AL East Toolbox


I got the idea for this post from the great Mariner’s site Prospect Insider. After seeing their take on the top tools in the AL West, I shot Jason an e-mail and asked to steal copy the idea and apply it to the Al East. Not only did he give me his blessing, he was also kind enough to provide the HTML code.

Fun starts after the jump, let me know what you think in the comments.

Best Power Hitter
1 Alex Rodriguez, NYY
2 David Ortiz, BOS
3 Manny Ramirez, BOS
Best Contact Hitter
1 Derek Jeter, NYY
2 Dustin Pedroia, BOS
3 David Eckstein, TOR
Best On-Base Skills
1 Jason Giambi, NYY
2 Frank Thomas, TOR
3 Bobby Abreu, NYY
Best Base Runner
1 Carl Crawford, TB
2 Brian Roberts, BAL
3 Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
Best Defensive Infielder
1 Scott Rolen, TOR
2 John McDonald, TOR
3 Mike Lowell, BOS
Best Defensive Outfielder
1 Vernon Wells, TOR
2 Coco Crisp, BOS
3 Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
Best Infield Arm
1 Scott Rolen, TOR
2 Mike Lowell, BOS
3 Robinson Cano, NYY
Best Outfield Arm
1 Nick Markakis, BAL
2 Alex Rios, TOR
3 Melky Cabrera, NYY
Best Pitch, Starting Pitcher
1 Fastball – Josh Beckett, BOS
2 Curve – Josh Beckett, BOS
3 Slider – Scott Kazmir, TB
Best Pitch, Relief Pitcher
1 Cutter – Mariano Rivera, NYY
2 Slider – BJ Ryan, TOR
3 Split – Jon Papelbon, BOS
Best Fastball
1 Josh Beckett, BOS
2 Scott Kazmir, TB
3 Edwin Jackson, TB
Best Curve Ball
1 Josh Beckett, BOS
2 AJ Burnett, TOR
3 Roy Halladay, TOR
Best Slider
1 Scott Kazmir, TB
2 Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS
3 Matt Garza, TB
Best Changeup
1 James Shields, TB
2 Clay Buchholz, BOS
3 Ian Patrick Kennedy, NYY
Best Command/Control
1 Curt Schilling, BOS
2 Ian Patrick Kennedy, NYY
3 Roy Halladay, TOR
Best Prospect (yet to make ML debut)
1 Evan Longoria, 3B – TB
2 Travis Snider, RF – TOR
3 Matt Weiters, C – BAL
Best Manager
1 Terry Francona, BOS
2 Joe Girardi, NYY
3 Joe Maddon, TB
Best Ballpark
1 Yankee Stadium
2 Camden Yards
3 Fenway Park
Best General Manager
1 Theo Epstein, BOS
2 Brian Cashman, NYY
3 Andrew Freidman, TB

Tomorrow night I’ll post the Player Rankings.

Categories : Analysis


  1. EJ says:

    Eckstein with better the hitting tool than Cano? Really? Really? Better than Manny? Better than Crawford? Markakis?

    We’re talking about a career .286 hitter. But he’s scrappy.

    • Ben K. says:

      As for Eckstein, it’s not necessarily hitting tools as much as it is hitting to contact. Eckstein hits to contact. That’s about all I have to say that’s nice about him. Not sure I’d say that puts him in the top 3 in the AL East though.

    • Count Zero says:

      I had the same thought — Eckstein? Are you effing kidding me? :-)

      You’ll have to define what you mean by contact hitter — strikes out the least? But then, why is Jeter #1? Jeter is 86th in the AL (active – career – min 3,000 PA) well behind the likes of Damon and Brian Roberts.

    • Joseph P. says:

      Mike and I had the same conversation last night. Eckstein is always around .300, and he hardly ever Ks.

  2. I feel that Carl Crawford has to be included in the discussion when it comes to “Best Defensive Outfielder”. Very informative. That are certain differences I would have made, but all in all it is an enjoyable read.

  3. Rob says:

    Best on base skills and contact, has to include Youkilis. God I hate him!

  4. toby k. says:

    how is joba’s fastball and slider not top 3? how is he not top 3?

    • Ben K. says:

      I’d probably go with Joba over Edwin Jackson for fastball. At least Joba knows where his fastball is going. But then again, he’s also only throw 20+ MLB innings. Give him at least this season.

    • Mike A. says:

      All of the best individual pitches apply to starters only, I considered Joba a reliever for this exercise.

  5. According to RLYW, Johnny Damon was top 3 in the AL in base-running last year. He’s got to top Jacoby “I had a really awesome 100 AB” Ellsbury, at the very least. If SSS applies to Joba (how isn’t his slider up there?), then it has to apply to Ellsbury too, who had the batter’s statistical equivalent to Joba’s ML time.

  6. dan says:

    I’m not talking about the whole package necessarily, but I have to throw Edwar into the mix for best change-up. His control over his fastball shouldn’t play into his change-up ranking.

    And there’s that Yankees Ringtones ad again! I never noticed it before you guys brought it up, but now I’m always on the watch for it.

  7. Phil McCracken says:

    How is Ellsbury up there for 2 categories when he’s played a month of ML ball?

  8. Rich says:

    I assume Cano isn’t there because of his Ks, but nonetheless, he is incredible at making solid contact.

    I think Joba’s fastball and slider merit consideration.

  9. blah says:

    David Price from TB should be one of the top prospects.

  10. Tommy says:

    What’s the argument for Rolen over McDonald?

    • Mike A. says:

      It was basically a toss up. I just went with the guy with the better track record. Looking back, I probably should have put McDonald first because of position. They’re both outstanding defenders though.

  11. Terri Ney says:

    Damn….when you said tool, I thought you meant something else. I was all set to vote for Jason Varitek.

  12. Ivan says:

    In concern with best infield arm, wouldn’t you put A-Rod at the top?

    • Mike A. says:

      Rolen’s got one of the best arms in all of baseball, he was an easy number 1. There were a lot of interchangeable pieces for most of the categories, I could have easily had A-Rod or Jason Bartlett or Aaron Hill in the top 3.

  13. Ivan says:

    plus in concern with best base runner, it might as well be fastest baserunner, because it means really the smartest baserunner and not the fastest.

  14. ricardo says:

    you dont think joba has a better fastball than edwin jackson?

  15. pete says:

    david price should be the number 1 prospect not to play an MLB inning. Also, Crisp is miles ahead of Vernon Wells, and Melky’s arm is deffinitely better than Markakis and Rios. And you don’t think that Thomas has better power than manny?

    • Mike A. says:

      I’m surprised it took 21 comments before someone brought that up ;)

      Nick Markakis was a better pitching prospect coming out of college than he was a hitting prospect; BA’s reports had him sitting at 94-95 back in the day. Rios just has a cannon.

      Melky’s got a very good arm, but we as Yankee fans tend to over-hype it. It’s strong and accurate, but Markakis and Rios have game changing arms. Melky racks up more OF assists because teams run on him, they don’t even bother trying to take the extra base ith the other two. If Delmon Young didn’t get traded, he might have snuck ahead of Melky.

  16. I love the list all together, but I disagree on a few things here. When you talk best fastballs, Joba’s four-seamer has to get mention, as does Mariano’s cutter.

    Sliders? No Joba? Joba probably has the best slider in baseball, never mind the AL East. I’ve heard people say they think Joba’s slider is better than a prime Randy Johnson’s.

    Curveball, I won’t really argue, just because you put three very good, veteran pitchers on there. But honestly, Hughes curve ball is heads and shoulders above Halladay’s. Burnett’s curve is definitely a little nastier than Beckett’s.

    Good job though. Love the site.

  17. E-ROC says:

    Prospect Insider is a REALLY website. I’ve always check that website whenever I’m logged on.

    Mike, you should list the criteria or formula you used for each decision.

  18. [...] brought down? – Yankee Stadium Insider Cervelli out 8-10 weeks – Eric Schultz – Pending Pinstripes AL East Toolbox – Mike A. – River Ave. [...]

  19. Jason says:

    I think its way, way too early to rank Ian Kennedy up there as top 3 in command/control. He had a solid BB rate in the minors last year, but nothing special, and a bad one in his tiny sample in the majors. I know, command is more than just BB rate, but its definitely early to judge his big league command too. I mean hell, you have him ranked above Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina

  20. Bill says:

    I think its way too early to rank Ellsbury ahead of a guy like Carl Crawford or even BJ Upton in terms of defense.

    Also I know the fastball rankings were only looking at starters but c’mon someone has to be better than Edwin Jackson the guy has no control of it. Garza, Dice-K, and Hughes IMO all have a better fastball when you consider the guy has to have some control of it. I’d put Garza in his place.

    Some possible considerations to add to the list: Catcher (overall defense and/or arm) and Sinker (or include this in fastball rankings, no love for CMW right now).

    Overall though a great list and idea.

  21. Joe says:

    I haven’t read the posts before this, so maybe it has been said…but a guy CAN’T stike out 100 times and be the number one ranked “Contact Hitter”. The next two guys after him don’t even come close to the number of times Jeter made an out without making CONTACT if you add them together!

    Also, it’s a little generous to rank a guys changeup and control as near tops in the league when he has never been in the league. Interesting list, although I won’t even guess as to motives concerning a couple of these choices:)

  22. Barry says:

    Eh, not for nothin but I don’t agree with most of your stuff, but hey this is what makes America great.

  23. [...] of ripping off ideas from Jason Churchill at Prospect Insider. Yesterday I took a look at the best tools in the AL East, and now I’m ranking the best overall players. There’s no set formula used to determine [...]

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