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

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 04: Manny Machado /
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Didi Gregorius
Didi Gregorius /

4. New York Yankees

Infielders: Gary Sanchez (C), Greg Bird (1B), Neil Walker (2B), Brandon Drury (3B), Didi Gregorius (SS), Austin Romine, Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Austin, Miguel Andujar, Jace Peterson

While much has been said about the Yankees, and their outfield is incredible, their infield has a few concerns.

There are no concerns with Sanchez, who will bring his potent bat behind the plate back to the lineup, along with Didi Gregorius. But, those two are the only two who started at these positions on Opening Day last year.

Gregorius had a monster season, with 25 home runs, 87 runs batted in and a .287/.318/478 slash line from the shortstop position.

Walker signed with the Yankees on March 12, so it may be a race for him to be ready for Opening Day. It appeared the Yankees might have been looking to have either Tyler Wade or Miguel Andujar start in the major leagues, but signing Walker and trading for Brandon Dury.

Walker, 32, was a starting-caliber player but his numbers and the sabermetrics from his first year in 2010 through 2016 but fell off in 2017. Part of that could have been the losing with the Mets and be traded, or maybe he is just slowing down.

Drury is entering his third full season in the big leagues, but this will be his first under the bright lights of New York. A high strikeout guy, Drury struck out over 100 times each of the last two seasons, with 31 or fewer walks to contribute. In 2016 he had 31 doubles but only 16 home runs, while in 2017 he had 37 doubles and 13 home runs. Part of that could be from playing in spacious Chase Field in Arizona.

The 25-year-old’s highest WAR was a 1.6 last year, and the Yankees will be expecting big things from his in pinstripes in 2018.

That brings us to Greg Bird, who has never played 50 games in a season and struggled mightily in 2017, hitting .190. However, he did better in the playoffs as the starting first baseman for the Yankees, with nine hits in 39 at-bats.

Romine will once again back up at catcher, with Torreyes the favorite for a utility role. Several of the other players here are top prospects for the Yankees and could make an impact toward the second half of the season.