Where do the Yankees stand against the Mets in the individual arena?

Players from the Yankees and the Mets

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Bitter competition is the hallmark of the cross-town rivalry between the Yankees and the Mets. New York baseball fans are sharply divided between their allegiance to the Bronx and the Queens. The push for one-upmanship by either pervades every area in baseball and beyond.

During the preseason, all predictions put the Mets and the Yankees on equal footing. But two weeks into the schedule, not much had changed. The New York teams won’t play their first series against each other until June 13 at Citi Field. The two-game second Subway Series will end a week before the August 1 trade deadline, on July 25-26 in The Bronx.

It is another matter that those four games will decide who has the better record at the end of the season. But let’s see how both teams stand against each other when considering their individual stars who can decide the cross-town rivalry this year.

Judge vs. Alonso: Who will hit more HRs

In 2017, Aaron Judge set the record for most home runs by a rookie with 52. Pete Alonso broke that record in 2019 with 53. Judge hit 62 home runs last season, which was an American League and New York record. Can Alonso keep the pace to beat the Judge? Looks uncertain.

However, Alonso so far has the most home runs in the MLB with seven compared to Judge’s five.

In the four seasons they played together, Alonso hit more home runs than Judge in 2019 and 2020. But Judge hit more in 2021 and 2022. Since Alonso joined the Mets, he has hit 153 home runs, which is more than anyone else in MLB.

At 142 with the Yankees, Judge came next. Both started playing in the big leagues in their 24th year. Judge has hit 225 home runs in his career, and Alonso has hit 153 in his 28th year.

Volpe vs. Alvarez: The Yankees vs. Mets rookie battle

Fans see the 2023 rookie battle as the one between Francisco Alvarez and Anthony Volpe. However, rookies of both the Mets or the Yankees didn’t have a start that one can call a dream rookie debut.

Alvarez seems to have less time to show what he can do, in part because the Mets don’t seem as willing to play him. They have made it sound like Tomas Nido will be their main catcher while Omar Narvaez is out with a strained calf for about two months.

If Alvarez can’t catch and can’t play regularly, the Mets have a reason to send him back to Triple-A to get more experience. He may get a chance to stay only if he hits when he gets a chance, as his team needs support for the bottom of the lineup, which looks weak at the moment and includes Nido, another player with below par performance. Even so, his team puts a lot of weight on defense at catcher, so that might not be enough to keep Alvarez in the big leagues.

Alvarez is 1-for-11 with five strikeouts. Between his late-season cameo last year and his early showing this year, he was 3-for-23 (.130).

Volpe got the Yankees shortstop job after a great spring. On Friday night, he hit his first home run. He came into the game with the 12th worst batting average in the majors (.158) and was striking out 32.6 percent of the time. Who was the 13th-worst? Gunnar Henderson of Baltimore hit .162 and struck out 37.5 percent of the time. Before the season, most baseball experts agreed that Henderson was the best prospect in the game. Because of this, he was the favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year.

Volpe has done well on defense, and Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, said before the season that Volpe would be the shortstop, implying that the Yankees were willing to let him go through some growing pains. Since Isiah Kiner-Falefa can’t be brought back, the Yankees would have to think that Oswald Peraza could do better than Volpe. It doesn’t seem likely that will happen.

Escobar vs. Donaldson: The bad boys

Eduardo Escobar had the second-lowest batting average (.114) of those who qualified. He has had trouble hitting right-handed pitchers both last year and this year. The left-handed batter went 2-for-21 and hit a home run. In nine Triple-A games this year, he hit .400 and hit five home runs.

Escobar, unlike Josh Donaldson, is well liked by his teammates but not by Yankees fans. Donaldson is getting better after straining his right hamstring. Aaron Boone, the manager of the Yankees, was sure that Donaldson would have a good year. But he was only 2 for 16 when he was put on the injured list. The Yankees can cover the third base with mostly DJ LeMahieu, but also Kiner-Falefa and Oswaldo Cabrera.

It seems like Hal Steinbrenner will have to answer the question of how much money he is willing to lose on Donaldson and Aaron Hicks at some point. Donaldson started this year owing $28 million between 2023 and a buyout on a 2024 option. Over three seasons, Hicks was owed $31 million. With Harrison Bader getting closer to coming back to the Yankees and Franchy Cordero being a valuable lefty hitter, the Yankees might have to make a quick decision about Aaron Hicks.

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