2011 Projection: Can Michael Young Continue His Consistent Production?

The Texas Rangers’ Michael Young is almost as consistent as they come.  Yes, he went through a few years where the power all but disappeared, but he’s now posted back-to-back 20+ home run seasons and is showing no signs of slowing down.

He’s become a rock in a high-powered Rangers offense, having put up the following numbers in 2010:

656 At Bats
.284 Batting Average (186 Hits)
21 Home Runs
91 RBI
99 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.330 On Base Percentage
.444 Slugging Percentage
.311 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The average is lower then we would have expected, as Young is a career .300 hitter.  While the BABIP is a believable number, he has a career mark of .335 since making his Major League debut in 2000 (though, he had just two at bats that season).  From 2003 – 2009, his lowest BABIP was .323, so it certainly is a fair assumption that his number will be higher in 2011.

He also saw a slight increase in his strikeout totals.  He posted a 17.5% mark, his highest number since 2002 (19.5%).  Over the past three year’s he’s posted strikeout rates of:

  • 2007 – 16.7%
  • 2008 – 16.9%
  • 2009 – 16.6%

It’s not a huge regression, but if he improves his mark back down to the 16.5% range, plus an improved BABIP, and you get a hitter likely right back around the .300 mark.

While the power is realistic, I’m not sure you can expect him to drive in 90 runs again in 2011.  The Rangers score plenty of runs, but hitting primarily second just doesn’t lend itself to that many RBI.

It does, however, mean plenty of runs scored.  With an increase in average, he’s likely to score even more runs then he did in 2010, with Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and company waiting to drive him in.  Over 100 is an almost certainty, while it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him eclipse 110.

At a shallow position, that gives Young a huge advantage over the rest of the field.

Let’s take a look at what I am projecting for him in 2011:

.297 (193-650), 22 HR, 80 RBI, 105 R, 8 SB, .330 BABIP, .348 OBP, .460 SLG

While those are not elite numbers, they put him in line to be among the top five or six options in the league, especially when you consider that he has the potential to outperform the average, RBI and run marks.  When you put that package together, it’s hard not to like him.

At a position filled with uncertainty, getting an option where you know what you can expect certainly means a lot.

What are your thoughts of Young?  Can he live up to these numbers?  What are you expecting from him in 2011?

Make sure to check out our 2011 projections:

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