Ranking the American League East: Who has the best first baseman?
As Buck Showalter began preparing the Orioles for the 2013 season, he made clear to them the No. 1 priority.
Showalter says he put the names of the other four teams in the American League East on the board down in Sarasota, Fla., and told his players that they can forget about everything else -- the primary objective is to find a way to finish above the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays in the standings.
As part of that, the manager told his players to look at the guys in the division at their specific position and find a way to be better than them.
So, how does the division -- likely the deepest in baseball -- stack up from position to position? This spring we're giving you an opportunity to vote for who has the edge at each spot.
Today, a look at the first baseman.
(If you missed our first poll on the catchers, click here.)
-- David Selig
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Toronto Blue Jays - Edwin Encarnacion( Tom Szczerbowski, USA TODAY Sports / May 2, 2012 )
Encarnacion is the only AL East first baseman who received MVP votes last year (he finished 11th with two fifth place votes and 13 top-10 votes).
The 30-year-old Dominican slugger bashed 42 homers and 110 RBIs in his breakout 2012 season. His previous career highs had been 26 HR and 76 RBIs, so it's not so easy to predict he'll repeat those numbers. But he's got quite a bit more help in the Blue Jays' lineup this year.