2014 World Series Preview and Prediction From WhatIfSports.com image

2014 MLB Playoffs: World Series Prediction

We simulate the Giants vs. Royals to predict the World Series winner

WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: October 23, 2014

Using our MLB simulation engine, we "played" the Giants vs. Royals 2014 best-of-seven World Series 101 times.

In the predictions below, you will find each team's chances of advancing to the World Series and how often they win in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games.

Check back throughout the World Series for updated predictions.

World Series Prediction: Giants vs. Royals

The World Series is foreign territory for the Kansas City Royals. The last time the club reached this juncture of the season, Pete Rose had just broken Ty Cobb's hit record, "Back to the Future" was tops at the box office and Nintendo had yet to make its American debut. For those needing further: 14 members of this year's roster weren't even born when George Brett, Charlie Leibrandt, Brett Saberhagen and the rest of the 1985 Royals took home baseball's crown.

On the opposite end of the Fall Classic spectrum reside the San Francisco Giants. Bruce Bochy's clubs have made this series a recurring fall event, with the franchise making its third appearance in the last five seasons. More importantly, many of the current Giants were a part of the squad's 2012 championship run.

Yet experience is no guarantee of efficiency, evidenced in the Royals' conquests over veteran-laden teams in the A's, Angels and Orioles this postseason. Will Kansas City's October magic continue, or is San Francisco's autumn familiarity too much to overcome? Let's go to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com baseball simulation engine for the answer:

Giants vs. Royals: 101 Simulations of Best-of-7 Series
MatchupWin %4-Games %5-Games %6-Games %7-Games %
Giants61.46.913.919.820.8
Royals38.62.014.97.913.9
Simulate San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals
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UPDATE FOLLOWING GAME 2
MatchupWin %5-Games %6-Games %7-Games %
Giants50.516.815.817.8
Royals49.510.923.814.9

UPDATE: We simulated the rest of the World Series following the Royals' Game 2 victory. The Giants won the series in 50.5 percent of simulations, down from 61.4 percent prior to the start of the World Series. If the Giants win, a seven-game series is the most likely outcome. However, the most frequent occurrence in our simulation was a Royals victory in six games, which happened 23.8 percent of the time.

Had the Giants won Game 2, their likelihood to win the series would have improved to 86.1 percent, with a five-game win the most common outcome.

It's somewhat amazing the Giants find themselves in this position. Three of their five highest-players have been non-factors this postseason, with Matt Cain and Angel Pagan out for the year with injuries while the organization is reliving its Barry Zito nightmare with Tim Lincecum.

Despite the absence of such prominent arms, it's the rotation that brought San Francisco the National League pennant. In 99 innings of work, the Giants posted a 2.18 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Of course, these numbers are jaded by the lights-out display from Madison Bumgarner. In over 31 innings of action, the 25-year-old lefty has surrendered just five runs while striking out 28 batters. Better yet, Bumgarner is no stranger to this heightened stage, with 15 scoreless innings under his belt in two previous World Series outings. With Bumgarner taking the rubber in Game 1, the Giants are undoubtedly confident in their outlook.

Simulation ERAs
Team ERA
Giants Rotation 3.98
Giants Bullpen 3.41
Royals Rotation 4.98
Royals Bullpen 3.12

The same cannot be said for the San Francisco bats. In 10 postseason games, the Giants have struggled with the lumber, batting .244 with just 41 runs. Granted, stars Buster Posey (.302, five ribbies) and Pablo Sandoval (.326 average, six runs) have done their part, but for the club to grab another title, the Giants' ancillary parts will need to elevate their performance.

Kansas City can't sympathize with these plate woes. Since the All-Star Break, the Royals have been swinging a hot stick, a streak that's carried into the playoffs. In eight postseason contests, the Boys in Blue are averaging 5.25 runs per game. Eric Hosmer has been the catalyst for this offensive surge, going 13-for-29 in the past eight games with eight RBI and a .556 OBP. Lorenzo Cain, the ALCS MVP, has also been making his mark in the box scores with 12 hits and nine runs, as well as flashing some sweet leather in the field. Coupled with the pop of Mike Moustakas (four homers) and Alex Gordon (nine RBI), the Royals present quite a formidable lineup.

Alas, Kansas City is far from flawless. The one they call "Big Game James" has been anything but this postseason, giving up 21 hits and 10 runs in 16 innings. Yordano Ventura, the projected starter for Game 2, hasn't been much better, illustrated in a 4.85 ERA in the playoffs. In total, the Royals have a mere three quality starts in eight games this fall. For Kanas City to complete their Cinderella-like tale, the starting staff needs to rise to the challenge.

So who emerges victorious in the 2014 World Series? According to the WhatIfSports.com baseball simulation engine, the Giants come out on top 61.4 percent of the time, with a seven-game series the most likely outcome.

Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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