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September 29, 1997

AL East Expansion Draft Analysis

Who should be protected in the AL East

by Joe Sheehan

Welcome to our six-part series on the upcoming expansion draft, and who the established teams should be protecting. We'll be looking at every major league team and making our picks on who they should be protecting. Please note this isn't a prediction on who they *will* be protecting. We're sure the Angels will be protecting Garret Anderson, for example. We just don't think they should be.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

    Roberto Alomar, 2B
    Armando Benitez, RP
    Chris Bennett, P
    Danny Clyburn, OF
    Rocky Coppinger, SP
    David Dellucci, OF
    Chris Fussell, SP
    Jeffrey Hammonds, OF
    Chris Hoiles, C
    Steve Montgomery, SP
    Mike Mussina, SP
    Cal Ripken, INF
    Arthur Rhodes, RP
    Nerio Rodriguez, SP
    Esteban Yan, SP
Not terribly deep, as trades and poor development have left the cupboard bare, allowing players like Hammonds to make the list. Clyburn improved enough this year to warrant his place, helped by the age of the current O's outfield.

Notable omissions: Rafael Palmeiro. He's expensive and slipped considerably this year. With Travis Lee the probable D-back 1B, this is a risk I believe the O's can take. I don't believe Scott Erickson is for real, his good year notwithstanding. Brady Anderson is a free agent, but it's generally accepted that he'll re-sign after the draft.

BOSTON RED SOX

    Tony Armas, SP
    Robinson Checo, P
    Nomar Garciaparra, SS
    Tom Gordon, P
    Butch Henry, P
    Aaron Sele, SP
    Derek Lowe, P
    Ron Mahay, RP
    Carl Pavano, SP
    Arquimedez Pozo, 3B
    Brian Rose, SP
    Jeff Suppan, SP
    John Valentin, INF
    Mo Vaughn, 1B
    John Wasdin, P
Dan Duquette's ability to collect talent makes assembling a list for the Sox difficult. The team has a lot of mid-range players with good upsides. I would expect to see the first two Sox picked start for someone next year.

Notable omissions: All of the catchers, Scott Hatteberg, Jason Varitek, Walt McKeel and now B.J. Waszgis. All can play, but it's best to leave them all out, then protect whoever's left. I rank them in the above order, and could see arguments for protecting any of the first three over Hyzdu, Henry, Wasdin or Pozo. Michael Coleman is the only true CF prospect the Sox have above AA, but I still wouldn't protect him.

DETROIT TIGERS

    Raul Casanova, C
    Frank Catalanatto, 2B
    Tony Clark, 1B
    Deivi Cruz, SS
    Mike Drumright, SP
    Matt Drews, SP
    Damion Easley, INF
    Juan Encarnacion, OF
    Travis Fryman, 3B
    Bobby Higginson, OF
    Todd Jones, RP
    Gabe Kapler, OF
    Brian Moehler, SP
    Justin Thompson, SP
    Bubba Trammell, OF
The highest percentage of major leaguers on their list of anyone in the division. Plus, a crop of starters is on the way, led by Drumright and Seth Greisinger (who is not eligible). The line between the good and bad players is pretty clear, making this list one of the easier ones.

Notable omissions: Bob Hamelin, who hit well but there's no need to protect a DH. Willie Blair is a free agent. Roberto Duran had a great year at AA, but was pretty bad in Detroit. He could be kept over Trammell or Drews.

NEW YORK YANKEES

    David Cone, SP
    Chris Cumberland, SP
    Mike Jerzembeck, SP
    Derek Jeter, SS
    Mike Lowell, 3B
    Tino Martinez, 1B
    Ramiro Mendoza, P
    Paul O'Neill, RF
    Andy Pettitte, SP
    Jorge Posada, C
    Ray Ricken, SP
    Mariano Rivera, RP
    Mike Stanton, RP
    Bernie Williams, CF
    (and Brian Boehringer, P)
The Yankees are going to lose an arm. They just hope someone takes one of the trio of Dwight Gooden, Kenny Rogers or Hideki Irabu, so they can plug in one of the kids on the way up, and save some money in the process. It probably won't happen. Paul O'Neill is only on the list because of 10-and-5. Jeff Nelson is a solid reliever, and there's a good chance he will be lost. If the Yanks buy out O'Neill's 10/5, add Boehringer.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

    Carlos Almanzar, P
    Chris Carpenter, SP
    Roger Clemens, SP
    Felipe Crespo, INF
    Jose Cruz, OF
    Carlos Delgado, DH
    Kelvim Escobar, RP
    Tom Evans, 3B
    Alex Gonzalez, SS
    Shawn Green, OF
    Pat Hentgen, SP
    Jeff Patzke, 2B
    Shannon Stewart, CF
    Andy Thompson, INF
    Woody Williams, P
Another team with a pretty obvious good/bad split. Now that the Paul Beeston Blue Jays are dismantled, the core of the new Jays can take over and contend.

Notable Omissions: Benito Santiago. Overpaid and underproductive, but the only remotely decent catcher above A ball. He could be kept over Williams or Crespo. Juan Guzman: one good year in the last four, and expensive. Former #1 pick SS Kevin Witt is now a first baseman. He's not bad, but isn't going to beat out Delgado anytime soon. Rich Butler is only off the list because the outfield is set, although he, too, could be on instead of Williams.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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