a 1.80 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 20 innings. While Harvey is getting the Game 1 start, it could be deGrom that steals the show and MVP honors for the Mets.
Getty ImagesSean M. Haffey
Royals: Ben Zobrist, second base
Zobrist has flown under the radar a bit with seemingly every Royal slapping hits all over the place, but the versatile second baseman has the second-most hits on the team (14), most doubles (four) and most runs (10) this postseason. He’s also added two homers and six RBI, further proving his worth as a midseason acquisition for a team that suffered through 124 games of Omar Infante’s .220 average.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesJon Blacker
Royals: Alcides Escobar, shortstop
Escobar won the ALCS MVP award after swatting 11 hits with two doubles and a triple in just six games. He became accustomed to swinging early in counts, a lot of the time on the first pitch, and was a pitcher's nightmare for 27 plate appearances. On the defensive end, Escobar flashed plenty of leather as the Royals eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays. Two of the last four World Series MVP’s have also won the LCS MVP award, so an Escobar win could be likely.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesLG Patterson
Royals: Lorenzo Cain, center field
Cain always seems to around the action for the Royals. Another of the team’s roster of complete players, Cain can do it all. He routinely makes difficult plays in center field look routine. He’s great on the base paths and good with the bat. It would be no surprise if he came away with the hardware.
Toronto Star via Getty ImagesRick Madonik
Royals: Salvador Perez, catcher
Perez is one of the team’s leaders. He plays catcher with a child-like enthusiasm. As someone who delivered big hits in last year’s World Series run for the Royals, it’s entirely possible that Salvy is the one who comes up clutch. While he’s struggled a bit with the bat overall this postseason, his four home runs are tied for the team lead.
Toronto Star via Getty ImagesSteve Russell
Royals: Kendrys Morales, designated hitter
Morales, who is tied for the team lead with four postseason homers, wasn’t here for last year’s run. The Royals brought him in to replace Billy Butler and the slugger has flourished. Along with the four dingers, he has 10 RBI and five runs. One big swing could be the decider in this series, and Morales has the swing to do it. Honorable mentions: Eric Hosmer, Wade David, Mike Moustakas, and seemingly every other Royal. It’s too hard to choose.