Experts make picks for World Series MVP

October 28th, 2022

The 118th World Series will be full of stars on both rosters as the Astros and Phillies get set to face off in Game 1 on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. But who will step up and deliver the biggest performance to help his club win it all? Whether it’s dominance on the mound or delivering clutch hits at the plate, someone will emerge from the Fall Classic with the World Series MVP trophy.

We asked some writers to draft a player they think will take home World Series MVP honors. Here are the results.

1. Yordan Alvarez, LF, Astros
Alvarez has already shown off his penchant for the dramatic this postseason, with his walk-off homer in Game 1 of the American League Division Series and his go-ahead home run in Game 2. He slugged just .286 in the AL Championship Series, but he had two hits, including a double, in Game 4, perhaps a preview of what’s to come in the World Series. We’ve seen Alvarez take control of a series before, like when he hit .522 with a 1.408 OPS in six games in last year’s ALCS en route to series MVP honors. Now, he can become the 14th player to win both an LCS and a World Series MVP Award at some point in his postseason career.
-- Sarah Langs

2. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
Did the final two games of the ALCS give us a sign that Altuve is starting to come to life at the plate? After going hitless in his first 25 playoff at-bats, he sliced a double to right in Game 3 and then reached base three times in Game 4. None of his three hits thus far topped 85 mph in exit velocity, but you have to figure that one of the best postseason performers in history can’t stay this quiet. Prior to his year, Altuve’s postseason slash line was a robust .286/.361/.547. He’s hit the second-most homers of any player in playoff history (23). He is coming off a regular season in which he recorded a career-best 164 wRC+. This is a pick based in the belief that Altuve is about to get hot at the right time and drive Houston to its second World Series title.
-- Brian Murphy

3. Justin Verlander, RHP, Astros
Verlander has done just about everything in his storied career, winning the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year Award, two Cy Young Awards (with a third likely coming next month) and the 2011 AL MVP Award. He won ALCS MVP honors in 2017, leading the Astros to the World Series title, but a World Series MVP Award would be the final missing piece for his Cooperstown résumé. A pair of victories over the Phillies and Verlander will add another trophy to his already impressive mantel.
-- Mark Feinsand

4. Bryce Harper, DH, Phillies
This is the defining moment for "Baseball's Chosen One." Harper, really, has already lived up to all the expectations that have been heaped on him since he was 16. But this is where he reaches the top of the sport. Harper is the star of the Phillies, and they have some magic to them this October. Harper was unstoppable in the NLDS. He was unstoppable in the NLCS. Now the World Series is the last stage left, and Harper will have the big swings in him to deliver Philadelphia a championship. The NLCS MVP is about to be the World Series MVP, too.
-- David Adler

5. Kyle Schwarber, OF, Phillies
I actually think the Astros are going to win this World Series. But you’ve got to take what the draft gives you, and, with a few of the ‘Stros already off the board, I can’t let Schwarbs just sit there any longer. He can obviously change any game with a single swing, and he went 6-for-15 with three dingers in the NLCS. His expected slugging percentage in this postseason (.521) is actually higher than his actual SLG (.457), which means he might have more in the tank than what we’ve seen so far. He had a flair for the dramatic coming back from a major knee injury in the 2016 World Series, and you don’t have to squint too hard to see him powering the Phillies here.
-- Anthony Castrovince

6. Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros
Bregman has enjoyed some solid World Series moments in the past, including five home runs and a walk-off hit. But he has yet to really put his stamp on the Fall Classic in three opportunities (.188/.247/.400, including a 2-for-21 performance in last year’s loss to Atlanta). That changes now. After a relatively subdued two seasons and a somewhat slow start to 2022, Bregman has rediscovered his star-level form. He posted a .902 OPS with 17 homers over his final 94 regular-season games and then identical .333/.375/.600 lines in both the ALDS and ALCS. The 28-year-old looks locked in, even against elite pitching, and his blend of patience, contact and power is going to lead to some of this Fall Classic’s biggest hits.
-- Andrew Simon

7. Jeremy Peña, SS, Astros
If there’s anything we’ve learned during this postseason, it’s that the big stage doesn’t bother Peña, who has delivered some of the biggest hits of these playoffs thus far for the Astros. In the 18th inning of a scoreless classic against the Mariners in Game 3 of the ALDS, the 25-year-old rookie shortstop belted a solo homer that lifted Houston into the ALCS for a league-record sixth straight year. Then, he launched a huge three-run homer to tie Game 4 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium, helping the Astros clinch the pennant in a 6-5 win. The ALCS MVP hit .353 with two homers and some sparkling defense in the series. Who’s to say he won’t take home some more individual hardware from his first Fall Classic?
-- Manny Randhawa

8. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Phillies
The Phillies got here by being the hottest team in baseball, and Wheeler is the hottest starting pitcher in baseball. Through three hard-fought series, just about every Phillies pitcher has been dinged up at least once -- but not Wheeler, who has gone at least six innings in all four of his starts this postseason, posting a 1.78 ERA and a 0.51 WHIP in the process. Setting the tone and holding down Houston's relentless lineup is going to be tough, but if anyone's up to the task, it's this guy.
-- Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru

9. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies
Even if Harper and Schwarber show up, it’s going to take more than two hitters for the Phillies to defeat this Astros team. How Hoskins performs against Houston’s bevy of right-handed power arms might very well decide the series. The 29-year-old stepped up while Harper was sidelined with a fractured left thumb during the summer, and he already has five homers this postseason, including four (three against right-handed pitchers) in the NLCS against the Padres.
-- Thomas Harrigan