Complete A.L. East Positional Breakdown (Recap and More!)
by Cary Greene
February 16, 2022
This article continues my complete study of how the Yankee position players stack up to their Division rivals. It was a fascinating exercise for sure. The previous articles are as follows:
As I began comparing teams position by position, I started to see how each team shaped their roster to maximize flexibility. I looked deep into each team’s farm systems and noted the trade values of all Tier One, Tier Two and Tier Three prospects. I examined contracts and years of team control. I looked at projected results, previous season’s results and ultimately, the value each player provided based on what he made. It was an extensive study.
In this article, I will provide the full charts of all of the above.
Coming in the days and weeks ahead, I will look at Starting Rotations, Bullpens and then Farm Systems. I’ll eventually wind up with the best comparison possible. When we look at the Yankees “in Context” we always look at the Yankees only. True context is only found when we compare the Yankees to their Division rivals.
Positionally, here is the data. No player was counted or valued twice. I slotted each player into a primary position, which was identified and defined by projected Plate Appearances at that position – even if the player played four or five different positions. That said, each team’s positional expected WAR is based on projected Plate Appearances also.
At First Base: It was the Blue Jays and Vlad Guererro Jr by a mile, with the Red Sox poised to improve dramatically by season’s end as they bring up Triston Casas. The Yankees were a distant second to the Blue Jays, with Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu manning the position presently. Brain Cashman may upgrade here so we will need pay attention to see what happens once the lockout ends.
At Second Base, it was the Rays with Brandon Lowe who had a solid advantage over the Yankees. Meanwhile, with the loss of Marcus Semien, who signed with the Rangers, the Blue Jays lost ground to the rest of the division.
At shortstop, the Rays, Blue Jays and Red Sox all enjoy a huge advantage over the Yankees. Wander Franco, Bo Bichette and Xander Bogaerts are three of the best players in all of baseball. Brain Cashman has yet to sign a shortstop, which remains the Yankees single biggest issue this offseason.
At Third Base, Rafael Devers and the Red Sox are the leaders, with the Yankees slotting in third, behind the Rays.
At catcher the Division belongs to the Blue Jays this season with Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk and they are nicely positioned for the future with super-prospect Gabriel Moreno in their system as well. The Rays have the best defensive catcher in Mike Zunino and Baltimore is set to bring up Adley Rutschman, the game’s top overall prospect. Meanwhile, the Yankees have a ton of ground to make up at this position and not a lot in the pipeline, no offense to Austin Wells or Antionio Gomez.
At designated hitter, the Yankees and Red Sox are in the best overall shape, thanks to Giancarlo Stanton and J.D. Martinez respectively. The Rays may yet re-sign Nelson Cruz to add more pop to their lineup, or they may go in another direction.
Moving to the outfield, the Yankees lead the pack and it’s not close. The Rays are a distant second and the Blue Jays and Red Sox are perhaps looking to make some moves.