The 2019 World Series is set, and the matchup between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals will be one filled with an unbelievable amount of talent. Some of the best pitchers and position players in all of baseball will be duking it out for the chance to bring a championship back to their respective cities. Let's take a look which players stand out from the crowd as the cream of the crop.
5. Jose Altuve
It's only fitting that the Astros' hero from Game 6 of the ALCS gets recognized for his talent. After putting up a .903 OPS during the regular season, the small-but-mighty second baseman has found another level in the postseason, swinging the lumber to the tune of five home runs and a .767 slugging percentage through 48 plate appearances. When it comes to October, the 2017 AL MVP is a real difference-maker.
4. Anthony Rendon
A candidate for NL MVP, Rendon provides both offensive and defensive talent that most teams would envy at the hot corner. He logged a 1.010 OPS this year for the Washington Nationals while also snagging a modest-but-respectable one defensive run saved in the infield. He's been every bit as good in the playoffs, too. Rendon has driven seven runs in and managed a 1.058 OPS in 10 games in October and will no doubt be a major factor for the Nationals in the World Series.
3. Justin Verlander
Even after allowing four runs in the first inning to the Yankees in Game 5, Justin Verlander stands out as one of the top players who will take the mound in the World Series. One of two Astros pitchers vying for the Cy Young award this year, he posted a career-low WHIP (0.803) and a career-high 300 strikeouts. While he hasn't quite been his usual, dominant self in October this year, the upside he provides both in experience and in talent is an undeniable plus for Houston.
2. Max Scherzer
Scherzer is quite literally the Nationals' version of Verlander. A tenured veteran and three-time Cy Young winner, Scherzer posted a league-low 2.45 FIP in 2019 while leading the NL with 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He's been even more dominant in the postseason, logging a 1.80 ERA in an even 20 innings of work with 30 strikeouts to boot. Scherzer's a leader both on the field and in the clubhouse, and is easily the best player who will suit up for Washington in the World Series.
1. Gerrit Cole
Cole has been on another planet pitching-wise this year, and he's undeniably the best player who will be taking the field in the Fall Classic. A front-runner for the AL Cy Young award, he hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in a start since August. In the playoffs thus far, he's struck out 32 batters in 22 2/3 innings of work all while allowing just one run on 10 hits and eight walks. Cole's been simply inhuman and quite honestly could be the man to carry the Astros to their second title in three years.