Ranking AL East Infielders

In a series of articles this week we will be ranking the starting players in the AL East for every position. Today the infielders are the focus. These rankings should provide good discussion so please give me your thoughts on rankings you may agree or disagree with.

Catchers 

1. Matt Wieters, BAL

2. Russell Martin, NYY

3. J.P. Arencibia, TOR

4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, BOS

5. Jose Molina, TB

Matt Wieters started to live up to his potential last year. After a rough rookie season, Wieters stepped it up both offensively and defensively. Wieters hit .262, with 22 HR’s, 68 RBI, and a .778 OPS. He was also stellar behind the plate as he threw out 37% of all base stealers last season. It was a close call for 2nd but Martin got the nod over Arencibia due to experience and defense. Arencibia showed great power potential during his rookie year as he hit 23 HR’s, but needs to work on his average since he hit only .219. If he can take another step up like Wieters did, he can be quite good. Martin did a terrific job handling the Yankees pitching staff and provided timely offense. Saltalamachia has never lived up to his hype during his career, but did have his best year last year offensively. Molina is a great backup, but should not really be starting.

1st Basemen

1. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS

2. Mark Teixeira, NYY

3. Adam Lind, TOR

4. Carlos Pena, TB

5. Chris Davis, BAL

Adrian Gonzalez definitely had a great first impression for the Red Sox last year with an MVP type season, batting .337, with 27 HR’s, 117 RBI, and a .957 OPS. Teixeira can definitely match Gonzalez’s excellent defense and has a similar level of power. However Teixiera batted 89 points lower so he is not really on the same level of production as Gonzalez. Since Lind hit .305 and 35 HR’s in 2009 he has just been ordinary, yet still pretty solid. Pena provides great power and defense, but has not hit above .230 for three straight years. Davis has been an all or nothing type hitter for his career.

2nd Basemen

1. Robinson Cano, NYY

2. Dustin Pedroia, BOS

3. Ben Zobrist, TB

4. Kelly Johnson, TOR

5. Brian Roberts, BAL

This is a strong position in the AL East. The top spot is pretty much a toss up. Cano gets a slight edge due to his power. They both play stellar defense and can make contact with any pitch thrown to them. However, Pedroia does get the edge over Cano in terms of OBP, and plate discipline. Zobrist had a great year last year hitting .269, with 20 HR’s, 91 RBI, and a .822 OPS. Johnson has good power as he has hit over 20 HR’s the last two years. Roberts has the potential to be 3rd on this list, but he has not been able to stay on the field the last two years.

Shortstops

1. J.J. Hardy, BAL

2. Derek Jeter, NYY

3. Yunel Escobar, TOR

4. Mike Aviles/ Nick Punto, BOS

5. Sean Rodriguez, TB

Shortstop is probably the weakest AL East position. Hardy regained his lost power for Baltimore and had a great year last year. He hit 30 HR’s, while hitting only 17 combined the previous two years. Hardy also had a solid .269 BA, 80 RBI, and a .801 OPS. Just when it looked Jeter might be declining for good he put in another solid year. Jeter incredibly almost batted .300 and seemed to have some improved range at short. Escobar has not lived up to his potential yet. Although, he did have a solid last year as he batted .290 and had a .782 OPS. The Red Sox will go with Aviles and Punto this year as they traded Marco Scutaro. I do not really get that decision. Lastly, Sean Rodrgiuez is more of a utility player than a starting caliber shortstop.

3rd Basemen

1. Evan Longoria, TB

2. Alex Rodriguez, NYY

3. Kevin Youkilis, BOS

4. Brett Lawrie, TOR

5. Mark Reynolds, BAL

Longoria is the clear cut top pick for 3rd basemen. Longoria has always been a big clutch hitter and the only elite hitter in Tampa’s lineup. He did have a little bit of an off year last year, but he should bounce back just fine. A-Rod and Youkilis both have had injury plagued years the last two years and need to stay healthy. When healthy, both players obviously have the talent to be elite hitters. Brett Lawrie could easily be 2nd on this list at the end of they year and you can argue he is already. I just need to see a larger sample size from him, but his 1st 150 AB’s last year were stellar. He hit .293, with 9 HR’s, 23 RBI, and a .953 OPS in those 150 AB’s. Reynolds is a great power hitter as he hit 37 HR’s last year, but does not hit for average and he strikeouts at an all-time high clip.

About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on February 13, 2012, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis, Statistical Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. nice job Matthew. good read.

  2. Very good reading Matthew, I have a couple of things I would change but, they are personnel choice.
    You done good big guy!

  3. Good job Matthew. Can’t really argue with you on much there. I’d say the only real positions for controversy are SS and 3B.

    One could argue the that Jeter should be behind Escobar or ARod could be behind Youkilis and/or Lawrie, however overall I’m perfectly fine with where you have them.

  4. If one were to give a numerical ranking of 5 thru 1, the best Infied in the Division would easily belong to the Yanks.

    1) NYY – 21
    2) BOS – 16
    t3)TOR – 13
    t3)BALT – 13
    5) TB – 12

    And even if you dropped Jeter and ARod down like I said, Yanks are stil best – abeit a lot closer to Boston with Toronto right there as well.

    NYY – 18
    BOS – 17
    TOR – 15
    BAL – 13
    TB – 12

  5. Yeah 3B was definitely the toughest position. Like I said in the article Lawrie could easily be 2nd on this list by the end of the year, but I wanted to see more before I put him above established guys like A-Rod and Youk.

  6. Great job Matt, I agree with most of you selections. I would take Pena over Lind.

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