Michael Young is poised for a breakout year for the Philadelphia Phillies. The more at bats Young collects the more he has impressed the Phillies brass so far this spring, who hope his veteran experience will prove itself invaluable to the Phillies already experienced lineup and help lead the Phillies into the playoff hunt.
Michael Young is one of the all-time great Texas Rangers players, but he was traded to the Phillies for very little: RP Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Lisaverto Bonilla plus $10 million of the $16M Young is owed. The Rangers moved Young becasue they are stacked with young infield talent, namely Mike Olt and Jurrickson Profar, and were looking to cut payroll.
Young suffered through the worst offensive season of his 12-year career in 2012, and the Phillies are betting that it was only an anomaly. Michael Young’s career batting average is .288, but last year he batted .277, which is his lowest since 2002. History is on the Phillies side, he’s batted .300 or better 7 times in the last 10 years.
Conversely, Young has never been a very good fielder; his UZR (ultimate zone rating) has been below zero every year since 2002. He hasn’t played in a large amount of games at third base either, not since 2010 when he played 155 games at the hot corner. Last year he only played 41 times at third.
The Phillies don’t need Young to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs (for reference, he’s hit 20+ HR four times, and had 100+ RBI only twice). They need a player who will be able to play 140 or more games at third and not blow games defensively. They need a player with a high on base percentage and a high baseball IQ that will allow the players behind him to drive him home. The Philadelphia Phillies bet that, for one year, Michael Young can be that spark in the offense.