The hot stove season may be in a bit of a lull at this moment, but some interesting news came out to day when the Phillies acquired Michael Young from the Rangers.
So, I got to thinking, what kind of numbers will he produce with the Phillies? Well, Michael Young is a .301 career hitter and has been really consistent for the better part of a decade.
There is a little concern as he hit .277 last year and turned 36 in the offseason. That’s the lowest batting average he’s produced since 2002 and it’s a little troubling when someone’s production drops when he gets into his mid-late 30′s. But the reality is that in 2011 he hit .338 and we frequently see high-average hitters maintain good production for a long time. Heck, Marco Scutaro is a year older than Young and hit .306 last year, bumping that up to .362 after joining San Francisco. Like Young, Scutaro is a career .301 hitter, so there are some parallels to draw from.
In terms of production, I am expecting similar things. Sure, he’s leaving good players like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus, but new teammates Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Carlos Ruiz (once his 25-game suspension is over) aren’t exactly chopped liver. Also, like Rangers Ballpark, Citizen’s Bank Park is very hitter friendly, so I don’t see this as anything worse than a lateral move in terms of fantasy-number aiding production around him.
Plus, Young had 10-5 rights, which basically is a no-trade clause. If he didn’t want to be in Philadelphia, he wouldn’t be. So, he thinks he can produce, and I agree.
If he bats second, I’d look for around 90-100 runs scored. Batting fifth or sixth would drop the runs but bump the RBI production to a similar range. Regardless of where he bats in the order, I’d look for about 15 homers with a batting average somewhere between .285 and .320.
But there’s one thing that I really like about this move that can’t go overlooked. Young is a highly versatile player. He was primarily used as Texas’ DH in 2012, but played 41 games at first, 16 at second, 25 at third, and even four at short. Eligibility does deviate but by the end of the year, he probably had eligibility at first, second, and third. When the season begins, he’s likely to have eligibility at both corner positions. But those are pretty deep this year. The question is, up the middle, will he pick up eligibility at either short or second? My guess right now is yes, if he stays healthy.
Take a look at Rollins and Utley’s games played over the last few years.
- 2010 - 88 games played
- 2011 - 142 games played
- 2012 - 156 games played
- 2010 - 115 games played
- 2011 - 103 games played
- 2012 - 83 games played
Both players will be 34 on Opening Day in 2013 and while Rollins did stay healthy in 2012, it’s not likely that either will get through the 2013 season without a trip to the DL. Now, the Rangers do have Kevin Frandsen who is also highly versatile, but if those guys go to the DL, Charlie Manuel could easily switch Young to second or short.
What that means is that a pretty productive player is somewhat likely to pick up eligibility at a thin position. It’s not quite on par with Miguel Cabrera getting third base eligibility last year, but it’s pretty good, especially when you consider how thin the middle infield positions are.