Comparing the Yankees and Mets can be a tricky business. They play in different leagues, and often are saddled with different expectations. But we like to do it anyway this time of year, so here’s our list of the city’s best, in order, judged by talent, career resume and, of course, star power. It’s an inexact science, lumping position players with pitchers, but a fun exercise nonetheless.
1. Giancarlo Stanton, 28, Yankees, OF/DH
The reigning National League MVP hasn’t even shown up yet at Steinbrenner Field, but when you’re coming off a 59-homer season, and can beat Aaron Judge in a longest-drive contest, it’s worthy of the No. 1 ranking.
2. Aaron Judge, 25, Yankees, OF/DH
Like Stanton, a force of nature, but Judge gets edged out of the top spot only because his new teammate has been destroying baseballs for eight years rather than just one. Still, Judge was Rookie of the Year, hit 52 homers himself, and even at 6-7, still has room to grow.
3. Noah Syndergaard, 25, Mets, RHP
With a 100-mph fastball, and a nickname like Thor, Syndergaard has both the game and persona made for New York. Got a taste of his own mortality last season when he was felled by a torn lat muscle, but expect him to come back smarter and stronger, poised for a Cy Young bid.
4. Jacob deGrom, 29, Mets, RHP
Consistently the most dominant of Flushing’s young guns, deGrom has a 2.98 ERA over his first four seasons, and struck out a career-best 239 last season (10.7 SO/9). Shed his trademark flowing locks for 2018, so we’ll see how the re-branding goes.
5. Luis Severino, 23, Yankees, RHP
The only thing scarier than Severino’s devastating fastball-changeup combo is the fact that he’s just 23, with a ceiling that continues to rise after a third-place finish in the AL Cy Young vote last season. Funny to think he’s getting help from Yankees’ nemesis Pedro Martinez.
6. Didi Gregorius, 27, Yankees, SS
Saddled with the impossible task of replacing Derek Jeter, Gregorius has not only done that — he’s now working on surpassing the Bronx legend for excellence at this premium position. Gregorius’ 25 homers last season broke Jeter’s team record for shortstops, prompting him to be used as the improbable cleanup hitter for 42 games.
7. Gary Sanchez, 25, Yankees, C
Last season was a weird one for Sanchez, who drilled 33 home runs but was dogged by criticism involving his passed balls and he butted heads with former manager Joe Girardi on numerous occasions. Bottom line, Sanchez has the potential to be the Yankees’ Mike Piazza, only a better defender.
8. Yoenis Cespedes, 32, Mets, LF
Cespedes enjoys the big stage as much as his flashy car collection, and possesses a game-changing swing that makes him a must-see attraction at Citi. So we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt after injuries limited him to 81 games last season. He can’t do damage without staying on the field.
9. Masahiro Tanaka, 29, Yankees, RHP
Tanaka’s immense talent can be puzzling at times, and his slow start last season — even with an opt-out as motivation — was tough to figure. But Tanaka restored his big-game image by dominating last October (0.90 ERA in three playoff starts) and pleased his fans by sticking with the Yankees.
10. CC Sabathia, 37, LHP
Tough call here, with others like Greg Bird, Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce or even Amed Rosario also deserving consideration. But Sabathia gets the nod based on last year’s renaissance (14-5, 3.69 ERA) and his valuable role as elder statesman/mentor for this next Yankees’ generation.