So, what can we take from this World Series. Or, actually the better question is, what can baseball take from this? Even better, what can the Rangers take from this?
Both Houston and Washington placed a premium on starting pitching. The Nationals, in fact, had zero faith in its bullpen.
Starting pitching, in spite of what the number geeks say, still rules the day. Have great starters, you win. The more great starters you have, the more you win. Teams that depend on openers and clever ways around paying starters can win during the regular season but they are only outsmarting themselves in October. Every time you open that bullpen gate you never know if that pitcher is going to be “on” that day. The more relievers you bring in, the more you are risking it. Ask the Yankees.
Letting starters go longer is a smart strategy. Of course, one could argue that only works if you have pitchers like Stasburg and Scherzer and Corbin and Sanchez. But the counter to that argument is, get pitchers like Stasburg and Scherzer and Corbin and Sanchez.
The more you invest in starting pitching, the more serious you are about winning. The Rangers, luckily, have two good ones. It was the other three slots that were dead zones. Texas was not a good team in 2019. They won much more than they should have because of Mike Minor and Lance Lynn.
One more point worth nothing about the 2019 Washington Nationals. They were the oldest roster in baseball.
The trend is young. Not because young wins. But because young is cheap. Young slashes payroll.
Experience wins. Experience knows how to hit a two-run World Series deciding home run in the seventh inning of Game 7. Young swings and misses that pitch.
Experience knows how to pitch around traffic on the bases all game. Young lets a pitch catch too much of the plate.
Unfortunately, the trend the last two off-seasons is to devalue experience. To ignore anyone over 30. To overlook the free agents that have earned the right to a bit of money in favor of the prospect who costs about half a million dollars. For far too many teams, it’s not about winning but about fielding a roster.
Ask the Nationals their feelings about thirty-six-year-old Howie Kendrick. Or thirty-five-year-old Ryan Zimmerman. Or thirty-year-old Adam Eaton. Or thirty-two-year-old Yan Gomez. Experience matters.
Experience should be rewarded, not discarded. See, Hunter Pence, 2019.
This World Series champion brought baseball back to baseball. Starting pitching, depth, experience, age. MLB has an ad campaign called, “Let the Jids Play.” Yes, the kids can play.
The geezers can outplay them.