There was a time that Michael Young was one of the top SS in all of baseball, but he enters 2009 as the Rangers 3B. That certainly is going to bring a major hit to his fantasy value moving forward, but since he will maintain eligibility at SS for one more season he should hold some value. Exactly how much is a completely different story.
Let’s take a look at what he produced last season:
645 At Bats
.284 Batting Average (183 Hits)
12 Home Runs
10 Stolen Bases
.339 On Base Percentage
.402 Slugging Percentage
.326 Batting Average on Balls in Play
As a SS, those are useful numbers (as a 3B they’d be pathetic, but that’s an article for 2010), though far from elite levels. He doesn’t bring tremendous power. He doesn’t bring tremendous speed. Heck, he doesn’t even bring a tremendous average anymore.
Last season marked the first time since 2002 that he failed to eclipse the .300 mark. While his BABIP was lower then it had been in years past, it is far from a substandard mark. His strikeout rate was similar to his ’07 mark, at 16.9% (he was at 16.7% in ’07). He also walked at a similar rate, at 7.9% (he was at 6.9% in ’07).
While he did hit .302 over the seasons first half, he actually only had two months for the season when he was over .300, April (.302) and July (.313). His other months were:
- May – .276
- June – .275
- August – .260
- September – .277
That doesn’t give much promise for a rebound, as it wasn’t just a late season swoon that caused the drop in average. It was a consistent struggle, culminating with his .256 second half. For a player that never brought much power or speed to the table, this type of drop-off is crippling to his value.
I know, he has hit 22 and 24 HR in a season, but that was in 2004 and 2005. In the three seasons since, he has hit just a total of 35 HR, including a 9 HR campaign in 2007.
If he had continued to show doubles power, at least, I would say that there was hope that his power could suddenly reemerge. In 2006 he ripped 52 doubles, giving owners a glimmer of hope. Maybe it was just a down year. Maybe he just kept coming up short, driving the ball to the wall.
Scratch those thoughts, given his seasons of 37 and 36 doubles since. It was a good run, a short burst that helped fantasy owners. Unfortunately it’s safe to say that those seasons are gone.
Yes, he’ll chip in double-digit SB, but his career high is just 13. Considering there will be owners in your league who have guys like Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins and Rafael Furcal, and you are going to be at a disadvantage.
I know, past that there aren’t too many other options that bring significant speed, but at least they bring power potential. Guys like Jhonny Peralta, for instance.
Can we point to the runs as a possible advantage? He did surpass the century mark, one of only 4 SS to do it. However, 63 of those runs came in the first half, when Josh Hamilton was destroying AL pitching. Was it Hamilton that helped Young succeed or was it Young’s struggles that led to Hamilton’s fall off?
The truth is that Hamilton needs Young to be getting on base to be successful. He needs people in front of him to drive in runs. Granted, the power wasn’t there and it is likely that he tired over the stresses of a full season, but it’s not like Young was seeing less pitches to hit because Hamilton was struggling.
I am already on record as saying that Hamilton is unlikely to repeat his ’08 success, which leads me to believe that a 100 run season is not in Young’s future. I would think something in the 90 range would be more realistic
So, let me get this straight. We have a player who:
- Has seen his average fall and is unlikely to reach .300
- Has never been a real SB threat and will likely barely get to double-digits once again
- Has not shown any power for three years running
- Will have a hard time reaching the 100 run mark again
What exactly does he bring to the table? Nothing, in my opinion, and here’s my projection to prove it:
.291 (193-663), 12 HR, 77 RBI, 92 R, 9 SB, .331 BABIP, .348 OBP, .413 SLG
That’s a fine line, but it brings little value to fantasy owners unless as a last resort option. You would like him to bring something to the table, anything. Unfortunately, his best quality is that he simply is not terrible anywhere. That’s a good thing, for sure, but if I had my choice, I’m taking someone that actually helps me as my starting SS.
What about you? Is Young a player you’d like to own?
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.