I’ll be honest, I was kind of surprised last week when many people seemed down on Kevin Youkilis. I can understand the debate between him and Ryan Zimmerman, as I do have their 2010 projections to be extremely close. Still, people seemed to be of the opinion that he wasn’t even in the same class of player.
First, let’s look at the numbers he posted in 2009:
491 At Bats
.305 Batting Average (150 Hits)
27 Home Runs
7 Stolen Bases
.413 On Base Percentage
.548 Slugging Percentage
.363 Batting Average on Balls in Play
That comes a year after he went .312, 29 HR, 115 RBI and 91 R.
You want to point to the BABIP? He struck out a career worst 25.5% of the time last season and should be in line for an improvement there. That means that even with decreased luck, he shouldn’t see a significant decrease in average since he should be putting more balls in play.
You want to point to the 16.5% HR/FB rate? He was 14.9% in 2008, so how long does he have to consistently show the skill before we believe it?
In the same token, his flyball rate has been between 44.2% and 45.0% for the past four years, so there’s no questioning that. Given his consistency the past two years, the power is very much for real and he certainly has the potential to reach the 30 home run plateau.
Want to say that the Red Sox lineup isn’t what it used to be? Yeah, that’s a fair argument, but it’s not like the Red Sox are going to be a poor offensive unit. He’s going to have Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia & Victor Martinez hitting in front of him, so there’s going to be plenty of opportunities to drive in runs.
Will he score close to 100 again? Probably not, though don’t underestimate the guys at the backend of the lineup. David Ortiz. Mike Cameron. J.D. Drew. Adrian Beltre. These are all players with the potential to hit the ball out of the ballpark each time they step to the plate. Seeing him score 90 wouldn’t be surprising at all.
Yes, this isn’t the same type of Red Sox lineup that we’ve come to know, but that doesn’t mean that Youkilis is not going to be able to perform like he has over the past two seasons.
You want to say that he’s older? Well, he is just turning 31-years old in March. Since when is that past your prime? The way people discuss him, you would think that he’s 37 or 38-years old and clearly on the downturn of his career.
Yes, Zimmerman is younger and has more long-term potential so dynasty league owners would likely prefer him, but as far as 2010 goes the two are on an even playing field.
Let’s take a look my projection for him for 2010:
.307 (164-535), 29 HR, 105 RBI, 95 R, 5 SB, .341 BABIP, .406 OBP, .551 SLG
There just isn’t anything not to like about those numbers. Throw in his flexibility, being eligible at 1B and 3B, and I am a big fan of his heading into 2010. I don’t believe the negatives that people are pointing to, because he has proven the past two seasons that he can perform at a high-level. Why should we expect him to simply fall apart now?
What are your thoughts on Youkilis? Is he a player that you are not as high on? What are you expecting from him in 2010?
Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here.
Make sure to check out some of our 2010 projections, including:
- Andrus, Elvis
- Baker, Scott
- Beckham, Gordon
- Blanks, Kyle
- Burnett, A.J.
- Butler, Billy
- Cabrera, Everth
- Cain, Matt
- Correia, Kevin
- Davis, Chris
- Escobar, Alcides
- Furcal, Rafael
- Hamels, Cole
- Harang, Aaron
- Kershaw, Clayton
- Kouzmanoff, Kevin
- Lee, Derrek
- Lopez, Jose
- Nolasco, Ricky
- Oswalt, Roy
- Pena, Carlos
- Peralta, Jhonny
- Rasmus, Colby
- Reimold, Nolan
- Shields, James
- Suzuki, Ichiro
- Upton, B.J.
- Vazquez, Javier
- Votto, Joey
- Werth, Jayson
- Wieters, Matt
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.