Giants have clear Box-Toppers advantage over Royals in World Series, but since 2014 is underdog year, watch out for David slaying 'Giant'

The San Francisco Giants have the clear Box-Toppers advantage over the Kansas City Royals in the upcoming 2014 World Series.

Giants players accumulated more Box-Toppers points during the regular season and position-by-position match-ups tend to favor Giants in both batting and pitching.

But in a postseason dominated by underdog Davids beating baseball’s Goliaths, it would be folly to rule out the Royals slaying these Giants.

The best-of-seven game World Series begins Tuesday in Kansas City.

Both teams entered the postseason as Wild Cards with no division title. Both had to endure a one-game Wild Card playoff. Both went on to beat the top-seeded team in their league in their League Division Series. All around them, the mighty teams fell, leaving two final teams no one could have predicted. 

The Giants have the fewest Box-Toppers points of any team to qualify to play in one of the National League Division Series—they are ranked eighth among all teams with 110.8 Box-Toppers points. The Royals have the fewest Box-Toppers points of any American League team to qualify for the playoffs—they are ranked 10th, with 101.1 Box-Toppers points.

With the downtrodden, underdog quality of both teams, it’s hard to cast the Giants as “Goliath.” If anything, the 2014 World Series between the Royals and Giants will not be a contest of David and Goliath, but one of David and a slightly-larger David.

But is it possible that in this topsy-turvy postseason that being the lesser team actually is the thing that gives a team the advantage? If so, then the Royals are bound to win. They are the bigger underdog, having not won a World Series since 1985 and have endured a playoff drought ever since. Meanwhile, the Giants win the Fall Classic every even-numbered year. (But the Royals bigger underdog status does have one flaw—they actually won more games during the regular season than did the Giants—89 to 88.)

The Royals may also have the advantage in the bullpen with three pitchers closing down teams at the end of playoff games. They may also have an advantage with speed on the bases and defense, factors Box-Toppers doesn’t directly measure. 

Below are position-by-position match-ups of each player likely in the starting line-up for both teams, along with the highest-rated starting pitchers in Box-Toppers points, the top closing pitcher and an extra pitcher. Also listed are each player’s Box-Toppers points earned in 2014, along with their overall rank among all players.

Matching up 15 key players against each other position-by-position, the Giants have the advantage in nine spots, the Royals only in six spots (the players with the advantage below are denoted with a checkmark in the “Adv” column). The Giants have the advantage in both batting and pitching. In the nine key batting positions, the Giants have the advantage in five spots, the Royals four. In six key pitching spots, the Giants have the advantage, 4-2.

When adding the Box-Toppers points of those 15 key players together, the Giants have the advantage over the Royals—92.1 Box-Toppers points to 83.1.

The Giants have two players who will be on Box-Toppers end-of-season NL All-Star team:

• Madison Bumgarner, starting pitcher, 22.6 Box-Toppers points, ranked third among all players and second among NL pitchers.

• Buster Posey, catcher, 8.5 Box-Toppers points, ranked second among NL batters.

The Royals have one player who will be on Box-Toppers end-of-season AL All-Star team:

• Wade Davis, middle relief pitcher, 7.0 Box-Toppers points, first among AL middle relievers.

We have taken some liberties with the “starting” players listed below. We’ve plugged Michael Morse into the designated hitter spot for the Giants (when they play in Kansas City) because he is the batter with the most regular season Box-Toppers points who hasn’t regularly started in postseason games. Tim Lincecum has not pitched yet this postseason and hasn’t started a game since August, but he is listed because he is still on postseason rosters and still has the second-most Box-Toppers points among Giants starters this season (he pitched a no-hitter on June 25). Sergio Romo is listed as closer for the Giants (even though Santiago Casilla has been closing games recently) because Romo has more Box-Toppers points.

World Series Game 1: Giants at Royals

The pitching matchup Tuesday:

Giants: Madison Bumgarner, 22.6 Box-Toppers points, ranked third among all players, second among NL pitchers.

Royals: James Shields, 13.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked 22nd among all players, 11th among AL pitchers.

Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. In regular season games, players earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.

World Series player comparisons

Likely starting players for the Giants and Royals listed by position with their Box-Toppers point total (BTP) for the 2014 regular season and their overall player rank among all players. The column "Adv" shows which team's position player has a higher Box-Toppers player ranking. 

Giants BTP Rank Adv
Royals BTP Rank Adv
1B Brandon Belt 2.0 412 Eric Hosmer 2.5 368
2B Joe Panik 1.0 701 Omar Infante 4.0 243
SS Brandon Crawford 3.0 322 Alicides Escboar 5.0 190
3B Pablo Sandoval 4.5 220 Mike Moustakas 4.0 251
CA Buster Posey 8.5 76 Salvador Perez 4.7 210
CF Gregor Blanco 3.0 346 Lorenzo Cain 2.0 421
LF Travis Ishikawa 1.0 644 Alex Gordon 3.0 203
RF Hunter Pence 2.5 367 Norichika Aoki 2.0 443
DH Michael Morse 6.5 144 Billy Butler 2.5 365
SP Madison Bumgarner 22.6 3 James Shields 13.7 22
SP Tim Lincecum 10.4 54 Danny Duffy 10.0 58
SP Tim Hudson 8.7 71 Yordano Ventura 8.7 75
SP Ryan Vogelsong 8.7 74 Jason Vargas 7.0 107
CP Sergio Romo 4.0 242 Greg Holland 7.0 106
PI Jake Peavy 5.7 165 Jeremy Guthrie 7.0 113