My name is Thomas St. Hilaire, and I am excited about writing my first post as a contributor for BP Bronx. While I will also contribute other pieces throughout the season, I will post my Thursday Thoughts segment every Thursday. This segment will typically consist of my three biggest takeaways from the week. If you have any topics that you would like me to discuss in next Thursday’s post, please feel free to tweet ideas and questions @ThomasStHilaire.
Now let’s get started.
1. THE INFIELD
I absolutely love the Brandon Drury trade. While he will primarily play third base, he can also play second base, first base, and left field. He also hit .267/.317/.447 (92 wRC+) in 480 big league games last year. At the end of the day, Cashman addressed the team’s biggest need by trading two mid-level prospects.
I also think it is interesting to compare Drury and Headley. They provide similar production, but Drury is cheaper, younger, and can play more positions. This move doesn’t really block Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, or Tyler Wade in a significant way. If the homegrown talent is productive, then Drury will be an excellent utility player. If players need more time in the minors though, this trade provides necessary insurance. Either way, this trade seems like a big win for the present and the future.
2. THE RIVALRY
The Red Sox and Yankees will both be large powerhouses entering this season, and I could not be happier. Baseball is always more fun when these two teams are good.
Despite the J.D. Martinez acquisition, I am still picking the Yankees as the favorites to win the division. Yes, the Red Sox won the division last year and added Martinez. However, when you factor full seasons of David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Sonny Gray, and (hopefully) Greg Bird, along with Giancarlo Stanton and a much younger infield, the Yankees are the easy pick for me. They have upside, they have depth, and the strong farm system provides flexibility at the deadline that other teams lack.
3. OPENING DAY STARTER
The opening day starter should be Luis Severino. I think a strong case can be made for Masahiro Tanaka, and I like Tanaka more than most. I think he is going to bounce back this year and produce numbers that are similar to his 2016 season. At the same time, I think that Severino is an important part of the Yankees’ future, and the Yankees need to give him as many “big game” opportunities as possible. Opening Day is one of these opportunities. It is an opportunity to make the big stage feel natural and routine. Additionally, Severino was the third best pitcher in the American league last year. While that may be hard for Severino to replicate this year, I think he has earned this opening day start with his performance. Give the ball to Severino.
The first game of spring training is tomorrow against the Tigers at 1:05pm. The game will be aired on the YES Network, and a delayed taping will be played later on the MLB Network. It’s always nice to enjoy stress free baseball but before we know it, April will arrive, and the Yankees will begin the battle for the AL East.