Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Picking baseball's best infields as Astros and Cubs battle for top spot
In "normal" times, we'd be looking at the fifth installment of the Official Internet MLB Power Rankings here on CBS Sports. The Major League Baseball season would be some 30-ish games deep for each team.
Instead, we're left looking at the still-blank standings and day-dreaming as to what could have been. To help fill the void here, we'll be power ranking something else instead. We've done slugging, rotations and outfields so far. This time around, let's hit the infields.
At the top here is the team that -- if social media is any indication -- has replaced the New York Yankees as the most-hated team in baseball. Yes, it's the Houston Astros.
Sign-stealing or not, the Astros' infield is ridiculous. Jose Altuve has an MVP and a third-place finish. He was banged up last season and still had a 131 OPS+ and 3.8 WAR in 124 games. Speaking of being banged up, Carlos Correa rarely stays healthy. He also carries career 162-game averages of 35 doubles, 30 homers, 110 RBI, 93 runs and 10 steals while being an outstanding defender at shortstop. Then there's Alex Bregman, who plays short just fine when Correa is hurt. He was second in MVP voting last season and fifth in 2018. He's heading to his age-26 season a full-blown superstar. The first baseman isn't too shabby, either.
It doesn't get any better than that.
An interesting quirk once we get past the top dog: The 2-4 teams here have studs at first, short and third with question marks at second base.
These are obviously subjective and are rankings for a 2020 season that is bound to be a lot shorter and more unpredictable than anything we've ever seen before. As such, we will likely disagree, and that's OK. Surely any disagreement means one of us is ignorant and biased, because that's just how the world works these days. There is no room for respectful disagreement.
Oh, and no, a catcher is not part of the infield