With the addition of George Springer, the Toronto Blue Jays have one of baseball’s most formidable lineups. Is it better than the Yankees’?
The New York Yankees have a new top threat to their chances of winning the AL East in 2021.
After the defending division and league champion Rays decided to trade former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and let fellow top starter Charlie Morton walk in free-agency, the Toronto Blue Jays have become the Yankees top AL East competition.
Not only did Toronto make the postseason in 2020, but they added one of baseball’s top outfielders in George Springer to create what some project is now baseball’s best lineup.
Is it truly the best in baseball that some believe is belongs to the New York Yankees? Let’s compare position by position.
Yankees: Gary Sanchez
Blue Jays: Danny Jansen or Alejandro Kirk
Based on 2020 numbers, the catcher position is pretty even when looking at Toronto and New York. Both Gary Sanchez of the Yankees and Danny Jansen of the Blue Jays had awful seasons, with Sanchez batting just .147 and getting benched in the postseason and Jansen hitting .183.
What makes this an interesting debate is the Alejandro Kirk factor. Kirk is one of Toronto’s top prospects who hit .375 with a home run and three RBI’s in 24 at-bats last season. This sample size is too small to compare him to Sanchez but at least helps his case come spring training when he battles Jansen for Toronto’s starting job.
Given that 2020 was ugly for both Jansen and Sanchez, the Yankees get the edge given Sanchez being a two-time All-Star and once feared hitter that New York expects to bounce back in 2021.
Yankees: Luke Voit
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
He started his pro career at third base but moved over to first last season and the expectation is for him to stay there. Guerrero Jr. played in all 60 games for Toronto last season, hitting .262 with nine home runs and 33 RBI’s.
While not bad by any means, Yankees’ first basemen Luke Voit was much better. Voit led all of baseball with 22 home runs and established himself as one of baseball’s top power hitters.
While neither have more than three years of MLB experience, Voit is currently the better player; though, given Guerrero’s ceiling, he will likely surpass Voit in the near future. For now, the Bombers have the edge.
Yankees: DJ LeMahieu
Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio
DJ LeMahieu is one of baseball’s best hitters and has been the Yankees’ top player the past two seasons. LeMahieu won the AL batting title last season to earn his second carer batting title (2016 with Colorado) and also again played elite defense.
This one is a no-brainer. Yankees have the edge.
Yankees: Gio Urshela
Blue Jays: Santiago Espinal
It’s hard to truly compare the Yankees and Blue Jays at third base for the moment.
Toronto currently only has Santiago Espinal who has just 60-career at-bats to his name on their 40-man roster at the hot corner and they are expected to add another via free-agency or trade.
Regardless, whoever starts at third for the Blue Jays will have to be among the best in baseball to top the Yankees and Gio Urshela.
Yankees: Gleyber Torres
Blue Jays: Bo Bichette
Based on 2020 stats, Bichette has the edge as he hit .301 with five home runs and 23 RBI’s while Torres struggled, hitting just .243 with three home runs and 16 RBI’s.
While Bichette so far has better career numbers in terms of batting average, he is not quite on Torres’ level.
Torres’ career WAR of 6.6 is better than Bichette’s 3.2, given the Yankees’ shortstop the edge for the moment.
Yankees: Clint Frazier
Blue Jays: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Perhaps the closest debate between the Blue Jays and Yankees lineup is in left field.
Clint Frazier is expected to be the Yankees’ every day left fielder in 2021 after hitting .267 with eight home runs and 26 RBI’s this season. While he’s been up and down from the minors for much of his career, Frazier has displayed consistent power at the plate when in the majors but has had some troubles defensively.
Toronto’s Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is a career .287 hitter who hit .308 in 2020 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI’s. He also has the ability to play second base and shortstop and is on his way to becoming one of baseball’s most versatile young players.
While close, Gurriel has shown more consistency and had a better 2020 season giving him and the Blue Jays the edge in left field for the moment.
Advantage: Blue Jays
Yankees: Aaron Hicks
Blue Jays: George Springer
Aaron Hicks has been a frustrating case study for the Yankees. The switch-hitter has been a reliable power-bat and has one of the best outfield arms in baseball, but injuries have kept him off the field far too often. While he stayed fairly healthy last season, he hit just .225 with five home runs and 21 RBI’s.
Toronto takes the edge in center over Hicks as they are in agreement with former Astro George Springer on a six-year $150 million deal.
Springer is a three-time All-Star and one of baseball’s All-Time great postseason performers as he has slugged 19 postseason home runs in 63 career playoff games.
Advantage: Blue Jays
Yankees: Aaron Judge
Blue Jays: Teoscar Hernandez
When healthy, Aaron Judge is perhaps baseball’s best right fielder. The 6-foot-7-inch slugger is a two-time All-Star who started 2020 on a tear before injuries slowed him down as he finished the year hitting just .257 with nine home runs.
Teoscar Hernandez had a far better year than Judge in 2020 as the Blue Jays right fielder hit .289 with 16 home runs and 34 RBI’s.
While Hernandez is a solid player and reliable right fielder, Judge being one of baseball’s
biggest superstars when healthy gives him and the Yankees the edge here.
Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton
Blue Jays: Rowdy Tellez
Like Judge, Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is one of baseball’s top sluggers when healthy. He also started 2020 red-hot before injuries slowed him down, but in the postseason, a healthy Stanton smacked six home runs in seven games.
Toronto’s DH is expected to be Rowdy Tellez, who hit .283 with eight home runs and 23 RBI’s in 2020 but had a WAR of just 0.6.
Tellez has great power, but Stanton is a superstar when healthy.