AL East Infield Rankings 2018: Baltimore Orioles Battle Red Sox, Jays for Top Spot

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 04: Manny Machado /
1 of 5

Spring isn’t in the air yet, but the Baltimore Orioles are less than a week away from Opening Day 2018. Here are the American League East rankings leading up to the 2018 MLB season.

As Baltimore Orioles spring training draws towards a close and we get closer to Orioles Opening Day 2018, it’s time to enroll the American League East rankings.

In the past, if you are a frequent visitor to The Baltimore Wire (which you should be), you probably remember the rankings for each position.

Here are some of the past AL East positional rankings:

Well, it made for some great conversation, but it got tiresome and long.

So, now positions are lumped together, infield, outfield, starting pitching and relief pitching.

The team’s designated hitter will be lumped into whichever part of the team he plays when not DHing, either infield or outfield (since Shohei Otani isn’t in the AL East.)

While in a way this condensing may make things easier, it also makes them more difficult.

Without further ado, let’s get this started.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

Infielders: Wilson Ramos (C), C.J. Cron (1B), Brad Miller (2B), Matt Duffy (3B), Adeiny Hechavarria (SS), Daniel Robertson, Joey Wendle, Jesus Sucre, Christian Arroyo, Willy Adames, Jake Bauers, Brandon Snyder

This was the most straightforward ranking to do for the infield positions. The Rays’ infield is just not all that good.

Duffy didn’t play in 2017 as he recovered from injury, and is replacing the biggest star the Rays ever had in Evan Longoria. Now, he is a career .281 hitter and did well after being traded from the San Francisco Giants (ironically, as that is Longoria’s new team) in 2016.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Hechavarria is an outstanding infielder but doesn’t offer a lot of pop with the bat, something this team needs. Hechevarria, acquired from the Miami Marlins last year in a trade, hit .257/.289/.411 after the trade deadline for the Rays, and also hit seven home runs in 77 games, the most he has ever caught in a season.

Cron was just acquired before Spring Training from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a flurry of deals made by the Rays, including the Longoria mentioned above deal, and also trading starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi.

Cron will be expected to help provide some power on this team, but his career high of 16 home runs in each of the last three seasons doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence there. He is a .262 average hitter, and that will likely be the goal for the Rays, string together big innings.

Miller just barely hit over the Mendoza line in 2017 (.201), one year after hitting 30 home runs.

As for Ramos, who is now fully healthy, his work beside and behind the plate will benefit the Rays’ young pitching staff.

Robertson is likely to be the utility player, although Arroyo, who was acquired from the Giants, could force his way onto the team, especially if Miller struggles and the team looks to move Duffy to second base.