- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
The Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals are evenly matched and very similar in several aspects, possessing many of the same strengths and weaknesses. Both boast explosive lineups and deep bullpens, but both have shallow starting rotations.
The Cardinals came the furthest, having to win their way in on the last day of the regular season. They did it by relying on ace Chris Carpenter, and they might have to do so again. Carpenter stands out as a possible difference-maker; he outdueled Roy Halladay to lead the Cards past the Phillies 1-0 in the pivotal NLDS Game 5. The Rangers' rotation doesn't match up to that of either the Milwaukee Brewers or Philadephia Phillies, but the Rangers' lineup sure does. And Texas' bullpen is closed for business from the eighth inning on.
But paper doesn't decide wins and losses, players do. So let's take a look at all 50 players on the rosters of the teams in the 2011 World Series.
The best offensive player in baseball since Barry Bonds, Pujols drives the Cardinals' lineup. He can hit with power to all fields and works first base at a Gold Glove level. He is head-and-shoulders the best player in the World Series.
He's an above-average defender in both center and left with a strong arm. Hamilton has power and plate discipline like Pujols and will impact the game on both sides -- with his bat and glove. He owns a bright baseball mind and is a great student of the game.
1dKevin Van Valkenburg