Comparing the Blue Jays to the Yankees – who has the upper hand?
Both of these clubs offer up some of the best infields in terms of depth and overall talent. These two infields possess the names, star power, and production expected from a postseason team. Still, one stands out from the other.
Starting with the catcher, this might be the easiest decision in the entire comparison. The Yankees have been utilizing two glove-first catchers, Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino. The former has yet to produce much of anything offensively, while the latter has been a pleasant surprise with the bat after an early-season trade from Texas. Despite the newfound productivity, this pales in comparison to the offerings of the Blue Jays.
Whether it’s Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen, or Gabriel Moreno (or even Zach Collins for a short while), you’re going to receive offensive production. Kirk and Jano both have an OPS+ over 140, while Gabby has shown to be able to handle big league pitching thus far. There are many positives on the defensive side as well. Danny has been on par with the glove up to this point but has a reputation of being a solid catcher. Kirk has been gunning down base stealers while residing in the 91st percentile in framing. Moreno has impressed in his brief time as well, showing excellent pop times and game calling ability.
First base isn’t much of a competition either. Anthony Rizzo is having a productive season but has since cooled down significantly since a hot April. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., despite not putting up super gaudy numbers, has still managed 15 homeruns and a 136 OPS+ while playing solid defence. Advantage Blue Jays again.
The Yankees arrive in Toronto this weekend for a three-game series against the Blue Jays. With both teams being among the best in baseball, who holds the competitive advantage?
Second base presents a solid competition between Gleyber Torres and Santiago Espinal. Talking about defence first, certain metrics actually have these two as comparable. Despite opposing reputations, Torres and Espinal are worth 6 and 4 RDRS (Defensive Runs Saved above Average) as second basemen respectively. If we’re going on the eye test, Blue Jays fans can attest that Espinal is a vacuum in the infield, but math tells us that Gleyber might have an edge. Their offensive contributions compare as well, though they both do it in different ways. Through home run power, and not much else, Gleyber is worth a 125 OPS+. Meanwhile, through contact, plate discipline, and clutch hitting, Espinal’s OPS+ sits at 127+. This matchup is closer than I’d like to admit, but I’m still giving the edge to Espinal.
Third base compares in certain ways as well, as a couple of former Oakland Athletics find themselves at each team’s hot corner. Josh Donaldson and Matt Chapman both profile nearly identical offensively. Both hit the ball hard, have a great eye at the plate, and strike out with somewhat regularity. The difference is the defence, an area that has dropped off for Donaldson in recent years. Chapman, despite a few metrics stating otherwise, is still one of the best. The case is simple, comparable offensively, Chapman’s superior defensively, Blue Jays win.
Shortstop comes last, and I believe it’s not really a competition here either. The Yankees bring glove first Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and the Blue Jays bring Bo Bichette. While IKF beats Bo on defence, Bo is one of the top-hitting shortstops in baseball. Bo remains superior.
There are two infielders on both clubs who are without a set position, D.J. Lemhaieu and Cavan Biggio. We’ve seen Cavan at his best, with a fine glove, top-of-the-line plate discipline, and some power since his return from the IL. Lemhaieu on the other hand offers a more capable defensive skillset and a more consistent bat. I value D.J. over Cavan in this matchup. Despite this Yankee victory, the Blue Jays have far and away from the best infield alignment between the two clubs.
Advantage: Blue Jays