Published on October 20, 2023 by Brady Goodman  


To see the guidelines and a more in depth explanation of some of the metrics being used, as well as the methodology behind this ranking, check out the first part of this series of articles titled “Top 10 World Series Pitching Performances.”


2002 Barry Bonds(.471 AVG, 1.994 OPS, 8 Hits, 2 Doubles, 4 HR, 8 Runs, 6 RBI, 22 TB, 0.56 WPA, 23.0% cWPA): The #10 spot on this list was by far the hardest to make a final decision for, as it came down to three players who all ended up on the losing side of the series, despite incredible performances. Ultimately I went with Barry Bonds. His ridiculous OPS is the 3rd best in a single series since 1955, and four home runs is tied for the 2nd most ever hit in a World Series. His WPA numbers are a bit low for this list, which is one of the main reasons this performance barely made the cut. However, if the Giants had won this World Series, this would most likely be significantly higher on the list. In true Barry Bonds fashion, his 13 walks is the most in a single World Series in MLB history.


2009 Hideki Matsui(.615 AVG, 2.027 OPS, 8 Hits, 1 Double, 3 HR, 3 Runs, 8 RBI, 18 TB, 0.63 WPA, 22.0% cWPA; World Series Winner/World Series MVP): What really grabbed my attention with this one is his average and OPS. His average is good for the 3rd best since 1955, and his OPS is the 2nd best since 1955. While some of his counting stats like hits and home runs only slightly hold this one back, the main contributors to what is keeping this one at #9 is Matsui’s WPA numbers. Of course they are still great, but compared to many of the other performances on this list, they are a little bit low, especially his cWPA.


1977 Reggie Jackson(.450 AVG, 1.792 OPS, 9 Hits, 1 Double, 5 HR, 10 Runs, 8 RBI, 25 TB, 0.57 WPA, 24.9% cWPA; World Series Winner/World Series MVP): Reggie Jackson was nicknamed Mr. October, and for very good reason. Out of all his postseason prowess, this was his magnum opus. His OPS is the 5th best since 1955, and 25 total bases is tied for the 2nd best of all time. The obvious standout is his five home runs, which is tied for the most ever hit in a World Series in baseball history. Three of those home runs came in a legendary game six performance to close out the series. 10 runs is also tied for the most ever in a World Series. What holds this performance back is his advanced metrics. For the performances on this list, they are definitely on the lower end of the spectrum, as his WPA is the 2nd lowest of anyone who made the list, and his cWPA is the 3rd lowest. If his advanced metrics were higher, this could easily be a top five performance.


1980 Willie Aikens(.400 AVG, 1.638 OPS, 8 Hits, 1 Triple, 4 HR, 5 Runs, 8 RBI, 22 TB, 1.18 WPA, 38.5% cWPA): This is arguably the most interesting performance on this list, as it’s hard to believe a performance this good didn’t contribute to a World Series win. Even more strange is the fact that one of Aiken’s teammates, Amos Otis, put up a performance that was on the cusp of making the #10 spot, just barely losing to Barry Bonds. Essentially everything looks fantastic here, in particular his four home runs and insanely high OPS. What’s even more impressive is his advanced metrics. Aikens’ WPA of 1.18 is the highest ever in MLB history. His cWPA is great as well, although a bit lower relative to other guys on this list, which is a key reason as to why this performance is only number seven. If his team had won the World Series, and especially if he had gotten the World Series MVP, this performance would be much higher on this list.


2011 Lance Berkman(.423 AVG, 1.093 OPS, 11 Hits, 1 Double, 1 HR, 9 Runs, 5 RBI, 15 TB, 1.00 WPA, 51.7% cWPA; World Series Winner): I honestly didn’t expect to see this one on this list, as Berkman’s traditional stats are low for this list. What got him here are his advanced metrics. His 1.00 WPA is incredibly high, and the 5th best in MLB history. His 51.7% cWPA is also insanely high, and good enough for 5th best since 1955. If his traditional stats were more eye popping, this performance would certainly be higher on the list. But don’t worry, this isn’t the last of the 2011 Cardinals that we’ll see.


1993 Paul Molitor(.458 AVG, 1.452 OPS, 11 Hits, 1 Double, 2 Triples, 2 HR, 10 Runs, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 22 TB, 0.84 WPA, 32.8% cWPA; World Series Winner/World Series MVP): Everyone remembers this World Series for Joe Carter hitting arguably the biggest home run in MLB history to win the series in game six. But that wouldn’t be possible without the amazing performance from Paul Molitor. What stands out about this performance is how well balanced it is. No metric is really lacking here, and being tied for the most runs scored in a World Series in MLB history is a nice bonus as well. Molitor’s WPA metrics are great, but are also why I can’t put it any higher on this list.


2013 David Ortiz(.688 AVG, 1.948 OPS, 11 Hits, 2 Doubles, 2 HR, 7 Runs, 6 RBI, 19 TB, 0.94 WPA, 34.0% cWPA; World Series WInner/World Series MVP): One of the greatest postseason hitters to ever play the game was on his A game during this series. Ortiz’s average is the 2nd highest in MLB history, and his OPS is the 4th highest since 1955. What holds this performance back is Ortiz’s advanced metrics. They are of course still amazing, especially his 0.94 WPA, which is ranked as the 6th highest since 1955. But, his cWPA is a significantly lower than the guys ahead of him, which is why Ortiz’s 2013 performance comes in at #4.


1972 Gene Tenace(.348 AVG, 1.313 OPS, 8 Hits, 1 Double, 4 HR, 5 Runs, 9 RBI, 21 TB, 1.07 WPA, 53.0% cWPA; World Series Winner/World Series MVP): This one was extremely unexpected, as it is one of the least talked about World Series MVP performances when you consider just how incredibly impressive it is. The only thing really lacking is the amount of hits, which contributes to an average on the lower end of the performances on this list. But Tenace’s four home runs are a great addition to some of the best advanced metrics ever achieved. His 1.07 WPA is the 3rd highest of all time, and a cWPA of 53.0% is good enough for the 4th best since 1955. Realistically, not much is holding this one back. The two ahead of it are just better.


2017 George Springer(.379 AVG, 1.471 OPS, 11 Hits, 3 Doubles, 5 HR, 8 Runs, 7 RBI, 29 TB, 1.03 WPA, 55.3% cWPA; World Series Winner/World Series MVP): This is arguably the most complete display of hitting ability in a World Series ever. Tied for the most home runs ever hit, to go along with the most total bases in MLB history is truly remarkable. When you factor in that Springer put up the 3rd highest WPA in MLB history, and the 3rd highest cWPA since 1955, you get arguably the best of the best.


2011 David Freese(.348 AVG, 1.160 OPS, 8 Hits, 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 4 Runs, 7 RBI, 16 TB, 1.09 WPA, 68.3% cWPA; World Series Winner/World Series MVP): Was it ever going to be any other performance? This is the MLB equivalent to Lebron James in the 2016 NBA finals, because of how clutch and iconic this performance is. Similar to Lebron’s 2016 Finals campaign, Freese’s numbers aren’t as appealing as you’d like them to be, but are certainly nothing to scoff at. Where Freese differs from Lebron is in the advanced metrics department. His 1.09 WPA is the 2nd best of all time, and his 68.3% cWPA is the greatest in MLB history. His combination of the best advanced metrics ever achieved in a single World Series with how iconic and clutch this performance was is why this was always going to be number #1.

About the Author

Brady Goodman is a senior at Samford University. He is a part of the sports analytics program.


Twitter: b_good_8