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MLB Roundtable: World Series Predictions

Will it be the Astros or Braves hoisting the Commissioner's Trophy? Our MLB experts make their picks.
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This is the World Series few people expected. Before the season, most of us were too caught up in the NL West Arms Race and the Steve Cohen Mets to pay much attention to Atlanta—SI's Tom Verducci being the the exception. Maybe we should have seen Houston's coming out of the American League. But the Yankees, Blue Jays, White Sox and Rays were either flashier or safer picks.

After the 162-game slog, four of our MLB writers predicted the Astros would take the AL pennant, with Stephanie Apstein selecting them to win the World Series, but none of our MLB writers predicted this matchup. Though, once again, NostraTOMus picked the Braves to win it all.

So, who will it be? Houston or Atlanta? Let's try this again.

Astros DH Yordan Alvarez and Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario

Tom Verducci

World Series prediction: Atlanta over Houston (seven games)

The Astros are hurt in the middle three games (no DH) with an outfield of Brantley/Tucker/Alvarez. Look for big offensive swings late in most games: the hitting on both sides is that good.

World Series MVP: Ozzie Albies

He’s been quiet this postseason (.262, 0 HR). He bats with plenty of runners on base and can influence a game in more ways than anybody on the Braves.

Stephanie Apstein

World Series Prediction: Houston over Atlanta (five games)

Atlanta is not the 88-win team its record says it is. It's probably also not its post-deadline record, when it revamped its outfield and went 37–19, a 107-win pace, but it's somewhere in between. That said, the Astros are an absolute monster of a club. They were in the process of being dismantled by the Red Sox when they suddenly, mid-game, shifted their entire strategy and went on to outscore Boston 21–1 over the last 26 innings. Atlanta is really good. But I can't pick against Houston.

World Series MVP: Carlos Correa

Emma Baccellieri

World Series Prediction: Atlanta over Houston (seven games)

Yes, the Astros were the better team over the course of the season. But the lack of starting pitching depth here right now is worrisome—particularly with the news that an injured Lance McCullers Jr. will be left off the roster for the World Series. Even if Houston can count on sharp performances from Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia, as it did in the ALCS, there will still be considerable gaps to navigate. Ultimately, I think that just might be too much to overcome against this tough Braves lineup.

World Series MVP: Tyler Matzek

If he has a few relief outings in the same vein as those that he had in the NLCS—and in much of the season before that—this just might be a no-brainer.

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Oct 17, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Guillermo Heredia (38) celebrates with toy swords as  left fielder Eddie Rosario (8) celebrates his walk off game winning RBI against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game two of the 2021 NLCS at Truist Park.

Will Laws

World Series Prediction: Atlanta over Houston (six games)

For the first time this postseason, Atlanta's rotation appears to have an advantage over its opponent's. The Astros' league-best offense will surely provide a stern test, but the Braves' pitching staff just held the defending champions' star-laden lineup to two runs or fewer in three of six NLCS contests, and none of Houston's pitchers should scare Atlanta after overcoming the Scherzer-Buehler-Urías troika. In what should be a relatively high-scoring series featuring perhaps the two most offensively talented infields in baseball, I expect Atlanta to ride clutch outings from Charlie Morton and Max Fried to the title.

World Series MVP: Ozzie Albies

Matt Martell

World Series Prediction: Houston over Atlanta (seven games)

I finally got a series prediction right! I was 0-for-6 before the Astros beat the Red Sox in the ALCS, and then promptly dropped the NLCS on the next night. Good thing I'm not a betting man.

Anyway, Houston is the better team, with a lineup that is so good it can afford to start one of the worst-hitting everyday players in MLB history behind the plate. The absence of Lance McCullers Jr. and the Zack Greinke's rust will hurt its pitching staff a bit, and Atlanta's pitching has looked pretty great for most of October. That will make this a series—as will Eddie Rosario, Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley.

Look for the Astros to play aggressive on the bases—opponents are 11-for-11 this postseason when stealing off Atlanta. This is Dusty Baker's time, and he'll finally win his elusive managerial World Series title.

World Series MVP: Yordan Alvarez

He hits for power and crushes lefties better than any other left-handed slugger in baseball. Atlanta's bullpen has a number of high-leverage lefties, including A.J. Minter, NLCS hero Tyler Matzek and closer Will Smith. Alvarez will get some big hits late in games to decide the series.

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Oct 8, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) hits a double and drives in a run against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning in game two of the 2021 ALDS at Minute Maid Park.

Nick Selbe

World Series Prediction: Houston over Atlanta (seven games)

After getting shelled by Boston's lineup to start the ALCS, Houston's pitching staff clamped down to allow just three runs over the last three games. The Braves' lineup is hot and playing with plenty of confidence, but it won't be a stiffer test than the Red Sox. Houston's offense delivered in the ALCS despite little contributions from Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley. If that duo picks up the pace, it will likely be the difference in what should be a tight series.

World Series MVP: Yuli Gurriel

More MLB Coverage:
Dusty Baker's Time Is Now
'Hell No. We're Doing It Tonight': How Atlanta's Season Shifted
Tyler Matzek's Improbable Journey to Immortality in Atlanta
Pearls Before Swing: Meet the Man Behind the Joctober Bling

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