Alright… time for my weekly post of who’s who, who’s better, who would I pick, who would be more productive. Yeah. It’s awesome. Last week I talked about two of the best youngsters in the league who have been called up this season… the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and the Marlins’ Chris Coghlan. This week I’m bringing it back home, close to myself personally. The rivalry that I follow day in and day out. The Red Sox and the Yankees. And I’m going to be comparing the two first baseman in the top rivalry in sports. Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis.
Mark Teixeira: Now, Teixeira gets the edge defensively right off the bat. Not saying Youk isn’t a STELLAR first baseman, but Mark Teixeira is more than STELLAR. He’s that good. He is the solid firstbaseman the Yankees have been searching for. They haven’t had one in forever and the presence of Teixeira just makes me feel more secure when a ball is thrown into the dirt in front of first base. Tex has won a few gold gloves in his time and has proven to be the premier first baseman in the league. Now offensively, he is also tops in the league. He hits for power, can be clutch in the time of need, and just does everything right. He has made very few errors in his career offensively on the base paths. He is just an all around great athlete that knows how to play the game. This season, his stats include 20 homers, which is among the tops in the league, 60 RBI, a .274 average, which isn’t all that bad, and a .559 slugging percentage. Now, his home run numbers and his slugging percentage may have a little to do with him playing in Yankee Stadium and the new home run friendly right field, but he is still among the top offensive players in the league. He is great and a joy to watch play the game.
Kevin Youkilis: YOUKKKKKKKKK! His name is chanted everywhere. At home in Boston, away on the road (at Baltimore the most) and just everywhere he travels. Everyone loves Youk… except Yankee fans. Youk has had a tremendous season this year despite being on the DL early on. He has come back and proven he is ready to play and produce big numbers for the current first place Red Sox. So far this season, he has racked up 14 round trippers, 47 RBI, 19 doubles, a .314 average, and a .593 slugging percentage. He is also having a very good season at first base with a little time over at third. Youk has only made one error this season which matches Teixeira’s total. He has been able to make the transition over to third with ease to replace Lowell, who recently went on the DL. He is in the running for a starting position at first in the All Star game this year. He has a legitimate chance at winning that spot. He has been a solid guy at first and third for the Red Sox all year and has been one of the hottest hitters for the Red Sox at the plate along with Jason Bay who is having an MVP type year.
Now, here’s my pick. And before you say anything about him being a Yankee, hear me out. Teixeira is an all around great guy who plays the game right, can hit, can field like no one else, and is just a great face of the game. Youkilis is also a great hitter and a great fielder. He is in the middle of that powerful Red Sox lineup that has succeeded over the rest of the AL East this season. My pick of Tex came all down to defense. Youk is a good, solid firstbaseman but Tex has made the plays in the past, is doing it now, and will continue to do it. And other than actual fielding percentage, Teixeira makes a lot of nice plays that don’t show up in stat books or sheets. He knows what to do when the ball comes to him and he has done it over his entire career. Congrats Tex on your victory in this not-that-important debate. You rock.
-P.S.: another reason I didn’t pick Youk is because his beard is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen in baseball. And that batting stance… who taught him that???