Thanksgiving is upon us. Here is what every American League team in Major League Baseball has to be thankful for.
Boston Red Sox: Star Outfield Duo
If it wasn’t for their star outfield duo of American League Most Valuable Player of the Year Award winner Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox wouldn’t have gone on their World Series run. The two outfielders hit .346 and .330 a piece and combined for 75 home runs and 210 RBIs. Going forward, they’re one of, if not the best hitting duo in the sport.
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge
The Yankees have a number of high-impact bats, but none bigger than Judge. The 6-foot-7 outfielder has quickly become the face of the Yankees and the driving force of their offense. Before an injury-riddled 2018 season, Judge blasted 52 home runs in his rookie season and, even in the present-time, is viewed as an elite outfielder.
Tampa Bay Rays: Scouting Department
The Rays won 90 wins in 2018 after management traded away nearly every veteran player on their roster for the sake of getting younger. The Rays scouting department is continually able to evaluate talent accordingly and replace vital pieces of their ballclub. Without their watchful eyes, the Rays would be in MLB’s basement.
Toronto Blue Jays: Youthful Starting Outfield
The Blue Jays are in MLB purgatory, but they do have an intriguing outfield at their disposal. Whether it be the likes of Kevin Pillar (29), Teoscar Hernandez (26), or Randal Grichuk (27), the Blue Jays have some blossoming and productive outfielders in the fold. Collectively, they pose a respectable threat at the plate and are a defensive-savvy unit.With Thanksgiving upon us, every team in @MLB's American League has something to be thankful for. Here's @RPStratakos with the rundown.Click To Tweet
Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini
There are minimal positives to point to for the Orioles after a 47-win, veteran-stripping 2018 season, but there still has to be optimism surrounding Mancini’s future. While he hit just .242 in his second full season, Mancini blasted 24 home runs for a second consecutive season and committed a combined four errors in left field and at first base.
Cleveland Indians: Star Infield Duo
The future is unknown for the Indians, but third baseman Jose Ramirez and shortstop Francisco Lindor give them one of, if not the best star duo in the sport. They’re each sound at their respective positions, fearsome hitters, and perennial All-Stars. The star infielders are the biggest reason for the Indians’ continued regular season success.
Minnesota Twins: Young Outfield
The Twins are coming off a disappointing 78-win season, but have some intriguing young players in their outfield. Eddie Rosario (27) is one of the best hitting outfielders in the sport and was an All-Star Game snub; Max Kepler (25) is a vacuum in center field; while his career has been a rollercoaster, Byron Buxton (24) is a talented fielder and contact hitter.
Detroit Tigers: Nick Castellanos
The Tigers have been a dark hole in the AL in recent memory, but they do have one of the best outfielders in the sport in Castellanos. He hit a career-high .298 in 2018, has driven in 190 runs over the last two seasons, and is a vital source of offense in the middle of the Tigers order. In the field, the 26-year-old committed just three errors last season.
Chicago White Sox: Reynaldo Lopez
The White Sox haven’t had a reliable starting rotation in nearly a decade, but Lopez is the start of better days ahead for their pitching staff. In his first full season as a starter, Lopez recorded a 3.91 ERA while showcasing poise and the ability to be a reliable force on the rubber every fifth day; the right-hander is someone the organization can lean on going forward.
Kansas City Royals: Whit Merrifield
The Royals are in search of an identity and franchise players, and Merrifield is the closest thing to a franchise player on their roster. Coming off a year in which he hit a career-best .304 and played five positions, the second baseman has begun to establish himself as one of the best middle infielders in the sport.
Houston Astros: Starting Infield
Pitching has been vital, but the Astros infield has been the biggest component to their back-to-back American League Championship Series appearances. Jose Altuve is the best second baseman in baseball; Alex Bregman has become an elite third baseman; Carlos Correa is smooth at shortstop; Yuli Gurriel is one of the most consistent hitters in the Astros order.
Oakland Athletics: Corner Infielders
The road to the Athletics’ 2018 Wild Card Game appearance was a collective effort, but moving forward, the corner infield duo of Matt Olson and Matt Chapman offers the most hope for another playoff appearance. They combined for 53 home runs and 152 RBIs last season and will only improve with age.
Seattle Mariners: Jean Segura
The Mariners may be looking to retool their roster, but they have a franchise player in Segura. The shortstop is amongst the elite at his position, recorded a team-high 178 hits last season, and has hit .300, or above, in each of the last three years. Under contract through 2023 at roughly $14 million a season, the Mariners have an elite player on a team-friendly rate at their disposal.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout
The Angels haven’t made the playoffs since 2014, but they’re always considered a playoff threat going into Spring Training because of Trout. A career .307 hitter and one of the best fielders in the sport (Trout didn’t commit an error in 125 games last season), Trout gives the Angels something to be optimistic about every inning of every game of every year.
Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar
The Rangers are a lineup of home runs hitters, but in the midst of his first well-rounded season, Profar became one of their most reliable contact hitters. He totaled just 88 strikeouts, finally played a full season, drove in 77 runs, and hit a career-best .254 last season. Only 25, Profar could still grow into the player MLB scouts projected him to become.