The Washington Nationals clinched a trip to their first World Series after sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series (NLCS). Several veterans, including Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon, will now play for their first championship, as well as first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who has played all 15 seasons of his MLB career for the Nats.
Now that Zimmerman has made his first World Series, the question begs, who will be the next deserving veteran to get their chance at a ring. There are several good candidates, but here are three star talents who could be playing in their first World Series as soon as next season.
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
On a team loaded with talent, including likely future MVP Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman is the longstanding veteran of the Atlanta Braves, having played all 10 of his MLB seasons with the club. He has also seen steady improvement over the years, posting career highs of 38 homers, 113 runs and 121 RBI in 2019. Freeman is one of the league's best hitters, with a career .293 batting average, playing on one of the best young teams in baseball. The Braves are coming off a 97-win season and are in prime position to compete for years to come.
2. Bryce Harper, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
In a cruel twist of fate, the Nats are going to their first World Series while Bryce Harper, who left in free agency to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, will be watching from home (if he watches at all.) The Phillies disappointed this season with high expectations, finishing 81-81 and outside the playoffs. Harper had a strong first season in Philly, slugging 35 homers while totaling a career-high 114 RBI. While he has only hit over .274 twice in his career, Harper has a great on-base percentage (.388 career OBP). The Phillies have proven they are willing to spend to win and with Bryce Harper in town for theoretically the rest of his career, are likely to be very active during the offseason, in their quest to compete for a playoff spot in 2020 and beyond.
1. Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Sadly, Christian Yelich was unable to pursue his World Series quest this year, after suffering a fractured right knee cap late in the regular season. The Milwaukee Brewers went on to lose the NL Wild Card game to the Nationals, and will now have to look towards next year for their first World Series appearance since 1982, back when they were in the American League. Yelich followed up his 2018 MVP season by hitting .329 with 44 homers, both career bests. He is arguably the best player in the game not named Mike Trout, and should keep the Brewers in contention as long as he is healthy enough to do so.
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