It is a sad day when you realize that the big “new player” that the New York Yankees signed during the off-season was 33 year old, somewhat injury-prone, Kevin Youkilis. I grew up during the years when every off-season, the Yankees would sign the most coveted free agent on the market. As a Yankees fan, it is a bittersweet sight to see that not happen.
Anyway, all personal gripes aside, Youkilis was signed to replace Alex Rodriguez who is expected to be out of action until after the All-Star Break with a hip injury. Youkilis will see a lot of time at third base, but will also split time every now and then as both a first baseman and a designated hitter.
That being said, what can we realistically expect from “Youk” during the 2013 season?
First off, one must assume that Youk will be batting lower in the order – probably around the six or seven spot. For the sake of this article, I’ll assume that he will bat sixth on a consistent basis, being preceded by Curtis Granderson, and succeeded by the designated hitter - Matt Diaz, for example.
There is a reason that Youkilis is commonly referred to as “The Greek God of Walks.” He has a tremendous eye and has never walked less than 50 times in a season where he was regularly playing. His career-high in walks is 91 – but that came back in 2006. People say that Youkilis’ walk numbers have dropped over the last few years – and to an extent – they have.
Since the turn of the decade, the most walks Youk has drawn in a season was 68 in 2011. He followed that up with just 51 walks last season – his lowest since 2004. It is certainly possible that pitchers could opt to pitch around him in an attempt to get to the bottom of the order, so I would expect that number to go up a little bit. I would say that 55 walks can be expected from Youkilis.
Youkilis has never been a big home run guy, but if he plays more than 100 times in a season – which he should – he will hit double digits in homers. In 2010, Youk only played in 102 games, yet still hit 19 home runs. He hit the same total last year while playing 122 games. Therefore, a fair estimate for Youkilis would be around 16 home runs. Add in the fact that there is a good chance for men to be on base when he comes up, and he could probably hit around 75 RBIs.
As for batting average, Youkilis has dropped off over the last few seasons. In 2010 he hit .307, followed by .258 in 2011, and then .235 in 2012. It’s relatively tough to predict batting averages, however there is a good chance that Youk will get more than 100 hits in 2013. Therefore, a batting average around .245 would be most likely.
The final line for Youkilis:
.245/16 HR/ 75 RBI/ 55 BB
That’s not a terrible for a player who is expected to see a lot of playing time over the course of the 2013 season. I’m sure it will be interesting to come back towards the end of 2013, and see if these predictions were close. However until then, we’ve got a whole season ahead of us.
Get ready baseball fans, only 28 days until pitchers and catchers report!