One of the juiciest rivalries in all of sports, the Red Sox vs Yankees matchup has picked up steam this year. Especially recently, as the two teams face off at Yankee Stadium for AL East Supremacy. If the Red Sox can sweep the Yankees, first place in the division belongs to Boston.
The rivalry has not been as prominent in recent years, since both teams have not had continued success in the past four or five years. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, but before last year, had finished in last place two straight years.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have not been relevant in the AL playoff structure for a couple years, although the last time the New York Yankees had finished the regular season with a losing record was 1992. Both franchises have had tremendous success over the past 15 years.
The question to ask, though: who would you rather be? In both the short term and the long term. Let’s dissect.
The short term refers to this year through 2019. A nice, short three year sample to see which team will (or should) experience the most success.
Both teams have established veterans, along with emerging superstars. However, the Red Sox get more production from both their veterans and young players.
Let’s take a look at the Red Sox top performing players: Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, David Price, and Craig Kimbrel.
Now let’s take a look at the Yankees top performing players: Aaron Judge, Starlin Castro, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Matt Holliday, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances.
Comparing the two teams by their top end talent (in terms of production thus far in the 2017 season), the Red Sox seem to have the clear advantage.
Mookie Betts is an established five-tool player, and has superstar written all over him. While his average (.264) is not where fans would like it to be, he still is one of the most dangerous all around players in the league.
While many people are not happy with the lack of home runs from Xander Bogaerts, he is consistently getting on base and his OPS is at a pleasing .840. He needs to show more power though, and start driving in more runs.
The trio of left handed pitchers lead the Red Sox starting pitching staff. Although Eduardo Rodriguez has been placed on the DL, he was pitching great before suffering a knee injury.
Chris Sale dominated out of the gate but has stumbled in his recent starts. David Price showed tremendous improvement after throwing seven innings of one run ball against a potent Orioles lineup. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel has enjoyed a historically great start to the season and has been dominating as the closer.
The Yankees, on the other hand, have relied on production that seems to be unsustainable. Key word: seems. Rookie outfielder Aaron Judge has been crushing the ball out of the ball park along with a high on base percentage. The biggest question with Judge is if he can consistently cover the plate with his massive frame.
Aaron Hicks has enjoyed a sensational start to the season, but prior to this season, his career highs in batting average and OPS were .256 and .721. His 2017 batting average and OPS thus far are .329 and 1.018.
Luis Severino and Eduardo Rodriguez are two similar players, and both are crucial for their respective teams, in the short term and the long term. Severino is 23 and has tons of potential, and has turned that potential into production this season, sporting a 4-2 record with a 2.90 ERA.
Advantage: Red Sox
The long term refers to the next 8-10 years. Which team is better built for a dynasty? This one is a no-brainer.
It is by far the New York Yankees. According to Baseball America, the New York Yankees currently own the second best minor league system. The Red Sox rank 14th.
It is bewildering to see the two teams switch roles in terms of roster building. Red Sox President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, had the 4th best system in all of baseball when he took over the job. Prior to that, the Red Sox had not been outside the top 10 since 2011.
The Yankees, on the other hand, had not owned a top 10 minor league system since 2012. During last year’s trade deadline, general manager Brian Cashman dealt away relief pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller along with outfielder Carlos Beltran and stocked their minor league system with a ton of talent.
The Yankees own the second highest rated prospect, along with five other prospects that rank in the top 100 prospects, according to Baseball America.
The Red Sox currently have two prospects that rank in the top 100 prospects, third baseman Rafael Devers and left handed pitcher Jason Groome.
The Red Sox can close the gap if they can re-sign some of their young talent going forward. Players like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr are all due contracts soon and if they can sign Betts and Bogaerts, then the Red Sox are in good shape in terms of offense.
Where the Yankees start to pull away is the pitching staff. The Red Sox are counting on Eduardo Rodriguez to kick the injury bug that has not allowed him to consistently take the mound every five days. He must if the Red Sox expect him to lead the future starting pitching staff.
Other than E-Rod, the Red Sox do not have many young pitchers that can develop into either starters or high end relief pitchers. The only other option the Red Sox have is the aforementioned Groome.
The Yankees have Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield. Severino has shown the type of stuff that a front end pitcher has, while the rest are very young and can develop into solid starters or quality relief pitchers.
Before Dombrowski took over the head job as the Red Sox decision maker, he has opted to trade away a multitude of top prospects, including the top rated prospect, Yoan Moncada.
While Dombrowski dealt away prospects like free samples of orange chicken, Cashman has decided to restock the Yankees farm system and has put the arch rival Yankees in great position to succeed for the future.
The Red Sox boast terrific talent that is already here, while the Yankees are still waiting for the rest of their prospects to be ready for major league baseball.
Both lineups will be incredibly potent in the future, but the pitching staff advantage has to be given to the Yankees, as they have far more young pitchers coming up the pipeline.
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