World Series matchup: Schwartz's picks

World Series matchup: Schwartz's picks

As the World Series approaches, MLB.com is asking experts to chime in on who has the edge at particular matchups. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-100, factoring in various statistical analyses, experience, recent performance and moxie.

Since both team's will determine their pitching rotations over the course of the series, all potential starting options are considered.

Additionally, in games at Yankee Stadium, Ben Francisco will play left field for the Phillies, with Raul Ibanez shifting to DH. Since the games Francisco will be starting will be the same ones that will be started by regular Yankees DH Hideki Matsui, that's the matchup here: Francisco vs. Matsui.

With that criteria in mind, here's what MLB.com's Cory Schwartz had to say ...

Position by Position Ratings and Analysis
Position Team Players Ratings Analysis
C PHI
NYY
Carlos Ruiz
Jorge Posada
70
79
Posada is the superior bat but struggled against the Angels and has enjoyed little World Series success, while Ruiz has a career postseason OPS over 100 points above his regular-season mark. Both are average defensively and at stopping the run, though the Phillies are likely to test Posada.
1B PHI
NYY
Ryan Howard
Mark Teixeira
87
89
Already an offensive force, the slimmed-down Howard is much-improved defensively and on the bases; lefties can handle him, so he may struggle against Sabathia and Pettite, but the Yankees lack an equivalent bullpen weapon. Teixeira is among the best all-around talents at the position despite a relatively quiet postseason.
2B PHI
NYY
Chase Utley
Robinson Cano
93
84
Factoring in offense, defense and baserunning, Utley may be the game's finest all-around player, though his ongoing autumn slump is cause for concern. Cano's offensive game rebounded this season and he made huge strides defensively, yet he is still not to Utley's level in any facet of the game.
SS PHI
NYY
Jimmy Rollins
Derek Jeter
78
98
Jeter is simply the game's premier postseason player and will likely add to his highlight reel at some point in the series. Rollins posted a brutal .296 OBP this season and hasn't improved it during the postseason; his continued struggles may undermine the Phillies' chances of matching the Yankees offensively.
3B PHI
NYY
Pedro Feliz
Alex Rodriguez
66
91
A-Rod is on an absolute tear, completely exorcising his postseason ghosts with an otherworldly 1.517 OPS against the Twins and Angels, while playing solid defense. Feliz, on the other hand, is above-average with the glove but offers little with the bat other than the infrequent long ball.
LF PHI
NYY
Raul Ibanez
Johnny Damon
80
83
Although their styles may differ, Ibanez and Damon are very similar in terms of value: Ibanez features more power and a stronger outfield arm, while Damon boasts superior on-base skills and speed, although the Phillies are sure to test his outfield arm, which is among the weakest in the game.
CF PHI
NYY
Shane Victorino
Melky Cabrera
84
74
Victorino is a solid all-around player enjoying a strong postseason, with a combined 1.161 OPS through the first two rounds. Cabrera is a similar offensive player, and enjoyed a strong series against the Angels, but falls short of Victorino's on-base skills and power. Both are strong defensively.
RF PHI
NYY
Jayson Werth
Nick Swisher
85
72
Both Werth and Swisher offer plenty of power and on-base skills, and both are sound defensively. However the similarities end there, as Werth is a capable base-stealer with a plus arm and is on a roll offensively. Swisher, on the other hand, may lose at-bats if his postseason struggles persist.
DH PHI
NYY
Ben Francisco
Hideki Matsui
69
76
Matsui is a key part of the Yankees' offensive machine, with power and plate discipline. While Francisco lacks his offensive skills, he does add an element of speed on the bases and is a superior defensive player who will allow the Phillies to slide Ibanez into the DH spot.
Bench Phillies
Yankees
65
74
The Phillies have a shallow bench and rarely use it; Francisco will be the only reserve to see any meaningful exposure in the World Series. The Yankees' bench features more options, with speedsters Brett Gardner and Freddy Guzman, and versatile Jerry Hariston, Jr., likely to play bigger roles.
Starters PHI


NYY
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels
Pedro Martinez
J.A. Happ
Joe Blanton

CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Andy Pettitte
Chad Gaudin
86
81
78
75
72

92
79
82
66
The Yankees will likely stick with a three-man rotation, with Sabathia, the most dominant pitcher of this postseason, getting three starts if needed. Lee has nearly been Sabathia's match thus far, but the Phillies' rotation is unsettled behind him, as Hamels has not built on last season's postseason dominance.
Closer PHI
NYY
Brad Lidge
Mariano Rivera
71
99
Rivera is the most dominant late-inning weapon in postseason history, while Lidge struggled through a historically bad season. He may be righting himself in this postseason, with four shutout innings, but any regression would put the Phillies at a major disadvantage in the late innings.
Setup Phillies
Yankees
74
79
Ryan Madson and Chan Ho Park have struggled in the postseason, so expect Charlie Manuel to mix and match throughout. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have both been erratic in the postseason as well, but Damaso Marte may be the key, as he'll need to neutralize the Phillies' left-handed mashers.
Manager PHI
NYY
Charlie Manuel
Joe Girardi
84
80
Manuel has proven himself this postseason to be a superb tactician, adroitly choosing from among numerous useful but inconsistent pitching options. Girardi has taken criticism for perceived overuse of his bullpen and excessive bunting, but his aggressive use of Mariano Rivera shows a savvy deployment of his most valuable weapon.
Projected Winning Team
Winning team Games Analysis
Yankees Six The Phillies are among the few teams with the firepower to match the Yankees, though their weak lower third puts additional pressure on their offensive core. The Yankees' superior plate discipline may tax the Phillies' inconsistent bullpen, and in Rivera, the Yankees enjoy the most dominant edge of any positional matchup.