World Series position-by-position breakdown

( - You could bill it as destiny versus dynasty.

The San Francisco Giants are going after their third World Series title in five years, while the Kansas City Royals are seeking their first crown since 1985.

It's a matchup nobody envisioned at the beginning of the playoffs, let alone the start of the season, as the Royals and Giants become the first World Series matchup between wild card teams since the Angels beat San Francisco in 2002.

This also marks the first World Series in a non-shortened season to feature two teams with fewer than 90 wins in the regular season.

Kansas City's run in October has been nothing short of spectacular, as it has become the first team in major league history to start its postseason with eight consecutive wins.

After rallying to beat Oakland in the wild card game, the Royals swept both the Angels and Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS and ALCS, respectively.

San Francisco has taken a similar path, winning a wild card game (Pittsburgh), then taking out the best team in the National League (Washington), before securing its sixth pennant since moving from New York with a thrilling series win over St. Louis.

While the Royals are in the midst of a historic run, San Francisco is 15-2 in its last 17 in the postseason, a run that also includes two World Series titles.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the matchups at each position:


Buster Posey is one of the best players in baseball. He could be in the mix for his second NL MVP Award after a second half that saw him hit .354 with 12 home runs, 13 doubles and 43 RBI in 62 games. That's continued here in the postseason, as he's batting .333 with five RBI.

Given how much the Royals run the spotlight in this series will be on Posey, who threw out runners at a 29.8 percent clip this season, fifth in MLB among 15 qualified MLB catchers

Salvador Perez is as good as there is behind the plate, but he has struggled offensively in October. He may have had the winning hit in the wild card win, but is batting just .118 this postseason.



Brandon Belt has been solid this postseason after hitting just .243 in the regular season. He's batting .286 in these playoffs with a .781 OPS. Belt also delivered the game-winning homer in the Giants' 18-inning win over the Nationals in Game 2 of the NLDS.

Like Belt, Eric Hosmer he has turned it on in the playoffs and is hitting .448 in the Royals' eight playoff games.

Both are above average defensively, but Hosmer has just been tremendous in October.



Joe Panik was one of the best rookies in the league this season and that has carried into the postseason. Panik homered in the Giants' clincher and has struck out just once in the playoffs. However, he's only batting .239 and managed just four hits in 22 at-bats against the Cardinals.

Still, he's better than Omar Infante, one of the few Royals who doesn't use his legs to his advantage. Infante has struck out nine times in eight games and is batting just .207.



Pablo Sandoval has become one of the best postseason hitters of all-time and enters this series having reached base safely in 23 straight postseason games. Although he only has one RBI this postseason, he's hitting .326, while playing a terrific third base.

Mike Moustakas has followed up an awful regular season that saw him hit .212 with a power surge in October, as he has a .655 slugging percentage with a .922 OPS and four home runs in the playoffs.



Brandon Crawford set the tone for the Giants with a grand slam in the wild card win over the Pirates, but has hit just .211 in the playoffs. Still, anything San Francisco gets out of him at the plate is gravy, as he is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game.

Alcides Escobar is also a shortstop known more for his defense than what he brings to the plate, but he is hitting .278 this postseason and homered against the Orioles in the ALCS. It's his speed, though, that gives him the edge here.



Travis Ishikawa's pennant-clinching home run will go down in Giants history. As a great moment as it was, Ishikawa is a journeyman and admittedly, he is a first baseman playing left field.

Alex Gordon, on the other hand, is the best defensive left fielder in baseball. He also hit 19 home runs this season and leads the Royals with nine RBI in October.



Gregor Blanco did his part for the Giants in the regular season and has played some solid defense in the postseason. Offensively, though, he is only hitting .159

The best part of this postseason has been America's introduction to Lorenzo Cain, who has become the breakout star of these playoffs. He may not have hit much in the ALDS, but his play in center field was as big a part of that series win. Cain let his bat do the talking against the Orioles, as he batted .533 (8-for-15) with two doubles, two walks and a stolen base and was named the MVP of the series.



Hunter Pence has become the vocal leader of the Giants. Plus he's one of the few Giants who has any power and he also stole 13 bases.

Nori Aoki has been tremendous at the plate this October, hitting .285, while getting on base almost 35-percent of the time as the team's leadoff hitter. He also stole 17 bases during the season.

Both are an adventure in the field. They both look awkward out there, but more times than not they make the play. Still, Pence's power threat and overall intangibles gives him the edge.



An oblique strain limited Mike Morse to just two at-bats since Aug. 31 before the NLCS. It was not a coincidence that the Giants struggled to score runs without him. He only had four at-bats against the Cardinals, but one was a game-tying home run in the eighth inning of the Game 5 triumph.

Billy Butler, one of the longer tenured Royals, had another solid season. But, "Country Breakfast" is what he is at this point. No longer the doubles machine he used to be, Butler can still be a threat at the plate and had one of the Royals' two RBI in their clinching win over the O's and has driven in five RBI this postseason.



San Francisco doesn't have many glaring advantages for this series, but it does have one with regards to the starting staff, namely left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

If there was no Kershaw we may very well be talking about an NL Cy Young Award for Bumgarner, who set career-high marks in wins (18) and strikeouts (219) and pitched to a 2.98 ERA.

That has carried over into the postseason, as he has pitched to a 1.42 ERA in four starts and 31 2/3 innings this postseason.

Bumgarner will be on regular rest if Bochy opts to use him in Game 1 against the Royals. And he should, as Bumgarner was also one of the best road pitchers in the league this season, going 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 18 starts away from AT&T Park. Both of his postseason wins this season have come on the road.

Bumgarner is followed by a pair of right-handed veterans in Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson, both of whom have been terrific in the playoffs. Ryan Vogelsong will also get a start and is 3-0 all-time in the postseason with a 2.16 ERA in six starts.

If there is one perceived weakness within the Royals it could be their starting pitching.

James Shields is the ace and will likely go in Game 1, but he certainly hasn't lived up to his "Big Game" moniker come October, as he is just 3-4 in nine postseason starts with a 5.19 ERA. He's also pitched to a 5.63 ERA in three starts in these playoffs.

Royals manager Ned Yost hasn't announced his rotation, but if he opts to not change anything, Shields will be followed by hard-throwing rookie Yordano Ventura, veteran Jeremy Guthrie and lefty Jason Vargas.



Kansas City's bullpen gets a ton of attention, and rightfully so, but the Giants corps has actually outpitched them from a statistical standpoint this postseason.

The Giants bullpen, which is spearheaded by closer Santiago Casilla, has pitched to a 1.78 ERA in the playoffs and has struck out 30 batters in 35 1/3 innings.

Lefty Yusmeiro Petit has been particularly effective in a long relief role, as he has two wins and has struck out 11 over nine scoreless innings.

Kansas City relievers, meanwhile, allowed two runs in five innings in Game 1 against the O's, but pitched 11 2/3 scoreless innings the rest of the way. The three-headed monster of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland pitched to a 0.61 ERA over 14 2/3 frames.

Holland saved all four games in the series for the Royals, while no Kansas City starter recorded an out after the sixth inning.

Overall, KC's pen has pitched to a 1.80 ERA in 35 innings.

Kansas City's 'pen is 6-0 with six saves, and San Francisco is 5-1 with five.

This is a case of stats not telling the whole story. As good as the Giants pen has been, you just have more faith in the Royals group getting the job done in a big spot.



As Morse showed, he'll give the Giants some right-handed pop off the bench. Joaquin Arias will also be used in some late-inning running situations. Rounding out the bench will likely be outfielder Juan Perez, infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Andrew Susac.

Yost has two terrific speed options off his bench in outfielders Terrance Gore and Jarrod Dyson. Also, Josh Willingham has some pop from the right-hand side, not to mention Butler could become a huge factor in San Francisco.

The speed on the Royals' side, though, gives them the advantage.



This is the third time in the last five years that Bochy has led the Giants to the World Series. He also guided the San Diego Padres to the postseason four times, including a World Series appearance in 1998. If he wins another title here, he may be on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Nobody has been criticized more than Yost. He's left fans in Kansas City scratching their heads so often that they've coined a new adjective to describe situations when they seemed doomed by their manager: #yosted. You can call him a dunce all you want, but he's now the first manager in baseball history to guide his team to eight straight victories to start the postseason.