Working in a local supermarket, I have a front row seat for all the latest hollywood gossip and glamour. There are upsides and downsides to this.
For example: downside, I can name about twenty celebrities who have cellulite, and how many plastic surgeries Heidi Montag has had.
A clear upside: the Swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, or any magazine that has Kim Kardashian on the cover.
Speaking of Kim Kardashian, let's begin to make sense of all this. How does Reggie Bush cheat on one of the most beautiful women on the planet? How about Sandra Bullock's husband? What the hell is his deal? Has he seen The Blindside?!
But I digress. My point is this. I will never cheat on the New York Yankees. I will never admit that the Red Sox have a better team, even if it was ever painfully obvious (although, it could be a long time before this happens, let's be realistic).
See what I did there?
This article started the night I argued with my co-workers about Robinson Cano being superior to Dustin Pedroia. Now, I can't blame them, I wouldn't succumb to them either.
But now, for one time and one time only, I will give a full explanation of each player, and who is truly better.
Potentially the biggest rivalry in all of sports will kick off again tomorrow night as the New York Yankees travel to Fenway Park and take on the Red Sox for a sure to be thrilling three game series.
In honor of the start of yet another baseball season, I have put together a guide comparing the sluggers on each squad, what some will most likely call "The Sox/Pinstripes Definitive Lineup Bible".
OK, that probably won't be the case, but as long as it helps you decipher which team has the best advantage at each position, then my job is done.
Victor Martinez: .303, 23 HR, 108 RBI, 88 R, .861 OPS
Jorge Posada: .285, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 55 R, .885
Victor Martinez: 85 games: .992 [14% CS rate]
Jorge Posada: 100 games: .990 [28% CS rate]
The Sox take an early lead with Victor Martinez behind the plate. His numbers last season after leaving the Indians and going to the east were even better than before. Catching runners stealing has always been his only downfall, but he should see time this year as a DH or first baseman as well.
Posada had a huge downfall from 2007, his last full season behind the plate, and 2009 when it came to his batting average. A full 40 points in fact.
Hopefully Posada can continue to throw out a quarter of the guys stealing and hit over twenty long bombs again. I'm confident he will be serviceable in 2010, and maybe even see some reprieve from one of the Yankees' prospects later on in the year
Edge: Victor Martinez, and its not even that close.
Kevin Youkilis: .305, 27 HR, 115 RBI, 99 R, .961 OPS ... .998 Fielding
Mark Teixeira: .292, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 103 R, .948 OPS ... .997 Fielding
Perhaps one of the closest arguments can be had at first base this year. Teixeira and Youk are in the top of the class for the American League sluggers.
Teixeira got a few extra runs, and was clearly helped by having Alex Rodriguez batting behind him, even after he went through a really slow first month.
Youkilis got playing time at both corners, and may have won a Gold Glove had he stayed at first. He can always be counted on for two things: drawing walks at the best possible time, and complaining every single time he gets a called strike three.
Don't be bitter Sox fans, you know that last part to be true
Edge: Mark Teixeira, even though you can almost go either way with this one.
Dustin Pedroia: .296, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 115 R, .819 OPS ... .991 Fielding
Robinson Cano: .320, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 103 R, .871 OPS ... .984 Fielding
Before I even continue, I must say, comparing their 2009 statistics isn't truly that fair. Pedroia had what any baseball fan would admit to be a down season. To go hand in hand with that, Cano had a great season and may or may not produce like that again.
I know that Pedroia could easily return to form and hit .325, but I also know that Robinson Cano hitting in the five hole this year could mean a huge spike in his RBIs if he pulls it all together.
Pedroia is one of the best defensive second baseman in the game, and that is Cano's weakness by far. If he could bring that up to about .990, he could really become one of the elite.
Edge: I have to be honest here, this one is too close to call. It really is a coin flip at second base this season.
Adrian Beltre: .265, 8 HR, 44 RBI, 54 R, .683 OPS ... .959 Fielding
Alex Rodriguez: .286, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 78 R, .933 OPS ... .967 Fielding
While looking up these numbers, I found something extremely interesting. I had always known that Beltre had a breakout year at one point in his career, but I had NO idea exactly what a breakout it was.
In 2004, a contract year for Beltre (and yes I find that information extremely relevant), he hit 48 home runs. Do you know how many other times he has hit even 27 homers?
How about the .330 batting average from 04? The two highest batting averages he has posted besides that: .276, and .290.
This seems awfully suspicious. Someone in the steroid ridden 2004 posts the best numbers of his career, in a "contract" year no less? Yeah, OK. This seems as legit as Ben Stillers Dodgeball team playing the National School for the Blind.
Edge: Alex Rodriguez, the better of the two steroid users.
Marco Scutaro: .289, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 100 R, .789 OPS ... .984 Fielding
Derek Jeter: .334, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 107 R, .871 OPS ... .986 Fielding
Scutaro was a decent pick up for the Sox this off season and should be a good member of a high powered offense. He delivers clutch hits when necessary, and is coming off a season which brought his highest batting average and on-base percentage.
As much as Scutaro will bring to the table, he is nowhere near the realm of Derek Jeter. The older he gets, the better he hits. Jeter will edge closer to 3000 career hits this season, and will most likely achieve it in 2011.
The 20 long bombs, and 30 swipes that DJ will bring to the table are worth more than anything Scooter has. Ill take a little less range on the diamond if it means I get someone hitting .320 every year and being the best captain in the MLB.
Edge: Derek Jeter, with ease.
Jacoby Ellsbury: .301, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 94 R, .770 OPS ... .994 Fielding
Brett Gardner [2010 Projections]: .266, 3 HR, 35 RBI, 75 R, .700 OPS ... .990 Fielding ['09]
The most important thing about these guys isn't even listed above, and that's speed. Jacoby stole a whopping 70 last season, and Gardner stole 26 with only 260 at-bats. Which means he could be on par to grab 50 if all works out.
Ellsbury, a natural center fielder, will move over to allow Mike Cameron to take the reins in the middle. I doubt the move will effect Jacoby very much, though it does seem a little odd to have one of the fastest players in the game playing in the shortest outfield section in all of the MLB.
Gardner will most likely get 450-500 at-bats, relinquishing some to Marcus Thames if he can't keep up his production, but according to Girardi should be "almost" an everyday player.
Edge: Jacoby Ellsbury, and again, it's not even close.
Mike Cameron: .250, 24 HR, 70 RBI, 78 R, .795 OPS ... .990 Fielding
Curtis Granderson: .249, 30 HR, 71 RBI, 91 R, .780 OPS ... .993 Fielding
Although the stats of these two defensive specialists look pretty even, I think that Granderson will be one of the best acquisitions this off season.
Cameron brings some power to the table, and occasionally flashes some speed, but his stolen base numbers have drastically declined as of late. Granderson should be able to spray the ball to all areas of Yankee Stadium, and could hit 35 bombs this season. And unlike Cameron, the 20 stolen bags last year prove the speed is still there.
I like both of these guys to perform well this season, but I see Granderson having a slightly better year, especially if he can bring his batting average up to what it usually is, right around .275-.280.
Edge: Granderson, but it's surprisingly close
J.D. Drew: .279, 24 HR, 68 RBI, 84 R, .914 OPS ... .992 Fielding
Nick Swisher: .249, 29 HR, 82 RBI, 84 R, .869 ... .985 [Between Right and Left]
I'm not going to spend much time on these two for a few reasons.
I feel if there was a vote for the MLB's most boring player, it might be JD Drew. I also feel if there was a vote for being "too happy" it might go to Swisher. There's nothing wrong with either of these, it's just the truth.
I'm too eager to move on to the more exciting comparison, Papi and Johnson.
I know you really don't care about these two.
Edge: Drew, and again, a coin flip away.
David Ortiz: .238, 28 HR, 99 RBI, 77 R, .794 OPS
Nick Johnson: .291, 8 HR, 62 RBI, 71 R, .831 OPS
I am one of the few non-Sox fans out there who actually think that Papi will have a bounce back year. I wouldn't be surprised to seem him crank 35 this season, assuming he stays healthy.
Depending on where the Yanks decide to hit everyone in the lineup tomorrow, one thing that will remain the same is Johnson's high on-base percentage that should open up the lineup for more runs.
Edge: David Ortiz. It's hard to ignore the power, but he will need to bring up the average if he wants to stay on top.
2010 and Beyond
Starting tomorrow night on ESPN, these teams will kick off what will most likely be seasons that end with both squads playing well into October, and hopefully meeting in the ALCS.
The Sox and Yankees both have put together extremely good ball clubs, and both have plenty of prospects waiting to make their marks as well. By 2011, we could see Jesus Montero, Zach McCallister, Michael Bowden, and Casey Kelly in full time roles.
Until then, I'm just fine watching these guys slug it out. Opening night is upon us people. Happy Easter.
Travis Rand is a former Community Leader for the New York Giants until school ate up his free time like a fat man in the Cheesecake Factory. His archive can be found here . He is a strong believer in Clayton Kershaw, Kim Kardashian, and his new home page .