2018 AL East Positional Rankings: Infielders - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Paul Folkemer

2018 AL East Positional Rankings: Infielders

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

All 30 major league teams kick off the 2018 regular season Thursday, which means it’s time for my second annual AL East position rankings series.

The premise is simple. I’m comparing the Orioles to their four divisional opponents at every position on the field. Today I’m covering the infielders; tomorrow, the outfielders, designated hitters and benches; and Wednesday the pitching staffs and managers.

I ran this series before the 2017 season with laughably inaccurate results. (Ranking Jose Bautista over Aaron Judge was a particularly egregious one.) But, as they say, if at first you don’t succeed … well, see if you can be more wrong the second time around.

Let’s get started with the infield, where the Orioles rank first at two positions.

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  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 26, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Hard to argue with any of your selections Mr. Folkemer. If I had ANY bone to pick at all, I’d have to go to the 1st base selection. Though Crush has stunk it up for 2 years now, he does have it in him to be the class of this poistion in the AL East. This is all incument upon his willingness to get that piece of lumber off his shoulder for a change, and be willing to go to the opposite field. When he does that (go the other way), he’s simply a force in the game … really second to none. Unfortunately, the big dope doesn’t seem to get it. I’d also love to see him bunt every single time the shift is employeed against him, especially if he’s going to continue to hit lead off. I know, I know he gets paid to drive in runs, but that hasn’t been happening lately while he’s watching strike 3 go by low and inside has it?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 26, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      I agree that Davis should be the class of this division. And also that he hasn’t been in a couple seasons.

    • Paul Folkemer

      March 26, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      What Dan said. Davis certainly could be the top 1B by year’s end if he has a bounceback season. But until he proves he can do it, I can’t justify putting him in the top spot.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 26, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        No argument here.

  2. willmiranda

    March 26, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Good survey. I would add a question mark to Beckham’s offense: Was last year a breakout year or a career year?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 26, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      Excellent question. Probably in between.

  3. jkneps63

    March 26, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Awesome article, fun read! Thanks for putting this together. Looking forward to the outfield and pitching rankings too.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 26, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      They are coming Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

  4. Jbigle1

    March 26, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    This is far and away the weakest class of 3B the ALE has seen since Evan Longoria hit the league.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      I’d agree. Especially with Manny moving over and no ARod.

  5. jkneps63

    March 26, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Someone needs to write an article analyzing the pros and cons of Chris Davis batting lead off…and whether this indicates the need for a new hitting coach!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      I kinda want to see it first — in big league games — before I make a real call.

      • jkneps63

        March 26, 2018 at 8:38 pm

        Davis 0.309 OBP in 2017…Beckham had a 0.306 BA…seems like an odd experiment if it happens.

        • Jbigle1

          March 27, 2018 at 11:47 am

          Beckham was 278/328 overall. That’s probably about as high of a BA and OBP you can expect for him with the way he strikes out. The OBP margin will be very slim between the two of them. Davis May even edge him out if he can get halfway back on track.

  6. Dblack2508

    March 27, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Agreed with Schoop, I would put an asterisk for Manny defensively just because limited playing time.

  7. Orial

    March 27, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Generally agree with rankings. Yes Davis is letting the Golden Egg fall to the ground in a mediocre first base class. What I did notice is that with Bird being out and other than Gregorious the Yankee infield is very ordinary.

    • Paul Folkemer

      March 27, 2018 at 10:20 am

      That’s true for now. But they do have top prospect Gleyber Torres waiting in the wings. He could be up sooner than later, especially if Bird is out for a while and Walker shifts to first base full time.

      • Jbigle1

        March 27, 2018 at 11:50 am

        Andujar as well. Odds are 1/2 of them make a significant impact this year. Don’t sleep on Tyler wade either he’s looked very good this spring. As much as it pains me to say they’re pretty deep.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 27, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Torres and Andujar alone could redefine these next year.

  8. Orioles54

    March 28, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Paul, agree w/ most. Some strong opinions to the contrary though. Not sure why you think Bautista over Judge was an “egregious “ error. 200 K’s , 28 solo HR’s, defensive rookie? I think you got it right and will again. School is better defensively than Pedroia, has been for 2 years, younger, more powerful, healthier, no contest IMO. Agree Davis has been big disappointment for the money, hopefully offense comes back, but defensively who is better at first? Should be gold glove IMO. BIGGEST disagreement is with Sanchez. Don’t care how many homers he hits, almost personally responsible for Yanks exit in October. My recollection is that he did not field one ball cleanly on plays at the plate. Teams will keep sending runners till he proves he can catch. Hands down worst defensive catcher on a major league roster. Couldn’t possibly put him in the top spot.

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