When the New York Yankees open their regular season schedule at the Tampa Bay Rays on April 2, they’ll have a new cast of characters in their lineup. Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday will replace Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez.
In their 2017 ZiPS projections, fangraphs.com gives the No. 1 Comp for each player. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the following four and what to expect comparatively.
Gary Sanchez – Chris Hoiles
With a projected 499 plate appearances, “El Gary” is measured against the former Baltimore Orioles backstop, Chris Hoiles. Entering his first full season, if Sanchez achieves the average of Hoiles with 27 home runs, 81 RBI and a .833 OPS, one would have to be pleased.
Greg Bird – Mo Vaughn
Excited yet? With 397 projected plate appearances, Bird is compared to a Boston guy not named “Larry Legend.” An average of 35 home runs, 114 RBI and a .906 OPS would be stellar. Even if Bird’s numbers averaged out to where Vaughn was before his 1995 AL MVP campaign, you’d run to the bank.
Aaron Judge – Jesse Barfield
A lot of folks compare Judge to Dave Winfield but how about this former Yankees outfielder? If Judge provides you a power bat and cannon arm visa vi Barfield, you’d sign up in a heartbeat. Judge projects to have 522 plate appearances and if he matches a Barfield average of 27 home runs, 81 RBI and a .802 OPS, that’s not too shabby. Even if you take Barfield’s first two full seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and his two final full seasons with the Yankees and apply those numbers to Judge, it’s a step in the right direction.
Matt Holliday – Kevin Millar
This comparison is a bit underwhelming and assumes only 329 plate appearances from Holliday. I’m expecting more out of Holliday but if you take the Millar averages, you get 19 home runs, 79 RBI and a .801 OPS.