Baseballs oldest and most interesting rivalry seemingly has new life with new stars coming to the forefront of the game. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox both have an infusion of young superstars who are looking to lead their teams to win the American League East and play for a chance to win a World Series.
The Red Sox won the AL East last year by going 93-69 and ended up losing in 4 games to the eventual World Series champions in Houston in the ALDS. The Yankees however made the playoffs as a wildcard at 91-71 and made it all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS.
The Yankees have stayed busy this offseason trading for the NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton while the Red Sox made a big splash on Monday by coming to an agreement with J.D. Martinez on a 5-year $110 million contract according to Jon Heyman. The Red Sox had a massive hole in their lineup since David Ortiz retired and actually finished last in the American League with 168 home runs, and Martinez will infuse that lineup with some massive power numbers.
More than likely it will be one of these two teams who claim the AL East crown, but who will it be? How do these two teams match up on paper? Well…..
Yankees: Gary Sanchez age 25 – 122 G .278/.345/.531 33 HR 90 RBI .876 OPS 4.4 (f)WAR
Red Sox: Christian Vasquez age 27 – 99 G .290/.330/.404 5 HR 32 RBI .735 OPS 1.6 (f)WAR
Christian Vasquez is a good and serviceable catcher for a major league team, but Gary Sanchez is one of the top 2 in baseball. His offensive numbers are staggering and his arm from behind the plate is an absolute hose. There’s no debate here.
Yankees: Greg Bird age 25 – 48 G .190/.288/.422 9 HR 28 RBI .710 OPS -0.4 (f)WAR
Red Sox: Mitch Moreland age 32 – 149 G .246/.326./.443 22 HR 79 RBI .769 OPS 0.9 (f)WAR
This one is very tough because of Greg Bird’s inability to stay on the field. Moreland is a good left handed bat but Bird’s potential is much more than that. The 25-year old first baseman has shown flashes of being a middle of the order bat with 30+ home run potential. Unfortunately, until he proves he can be healthy for the duration of a season, this goes to Moreland.
Advantage: Red Sox
Yankees: Gleyber Torres (AA + AAA) age 21 – 23 G .309/.406/.457 2 HR 16 RBI .863 OPS
Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia age 34 – 105 G .293/.369/.392 7 HR 62 RBI .760 OPS 1.9 (f)WAR
Eduardo Nunez age 30 – 114 G .313/.341/.460 12 HR 58 RBI 24 SB .801 OPS 2.2 (f)WAR
Gleyber Torres is the top prospect in the Yankees organization and it looks as though he will get his chance to play everyday barring any weird issues arising. The Red Sox will be without their leader Dustin Pedroia for much of the season but will have Eduardo Nunez fill in at second during his time out. Torres projects to be a star at the major league level and looks to be a part of the next Yankees dynasty, but until he proves it, the Red Sox have the advantage.
Advantage: Red Sox
Yankees: Didi Gregorius age 27 – 136 G .287/.318/.478 25 HR 87 RBI .796 OPS 3.9 (f)WAR
Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts age 25 – 148 G .273/.343/..403 10 HR 62 RBI .746 OPS 3.2 (f)WAR
Both of these players are currently in their prime, and are driving forces for their teams. They also both play above average defense and are two of the top five Shortstops in all of baseball. They are mostly interchangeable except for Didi’s ability to produce in high leverage situations at the end of the game. Didi was able to silence the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of the Wildcard game with an extremely clutch 3-run home run, and also coming up huge in Game 5 hitting two home runs off of Corey Kluber. It is close, but Didi keeps getting better every year, and will benefit from Stanton, Judge and Sanchez all hitting in the same lineup.
Yankees: Brandon Drury age 25 – 135 G .267/.317/.447 13 HR 63 RBI .764 OPS 1.2 (f)WAR
Red Sox: Rafael Devers age 21 – 58 G .284/.338/.482 10 HR 30 RBI .819 OPS 0.9 (f)WAR
The Yankees made it official on Tuesday that they acquired Brandon Drury from the Diamondbacks in a 3-team trade sending Steven Souza to Arizona and prospects to Tampa Bay. Drury has proven to be a very good bat and even hit 37 doubles last season. Devers was a very interesting story last year but was up and down from the time he came up. But hey, I guess he took Aroldis Chapman deep so that I guess counts for something….not enough though if you ask me.
Yankees: LF Brett Gardner age 34 – 151 G .264/.350/.428 21 HR 63 RBI .778 OPS 3.8 (f)WAR
Red Sox: Andrew Benitendi age 23 – 151 G .271/.352/..424 20 HR 90 RBI 20 SB .776 OPS 2.2 (f)WAR
Brett Gardner very well might be the toughest out in all of baseball man. This guy is such a pest at the plate and I love it. If you’re a Yankee fan you’ve got to. Benitendi however, is absolutely going to be a pest for the Yankees to deal with for his career in Boston. Give it a few years and he will be Boston’s best overall player.
Advantage: Red Sox
Yankees: Aaron Hicks age 28 – 88 G .266/.372/.475 15 HR 52 RBI .847 OPS 3.3 (f)WAR
Red Sox: Jackie Bradley Jr. age 27 – 133 G .245/..323/.402 17 HR 63 RBI .726 OPS 2.3 (f)WAR
It looks like Aaron Hicks is finally going to live up to his potential as a former first-round pick. Hicks had an outstanding season in only 88 games last year, posting a 3.3 (f)WAR over the span of half a season. JBJ is probably the best defensive Center Fielder in all of baseball, but his bat doesn’t scare anybody. Give me Aaron Hicks.
Yankees: Aaron Judge age 25 – 155 G .284/.422/.627 52 HR 114 RBI 1.049 OPS 8.2 (f)WAR
Red Sox: Mookie Betts age 25 – 153 G .264/.344/.459 24 HR 102 RBI 26 SB .803 OPS 5.3 (f)WAR
Ohhhh man the star power here. Both of these players are absolutely fantastic at all facets of the game; hitting, fielding and baserunning. Betts has been doing it consistently for the past three seasons but Judge had the much larger impact. With that being said, what we saw from Judge last year was something special. He came around in the final months of the season and actually had a fairly good postseason, I’ll take no. 99
Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton age 28 – 159 G .281/.376/.631 59 HR 132 RBI 1.007 OPS 6.9 (f)WAR
Red Sox: J.D. Martinez age 30 – 119 G .303/.376/.690 45 HR 104 RBI 1.066 OPS 3.8(f)WAR
The Red Sox got their guy. They finally signed Martinez to fill the hole left by Big Papi after his retirement and he will slot into their lineup perfectly. But I mean c’mon, he’s no Giancarlo. Stanton is coming off an MVP season last year with the Miami Marlins and also can be a plus defender for the Yankees if need be. That is versatility that Martinez cannot offer.
Yankees: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery, C.C. Sabathia
Red Sox: Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright
The Red Sox have three former Cy Young winners in their rotation coming into next season, but the Yankees have probably one of the deepest rotations in all of baseball. People have complained that their rotation needs help, but I do not think so. I think the Yankees rotation is actually a strength. But with that being said, the Sox just have so much star power and talent to ignore.
Advantage: Red Sox
Yankees: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betantes, David Robertson, Tommy Khanle, Chad Green
Red Sox: Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Brandon Workman, Carson Smith
This is an easy one. The Yankees are bringing back the best best bullpen in all of baseball from last season and look to continue to shut games down in the 6th inning on any given day. Kimbrel is a phenomenal closer, but outside of he and Joe Kelly, their pen is nowhere as deep as the Yankees.
By my count, I have the Yankees as the better team position-by-position, 7-4 even with J.D. Martinez signing with Boston. This year will be an absolute dog fight to win the AL East as both of these teams will be fighting their heart out to get ahead at the end of 162.
Also, if you want to see how the Yankees compare to the Astros, check out my Position-by-position: Yankees and Astros article here.