Michael Young May Not Be As Bad As You Think
By Scott Andes
This veteran player caused quite a stir in Dodger land. The player that I am talking about caused great consternation and perhaps even a little constipation amongst some of the Dodger writers around the Dodger blogosphere. Some of them cried, some of them moaned, and some of them bemoaned the Dodgers acquisition of infielder Michael Young a few weeks ago just before the August waiver trade deadline. They cried , they screamed, and they shouted at the world. It was Ned Colletti being Ned Colletti, or so they said. The Dodgers had just acquired Michael Young, and the world was a cruel, cruel place. These people’s world must be pretty small. I thought all the complaining about Young was pretty funny.
Michael Young-Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The truth about this acquisition is that it has worked out well for the Dodgers. So far. Let’s put the Young trade into perspective. The Dodgers acquired the veteran infielder on August 31 from the Phillies in exchange for minor league pitcher Rob Rasmussen. The Dodgers gave up next to nothing for him. (no disrespect to Rasmussen who projects to be a quality relief option, but who cares). Young is a 14 year MLB veteran with a career .300 average and a seven time all-star.
The word veteran gets used way too much with Young, but he is a veteran in every sense of the word. One of the bench marks of a great hitter is the ability to collect 200+ hits. Or at least that’s what I have always felt. Young has six, count them, six 200+ hit seasons. Now I am not saying Young is a great hitter now, obviously he’s not anymore, but at one time he was.
Young was acquired to give the Dodgers a little depth on the bench, and provide some valuable experience during the postseason run. If you understand what Young’s role is with the club, you wouldn’t get upset at all. Young’s role is a part time player and pinch-hitter, that’s all.
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Young is not going to usurp Juan Uribe at third base, and no the Dodgers are not going to sign him to a multi-year deal. More than likely, Young and the Dodgers will part ways at the end of the season. Remember not every player acquired during the stretch drive stay with the team. Most of them are just rentals, and that’s what Young is at the moment, he is an August/September rental.
But he gives the Dodgers another option off the bench in the late innings, and that’s his primary purpose. He’s not here for anything else. Yes he’s going to get occasional starts here and there. He might get a single start in the playoffs, It’s not a big deal because the guy can still hit and reach base at a decent clip. We all know how much Don Mattingly loves playing match-ups.
But saying that Young sucks, just isn’t looking at the numbers. Yes he’s old and has had injury issues, but most of the Dodgers have had injury problems all year long, so he fits in well. But if you look at his numbers you’ll see that he can still hit. Young is hitting .284 (144 for 507) with eight home runs, 46 runs driven in, and a .339 OBP. Young has walked 42 times, and whiffed 86 times, yet has only whiffed four times with the Dodgers. Those aren’t great stats, but let’s stop pretending like Michael Young is Eugenio Velez or something.
So far With the Dodgers, Young has done pretty well. Young is hitting .385 (15 for 39) with a .375 OBP, and four runs driven in, in 17 games. During those 17 games, Young has split time between first and third base. Young is primarily a corner infielder now, but has experience playing second and short.
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Young isn’t the greatest defensive player in the world. But he hasn’t been terrible. He’s played a decent third base. He’s only made one error at third base, although total runs above/below average ratings don’t like his fielding. He’s rated as a below average defender. I would agree with that, but he’s been fine so far in limited time with the Dodgers.
Young has a ton of postseason experience. Young has played in 34 playoff games in his career, and has played in 12 career World Series games. He’s played in two of the last three World Series while he was with the Rangers. Young has 15 hits in 17 games with the Dodgers and has played decent defense at first and third base. I know it’s a small sample size, but come on, give the guy a break. It was Young’s late inning double on Sunday afternoon that drove in Adrian Gonzalez to give the Dodgers a 1-0 win over San Diego. The guy can still hit.
That’s why the Dodgers picked him up. The Dodgers picked up Young for his bat, and his experience. No, Young is not going to replace Juan Uribe. No Young is not going to sign a 3 year 30 million dollar contract with the Dodgers in the offseason. No, Young is not going to make the team worse. He actually makes the club better. There’s really no reason to be concerned, or consternated, or even constipated about Michael Young possibly making the Dodger’s playoff roster. He’s here for a reason. The Dodgers are going to use him, and be a better club for it in the postseason. He may not contribute anything at all in the playoffs, but he’s another choice off the bench. That’s what it’s about with these types of part time players in October. It’s all about giving Mattingly extra choices during the playoffs. If you think about it, Michael Young may not be as bad as you think.