A Michael Young Phillies Retrospective

The Phillies traded Michael Young yesterday, ending a brief era of gritty veteranosity at third base the Phillies hadn’t seen since David Bell. When the rumors started swirling, I was ready to give up atheism:

God said, “let there be Michael Young”, and there was Michael Young, donning freshly-ironed red pinstripes at the press conference. It wasn’t long before he would begin taking batting practice and fielding grounders in Clearwater in preparation for the regular season.

Then the regular season started and Michael Young started grounding into double plays at an historic rate. From May 4:

The Phillies third baseman has logged 23  plate appearances in which a runner is on first base with less than two outs, meaning that Young is grounding into a double play once for every 2.5 opportunities. Additionally, he has logged 114 PA, giving him a pace of 12.7 PA per double play.

A player has crossed the 30+ GIDP plateau just 16 times in baseball history. None of them have had such a high rate of GIDP on a PA basis and few have even come close […]

Once the double plays subsided, Young really started to shine defensively with precious .gif after .gif:

It wasn’t all bad, though. Young went 3-for-5 yesterday, his final game as a Phillie. He was 4-for-5 the night prior, and had logged multiple hits in five of his previous six games. He was in the middle of the Phillies’ comebacks on back-to-back nights against Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt on August 21 and 22. On the 21st, Young broke a 3-3 one-out tie by lacing an RBI single to left field. The following night, he knocked in Jimmy Rollins on third base with a two-out, game-tying RBI infield single to shortstop. The Phillies would win two batters later when Domonic Brown lined an RBI single to right field.

Young goes to the Dodgers ranking among the 20-least valuable players in baseball, according to Baseball Reference. His -1.1 Wins Above Replacement follows up last year’s -2.0 performance, making him the second-least valuable player since the start of the 2012 season.

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11 comments

  1. Cameiros

    September 01, 2013 10:15 AM

    Bill,

    I appreciate your honesty in admitting your comments on MY…but did you really say that?

    The team has come a long way from the days when we fielded some of the best defensive players in the league with Victorino, Werth and younger versions of Utley and Rollins.

    It does not appear this front office values D whatsoever. Personally, I would have been fine with Galvis playing 3rd full time. I appreciate a fine glove. His WAR could not have been worse than MY, while his salary…

    What will it take to purge Rube?

  2. Tim

    September 01, 2013 11:02 AM

    Crashburn is right to beat this dead horse. Batting average and experience does not trump defense and on-base percentage. Players don’t improve or maintain performance in their late thirties, contrary to the Phillies’ opinion.

  3. Larry

    September 01, 2013 11:28 AM

    @ Cameiros,

    RAJ obviously doesn’t care about defense. That is a huge mistake as a GM. It has been one of the biggest downfalls in the RAJ era. If the Phillies don’t make the playoffs next year, I think Rube will be gone IMO.

  4. Steve

    September 01, 2013 12:15 PM

    finally……………..

  5. Ed

    September 01, 2013 03:24 PM

    Well let’s beat that horse. Micheal Young was a great guy who always seemed to provide a certain comic relief that we should not overlook in this lost season – almost as good as Sal Fasano but not quite. The real question we should be asking is ‘what is Kyle Kendrick still doing wearing a Phillies uniform?’

  6. john livio

    September 02, 2013 12:44 AM

    Ruben has a flair for the big move and acts with champagne pockets. Its great to spread around the big money to big time pitchers like Holiday and Lee. You or I could do that. But its the in between moves that make a team and he’s been abysmal at putting complete players on the field. Every move has been for 1 or 2 tool players. The number of 3-4 tool players has diminished significantly each year
    Two years at max before he is sent down.

  7. Kevin H

    September 02, 2013 12:33 PM

    I think the Phillies’ willingness to pencil in developing players at a variety of positions they never played indicates what Amaro thinks of defense. Just grab a glove and man an area.

  8. Duane

    September 02, 2013 09:22 PM

    I think RAJ made a sound decision, and really classy move to the benefit of 2 veteran players who were traded to playoff contending teams. I am sure that were I MY or JM, I would be very appreciative of the consideration to trade with those ball clubs.

  9. Steve

    September 03, 2013 10:43 AM

    @Kevin H
    I think the fact we pencilled in MY at 3B for most of the season and DY in as our Starting RF even though he couldn’t walk on April 1st adequately showed how little RAJ values defense. Is there a site which measures Team Defense, I would imagine the Phils Team Defense would have to be damn close to last in the league.

    When you look at 2011 we had Palanco, Vic and Werth manning three positions manned in 2013 by MY, KF, FG, Revere, JMJ, Cesar, Mini Mart, Ruf, DY …. and not one plus player in the lot (possibly FG but overall no) it’s a damning indictment of RAJ.

  10. Steve

    September 03, 2013 11:06 AM

    So many others and if they showed they could field, they can’t hit (wells, bernadina)

  11. hk

    September 03, 2013 04:10 PM

    Steve,

    According to Fangraphs, the Phils team UZR / 150 was -7.8, ranking them 27th in all of MLB. In addition, according to Fangraphs, the Phillies pitchers’ BABIP was .303, also ranking them 27th in all of MLB.

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