AL East’s hot and cold players for 2023

Tuesday’s story featured my 2023 predictions for the American League East, establishing the Toronto Blue Jays as slight favorites over the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.

Today’s installment could be considered a sequel — a look at the AL East players who’ll enter the new season with a full head of steam, as well as those whose momentum is running in the wrong direction.

My measuring stick is overall base value (OBV), an effective measure of a given player’s performance.

base values are usually calculated separately for batters and pitchers. If a batter racks up a positive BV, he has reached more bases (through hits, walks, hit batsmen, stolen bases, and sacrifices) than the typical hitter would have attained under the same circumstances. The scale runs the other way for a pitcher, who aims for a negative BV, indicating that he has allowed fewer bases than normal.

OBV is a fairly simple combination of these two separate measures, albeit with an important twist. The sign in front of a pitcher’s BV is reversed when his OBV is calculated. Justin Verander‘s minus-127 — the very best pitching BV in the American League last season — translates to plus-127 on the OBV scale.

This alteration allows us to compare batters and hitters. The higher the positive OBV, the better the player was in 2022, either in reaching or denying bases.

A few players, of course, were both batters and pitchers last year. The batting BV for such a multi-talented player is added to the reversed-sign version of his pitching BV to yield his OBV. Shhei Ohtani, For example, registered base values ​​of plus-102 as a hitter and minus-84 as a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels. That yields an OBV of plus-186.

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Aaron Judge topped the majors in several key categories in 2022. The Yankees outfielder hit the most homers (62), scored the most runs (133), reached the most bases (529), and drove home the most runs (131, tied with Pete Alonso of the Crosstown Mets).

So it comes as no surprise that Judge also led the AL East in overall base value, reaching 255 more bases than the average hitter would have attained in the same number of plate appearances (696). That gave him an enormous advantage over the divisional runner-up in OBV, pitcher Shane McClanahan of the Rays at 91.

Judge consequently enters the 2023 season as the division’s hottest player, buttressed by the nine-year, $360 million contract that he signed with the Yankees over the winter.

Three of the other players in the divisional top 10 also wore New York uniforms last year. pitchers Nestor Cortes and first baseman Anthony Rizzo will return in 2023, though outfielder-designated hitter Matt Carpenter has moved on to San Diego.

So joining the Padres is shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was lured away from the Red Sox after 10 seasons in Boston. All other members of the AL East’s top-10 list (see below) will be back with their 2022 clubs in 2023:

  • 1. Aaron Judge, Yankees, 255 OBV

  • 2.Shane McClanahan, Rays, 91

  • 3. Nestor Cortes, Yankees, 89

  • 4. Alek Manoah, Blue Jays, 87

  • 5. Rafael Devers, Red Sox, 81

  • 6. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox, 66

  • 7. George Springer, Blue Jays, 65

  • 8.Anthony Rizzo, Yankees, 61

  • 9. Yandy Diaz, Rays, 59

  • 10. Matt Carpenter, Yankees, 58

A complete rundown of 2022 stats — and a look ahead at the season to come

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And what about the American League East players who ran out of gas before the 2022 season reached its end?

The worst, according to OBV, was pitcher Yusei Kikuchi of the Blue Jays. He went 6-7 with a 5.19 earned run average. His most glaring defect was the 58 walks that he surrendered in just 100.2 innings, the equivalent of 5.2 walks per nine-inning game.

Kikuchi’s pitching BV of plus-60 is the same as an overall base value of minus-60, the worst in the division in 2022. Another pitcher, Bruce Zimmerman of the Baltimore Orioles, was nearly as bad with an OBV of minus-58.

Kikuchi and Zimmermann will be under pressure in 2023, though it appears that their AL East employers are ready to give them another chance. Not everyone on the division’s bottom-10 list (see below) was as lucky.

Jackie Bradley Jr, at this writing, is still looking for a new team. Three others have landed with clubs outside the division — Brett Phillips with the Los Angeles Angels, Connor Seabold with the Colorado Rockies, and Jordan Lyles with the Kansas City Royals:

  • 1. Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays, -60 OBV

  • 2. Bruce Zimmerman, Orioles, -58

  • 3. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox-Blue Jays, -55

  • 4. Brett Phillips, Rays-Orioles, -52

  • 5. Jose Berries, Blue Jays, -49

  • 6. Taylor Walls, Rays, -47

  • 7. Nick Pivetta, Red Sox, -44

  • 8. Connor Seabold, Red Sox, -40

  • 9. Jordan Lyles, Orioles, -39

  • 10 Josh Winckowski, Red Sox, -37

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