Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Infield - Page 3 of 6 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Paul Folkemer

Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Infield

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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First Base

April rankings:

  1. Chris Davis, Orioles
  2. Greg Bird/Chris Carter, Yankees
  3. Mitch Moreland, Red Sox
  4. Logan Morrison, Rays
  5. Justin Smoak, Blue Jays

Oof, I’m really bad at this prediction stuff. My April rankings for first base ended up almost exactly backward from how 2017 actually played out. The two first basemen I ranked the worst, Morrison and Smoak, turned out to be the two most productive. Smoak, in his eighth career season and third organization, finally had the breakout year he’d been waiting for since he was a first-round draft pick in 2008. His 38 homers, 90 RBIs and .883 OPS were all career bests by a large margin. The Rays’ Morrison put up similar numbers: 38 blasts, 85 RBIs and .868 OPS. All were career highs for him as well.

It’s interesting that Moreland and Davis are in the same division; they were previously teammates with the Texas Rangers (along with Smoak in 2010), where Moreland beat out Davis for the first base job. They had similarly mediocre seasons in 2017, mixing disappointing offensive numbers with good defensive work, except that Moreland made $5.5 million while Davis was in the second year of a seven-year, $161 million deal.

The Yankees’ expected platoon of Bird and Carter imploded quickly. Bird played 19 terrible games before undergoing ankle surgery, while Carter was released after batting .201 with eight homers in 62 games. The Yankees then tried six other starting first basemen, with little success, before Bird returned at the end of the season and finally got hot.

End-of-season rankings:

  1. Smoak, Blue Jays
  2. Morrison, Rays
  3. Moreland, Red Sox
  4. Davis, Orioles
  5. A cast of thousands, Yankees

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