From Ken Rosenthal:
Preseason pick: Grady Sizemore, CF, Indians
1. Joe Mauer, C, Twins: In the end, it was not even close.
2. Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox: Defensive versatility makes him unique.
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees: Team is 89-42 since his return.
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers: No A-Rod or Jeter among his teammates.
5. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees: Might prove worth the $180M.
6. Kendry Morales, 1B, Angels: Manager Mike Scioscia prefers Bobby Abreu? Check the numbers.
7. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees: Improved defense, third in league in OBP.
8. Jason Bay, LF, Red Sox: Strong start, strong finish.
9. Ben Zobrist, 2B, Rays: Sixth in league in OPS, stellar defense.
10. Michael Young, 3B, Rangers: Strong leader, consistent producer.
Wished I had included: Bobby Abreu and Chone Figgins, Angels; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners; Aaron Hill, Blue Jays.
There are going to be many of this sort of article over the next week or so, and I have no intention of analyzing each one, as I am certain to disagree with many of them. Furthermore, while the order might be wrong and a name or two might be missing (Longoria), Rosenthal hits on most of the right guys. However, I have to take issue with Kevin Youkilis being second, ahead of all three Yankees.
Honestly, I think the manner in which Ken ranked the Yankee candidates led to this result, as an argument can be made for Youkilis over A-Rod, but not over Jeter and Teixeira. Jeter and Tex both have Youk beat in terms of WAR, meaning they have contributed more production to their club than Youkilis has. The lone element in Youkilis’ favor is his versatility. However, being that his UZR at 3B is -2.7, I really do not see his ability to play there as a huge advantage. Teixeira came up as a 3B-man and probably could handle it, while Jeter could certainly play 1B if necessary. I could see Kevin being ahead of one of them (he is pretty similar to Teixeira in terms of production), but not both. Youkilis has a better case with regard to A-Rod, if only because A-Rod’s case requires you to assume that the team’s turnaround can be entirely attributed to him.
What do you think? How would you rank these players?
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