Saturday, July 27, 2013

Should The Yankees Even Bother With Michael Young?

There is more talk about the Yankees trading for Michael Young, regardless of what the Phillies have said about their third baseman's availability. At the same time there has been a lot of chatter over whether the Yankees are that much better with Alfonso Soriano than they were before. On that note, I think they are better (especially in the power department), but that trade has not pushed them into the "true contender" category. So would dealing for Young get them there?

Can adding Young get us here?

Well, I decided to look over some pros and cons of acquiring Young...


  • He'll be a free agent after this season, so this wouldn't be like trading for Soriano or Wells... who both are signed through next season (although the Yankees won't be paying Wells much of anything in 2014, so he could be released without a second thought). 
  • Young is getting on base a little over 34% of the time, which is right in line with his career on-base percentage (.347). 
  • With 147 plate appearances in the postseason, all with Texas between 2010 and 2012, he does have enough experience there that we shouldn't need to worry about him feeling that pressure.
  • Seeing as how it's much higher than his career average, it may not continue, but as of right now Michael's walking quite a bit more than he ever has. His career walk rate is 6.7%, while he's walking 8.9% of the time in 2013.
  • Mike's hitting .278/.391/.417 with runners in scoring position... all three stats being much better than the .254/.338/.375 slash the Yankees have put up with RISP this season. 
  • Being a right-handed batter, and coming from hitter-friendly Citizen's Bank Park, you'd think that Young would hit for less power at Yankee Stadium. But his career slugging percentage of .441 at Yankee Stadium (average between Yankee Stadium 2 and Yankee Stadium 3), which is right in line with his career mark in that area (.441), says otherwise. 
  • Being a right-handed batter, you may think his numbers against right-handed pitchers may not be that good. However, Young is hitting .299 with a .767 OPS against them this season, and has hit .297 with a .775 OPS against same-sided pitching in his career.


  • Michael's .278 batting average this season is at it's lowest since his second full season in MLB (.262 in 2002). 
  • His slugging percentage, while not as bad as it was in 2012, is still much lower than it was from 2009 to 2011 (.404 in 2013, .478 between 2009 and 2011). 
  • Those lower numbers could be due to running into some bad luck, but Young's batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .313 does not support that theory.
  • In the "Pro" section I mentioned his postseason experience, but while experience there is great, a batting line of .248/.272/.383 isn't.
  • Young is striking out at a much higher rate than he did the previous two years (14.3% in 2013, as opposed to 11% from 2011 to 2012).
  • As seen by his triple-slash of .217/.314/.380, Michael hasn't hit left-handers well at all this year. To be fair, though, historically he's hit them very well (.333/.371/.423 last season, and .309/.362/.467 in his career). 
  • Although Young has had 60 more at bats on the road this season, he's hit one less home run away from homer-friendly Citizen's Bank Park. If he were a left-handed batter I wouldn't worry about that, thanks to Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field, but he would likely miss out on a few home runs due to batting right-handed.
No, I didn't plan on having an equal number of "Pros" and "Cons".

At 36 years old, Michael Young is certainly declining, so an improvement after a move to the Yankees is unlikely. We did see Ichiro's numbers go way up after being dealt to New York last season, so I suppose the same thing could happen to Young. But what we saw from Suzuki is certainly not the norm. However, it would take a dramatic plunge in productivity from Young for him not to be an improvement over what the Yankees have gotten out of their third basemen so far this season.

Personally, I'm not sold that adding Michael Young would get them to "true contender" status. That doesn't mean I don't want to see it happen, as any improvement on offense would be welcome, but if the price is anything close to too much then I wouldn't bother.

What do you think about this proposed lineup (when, or should I say "if", healthy)?

1. Brett Gardner - CF
2. Derek Jeter - SS
3. Robinson Cano - 2B
4. Alfonso Soriano - DH
5. Michael Young - 3B
6. Curtis Granderson - LF
7. Ichiro Suzuki - RF
8. Lyle Overbay - 1B
9. Austin Romine - C



  1. The point I think you missed out on with this trade is not the fact that Michael Young would or even has to improve if he came to the Yankees. The draw to Michael Young has always been durability, versatility, and the fact that he is an upgrade over what we already have.

    We need Michael Young to be an upgrade over David Adams, Luis Cruz, Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, etc.... not an upgrade over himself.

    1. "However, it would take a dramatic plunge in productivity from Young for him not to be an improvement over what the Yankees have gotten out of their third basemen so far this season."

      I didn't miss the fact he'd be an improvement over what we currently have or had.


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