I’d like to take a position by position look at the four teams that share a city during baseball season. That’s New York and Chicago. So we’re going Mets, Yankees, Cubs and White Sox. Now some people are going to ask about Los Angeles and while the Dodgers do play their the Angels actually play there games in Anaheim; so they’re out. Here we go!
The Yankees have Mark Teixeira at 1st base and if I was writing this five or six seasons ago he’d be a slam dunk as the best 1st baseman in New York, but now it’s not that easy. Teixeira signed with the Yankees in 2009 and led the American League (AL) in home runs with 39 and runs batted in (RBI’s) with 122. He also played in 156 games and had a batting average of .292, but it’s been down hill after that. Injuries have hampered Teixeira’s career and his stats have shown that. Last season (2014) he played in 123 games hitting .216 with 22 home runs and 62 RBI’s. While Teixeira is still a plus defender entering his 13 major league season you have to wonder what he has left and if there’s another injury coming in 2015.
Last season the Mets settled on Lucas Duda as their 1st baseman. Duda’s never been a high average hitter, but playing on a regular basis he was finally able to show his power. Duda put up his 1st career 30 home run season in 2014 hitting 30 home runs on the nose while driving in 92 runs with a .253 batting average. The 30 home runs put him 3rd in the National League (NL) and Duda hit a home run once every 17.1 at bats which is also 3rd in the N.L. Duda may not win a Gold Glove for his defense, but he’s solid. Duda committed 7 errors last season and had a fielding percentage of .994. Duda was also involved in 125 double plays as a 1st baseman last season which was 2nd in Major League Baseball (MLB) for his position.
Teixeira turns 35 in April while Duda is 29 years old. I’m going with Lucas Duda as New York’s 1st baseman.
Anthony Rizzo mans 1st base for the Cubs and has shown his power since being a Cub. Last season Rizzo finished 2nd in the NL in home runs with 32 and the power numbers look to be going up. Rizzo hits a home run every 16.4 at bats which is 2nd best in the NL Rizzo had a .286 batting average in 2014 up from .233 in 2013. Offensively the big negative with Rizzo is the strikeouts; he had 116 last season and averages a strikeout ever 5.3 at bats. Rizzo is a good defender committing just 9 errors last season and leading the NL with 118 assists at 1st base. His fielding percentage was.993 and those 9 errors where 2nd least among NL 1st baseman.
The White Sox signed Jose Abreu last season out of Cuba and he rewarded them with and All-Star selection and also winning Rookie of the Year (ROY) in the AL in 2014. Abreu played in 145 games had a batting average of .317 with 36 home runs and 107 R.B.I.’s. With those numbers Abreu was 3rd in the AL in home runs, 4th in RBI’s and 5th in batting average.Adding 35 doubles and 2 triples to Abreu’s extra base total is 73 which is good for 4th place in the A.L. in combined extra base hits. Abreu did strikeout 131 times last season or 1 strikeout every 4.7 at bats. Abreu turned out to be a solid defender committing just 6 errors with a fielding percentage of .994. Abreu played 109 games at 1st base last season and was used in 35 games as a Designated Hitter (DH) by the White Sox.
Both Chicago 1st baseman had some injury issues last season. The concern is that Rizzo’s back trouble may be something he’ll have to deal with through out his career. While Abreu had some ankle issues and shouldn’t have any lingering trouble with it. Abreu has the advantage of being able to put up numbers as a DH so this makes picking one of these players over the other even tougher. Abreu is 28 while Rizzo turns 26 in August. I’m guessing this is as close to a “Push” as I’ll run into writing this series. As much as I’d like to have seen a little more out of both of these guys right now I’ll take Abreu.
It’s 2nd baseman tomorrow!