Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Infield - Page 5 of 6 -
Paul Folkemer

Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Infield

Photo credit: Shanna Lockwood/USA Today Sports



April rankings:

  1. Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays
  2. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
  3. J.J. Hardy, Orioles
  4. Didi Gregorius (injured)/Ronald Torreyes, Yankees
  5. Matt Duffy (injured)/Tim Beckham, Rays

Once again, my first-place ranking in April was as wrong as it could possibly be. The Blue Jays ended up having the least productive shortstops in the division. Tulowitzki was a huge disappointment, hitting just .249 with a .678 OPS and seven homers in 66 games before an ankle injury cut his season short. Combined with Travis’ injury at second, the Blue Jays resorted to using utility infielders up the middle.



In my April rankings, I bumped the Yankees to fourth because I thought Gregorius’ season-opening shoulder injury would sideline him for a while. But he returned by the end of April and made up for lost time in a big way. Gregorius tallied 25 homers, 87 RBIs, a .287 average and .796 OPS, emerging as the best shortstop in the division. Not as lucky was Bogaerts, who backslid from his All-Star 2016 season with a so-so year for Boston.

Now we’re in the rare predicament of comparing two teams that employed the same guy: Beckham. He started the season with the Rays and made 69 starts at shortstop, then was traded to Baltimore and started 49 there. Beckham fared much better with the Orioles. But the Rays’ other primary shortstop, trade acquisition Adeiny Hechavarria, was more productive than the Orioles’ fading Hardy. So, Tampa Bay had better shortstop production overall.

End-of-season rankings:

  1. Gregorius, Yankees
  2. Bogaerts, Red Sox
  3. Beckham/Hechavarria, Rays
  4. Hardy/Beckham, Orioles
  5. Tulowitzki/Goins, Blue Jays

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