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Friday, January 31, 2014

Ruddick: Michael Young: A poor man’s Derek Jeter

A GIF basket, if you will.

It’s a foregone conclusion that New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will call Cooperstown his home five years after the day he steps away from baseball.

But you don’t hear the same thing when you mention longtime Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young.

And I’m not exactly sure why.

...Jeter has 3,000 hits and was the leader of the more storied teams in all of sports. I get the hullabaloo when it comes to him. He’s been crammed down our throats enough we all think he is great. And he is great. A tad overrated, but, yes, he is a guaranteed lock Hall of Famer. In fact, I told people a few weeks back that I think he’ll probably be the one to challenge Tom Seaver’s Hall of Fame vote record.

So if Jeter is such a sure-fire first balloter, why isn’t Young even in the conversation? The numbers don’t lie. Would we look at Young any differently had be been the one playing shortstop for the Yankees?

Or had he played his entire career in the 1980s?

People always like to tell you about Jeter’s intangibles. Well, how can you do that without talking about Young, one of the true leaders in the game. How many times did he offer to switch positions for the good of the Rangers? Toward the end, there was some dissension sure, but that had more to do with the fact the Rangers just started to take him for granted.

Oddly enough, the main knock on Young, like Jeter, is his defense. But, again like Jeter, if you watch enough of him, you know he makes every play he needs to. There are no stats more overrated than advanced defensive statistics.

Look, if you want to knock Michael Young and tell me the only thing that made him a great player was the ability to consistently hit for a high average, that’s fine.

But then you must not think much of Derek Jeter, either.

Repoz Posted: January 31, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

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   1. John Northey Posted: January 31, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4649372)
Hmm... lets see...
104 OPS+ vs 117
2375 hits vs 3316
14 years vs 19 years (and counting)
625 playoff OPS and 0 WS wins vs 838 OPS and 5 rings
793 games at SS vs 2544 at SS
7 ASG vs 13 ASG
11 black ink vs 10 - huh, he does win somewhere
24.1 WAR vs 66.7 WAR

So one item where Young leads (barely) and the rest are blowouts for Jeter. I mean, not even remotely close.

Tony Fernandez is a better comp I'd think...
101 OPS+, 2276 hits, 17 years, 787 playoff OPS & 1 WS ring, 1573 games at SS, 5 ASG's, just 3 for black ink, 45.2 WAR (legit gold glove SS vs Young and Jeter not being that).

Actually, Fernandez is a better HOF case imo. So Young is well down the HOF list. He is a guy who would've needed 3000 hits to make it imo.
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 31, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4649376)
Look, if you want to knock Michael Young and tell me the only thing that made him a great player was the ability to consistently hit for a high average, that’s fine.

But then you must not think much of Derek Jeter, either.
I'm so tired of people always making fun of Jeter's empty batting average.
   3. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4649408)
Michael Young is filling the hole that Jeff Francoeur has left in the BBTF Newsfeed.
   4. dlf Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4649416)
How many times did he offer to switch positions for the good of the Rangers?


Zero. He publicly and frequently whined each time he was moved. Now I don't give bonus points for being happy to be demoted to a lesser position for the good of the team - a player helps his team by being more than a little selfish - but rewarding Young for offering to switch positions is like rewarding Pete Rose for being a good example of personal restraint and self-accountability.
   5. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4649418)
But you don’t hear the same thing when you mention longtime Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young.


Because Micheal Young was the POOR MAN's Derek Jeter.
   6. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4649423)
So if Jeter is such a sure-fire first balloter, why isn’t Young even in the conversation? The numbers don’t lie. Would we look at Young any differently had be been the one playing shortstop for the Yankees?


Michael Young was more SS than anything else, but he was everything else more than SS. Only 793 games at SS, 174th all time. 5 seasons. Plus he was a horrible defender. Worse than Jeter even. Only 2 players who played at least 80% of their games at 2nd, 3rd, or SS have a career dWAR below -10: Young (-11.4) and Ed Yost (-10.6). Though if he plays a full season this year, Jeter will likely join them (-9.2).

He'd have a better HOF case if he had stayed at 2B ( though still not much of one). dWAR as a 2B (3 seasons) - (+)1.1 Dwar as a SS (5 seasons) - (-)3.6.
   7. jdennis Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4649429)
The comparison is actually apt, since Young is a plus hitter but not as good as Jeter, and a similarly crappy fielder to Jeter, so he is in fact a poor man's Jeter. But the excerpt, at least, brings up all the wrong supporting arguments, and just tries to lionize Young, which is okay, but doesn't serve the comparison. To me calling Young a crappier version of Jeter is completely accurate.
   8. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4649432)
Which is still a hell of a thing.
   9. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4649442)
You could cut Derek Jeter in half and have two players who were both better than Michael Young. By a lot. Especially the right half.

Also, Michael Young has earned approximately $91M in baseball. He is not a poor man's anything.
   10. AROM Posted: January 31, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4649463)
Zero. He publicly and frequently whined each time he was moved.


True when moved off short for Andrus and third for Beltre. But I thought he volunteered to move to short after A-Rod was traded. Is my memory off?

Back when I was regularly blogging, I once thought of doing an article making a case for Young as an unappreciated Derek Jeter clone. I mean, he just doesn't get all the attention of NY, right? And then shelved it once I looked at the context neutral stats, among other things.

Young's average at .300 is a bit short of Jeter's .312. He's closer in slugging, .441 to .446. Jeter averages about 20 more walks per year though, adding up to a big (.381-.346) edge in OBP. Then you've got to consider park effects (Young's career OPS is 108 points higher at home, Jeter is only 38 points better at home.). Finally, career length. By the first year Young played a full season, Jeter already had 6 superstar seasons under his belt. And though Young just retired, Jeter has at least one more season in him.

Add it all up and he's as similar to Jeter as Jim Rice is to Hank Aaron (they are both hall of fame right handed sluggers who drove in lots of runs and hit into a good number of double plays). Similar strengths and weaknesses, but Jeter is much, much better.
   11. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 31, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4649474)
He is not a poor man's anything.

He was Tom Hicks's infielder.
   12. BDC Posted: January 31, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4649502)
Jeter would also steal 3 times as many bases, with a better rate of success.

Comps for Young, centered in him in terms of OPS+ and PA:

Player            dWAR   PA OPSRfield WAR/pos  SB         Pos
Tony Fernandez    14.3 8793  101     31    45.1 246     
*654H/D
Tim Wallach        9.7 8908  102     66    38.4  51 
*5/3H9D7164
Joe Sewell         9.1 8333  108     
-4    53.7  74      *65/H4
Jay Bell           8.7 8525  101    
-12    36.7  91    *64/H53D
Pie Traynor        1.9 8297  107    
-32    36.3 158      *5/6H3
Stuffy McInnis    
-4.4 8638  105     31    34.3 172    *3/65H47
Ray Durham        
-5.8 8423  104   -102    33.7 273      *4H/D8
Todd Zeile        
-7.4 8649  104    -71    19.2  53   *532/HD71
Michael Young    
-11.4 8612  104   -154    24.1  90     654D3/H
Ruben Sierra     
-16.4 8782  105    -67    17.0 142     *9D7H/


Fernandez shows up, but of course Fernandez was a fine fielder. That's a selection of minor stars and even two HOFers, Sewell also being in the HOM. I always thought Joe Sewell was in the Hall of Fame largely for never striking out. He drew a lot of walks, though, and his ability to get on base balances Young's greater power.

I don't think I need to do comps for Jeter. There's never been a player much like him.

Finally, Young did indeed ##### about moving positions, while the Rangers moved him steadily down the spectrum and finally off the roster. But he always came out on Opening Day and busted his tail for the rest of the season. And as they moved him to accommodate first Andrus and then Beltre, the Rangers started winning pennants. I really don't think you can dock him for whining. I mean, you might not have wanted to spend the holidays with him during those years, but you couldn't complain about his attitude on the field.
   13. A New Leaf (Black Hawk Reign of Terror) Posted: January 31, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4649523)
Last night I flipped to the MLB Network. Dan Plesac said that Michael Young reminded him of Paul Molitor. I flipped away from the MLB Network.
   14. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 31, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4649542)
Dan Plesac is the poor man's Mitch Williams.
   15. Rob_Wood Posted: January 31, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4649569)
Harold Reynolds has said that Michael Young is a sure Hall of Famer.
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 31, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4649576)
Last night I flipped to the MLB Network. Dan Plesac said that Michael Young reminded him of Paul Molitor. I flipped away from the MLB Network.


See I think that's an apt statement. Young wasn't as good as Molitor but he played a very similar game. Molitor did just about everything better than Young of course and he did it longer but I can see a guy like Plesac (who was a teammate of Molitor's) seeing Young and thinking "hey, he reminds me of Molly." Doesn't mean they provided the same value but had the same style.
   17. jingoist Posted: January 31, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4649578)
#13.
I think what Plesac meant was that he had seen both of them in the shower and that was where the similarity came from.
Young looks to be the "poor mans" Stuffy McInnis.
   18. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 31, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4649596)
Am I reading #12 right that Young was the poor man's Jay Bell?
   19. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 31, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4649603)
By the first year Young played a full season, Jeter already had 6 superstar seasons under his belt.


Amazingly, one of the main arguments in TFA is a superficial comparison of their traditional hitting stats over the span of Young's career. Now, expecting this guy to realize that Young made almost 500 more outs than Jeter in those 13 seasons, much less understand that outs are kind of important, is probably asking too much. But it shouldn't be too much to expect someone to get that Jeter's first six seasons have a little something to do with his being "such a sure-fire first balloter."
   20. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 31, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4649625)
The headline is correct in calling Young the poor man's Derek Jeter; the problem is the article is describing Young as a pretty well-off man's Derek Jeter.
   21. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4649631)
The 2010 Dodgers were Frank McCourt's 2014 Dodgers.
   22. BDC Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:20 PM (#4649637)
I've always thought of myself as the destitute, incarcerated, drug-addicted, demented man's Northrop Frye.
   23. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 31, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4649646)
This article is trying to make people appreciate Young, but it does the opposite, practically begging people to argue against its bad arguments. If you want to make people appreciate Young, maybe say nice things about him that actually make sense.
   24. Brian Posted: January 31, 2014 at 09:06 PM (#4649651)
Last night I flipped to the MLB Network. Dan Plesac said that Michael Young reminded him of Paul Molitor


I can absolutely see this. Not statistically but stylistically. Very similar batting stances and swings; front foot turning more than lifting ... Trust me Plesac wasn't referencing Young's similarity scores.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: January 31, 2014 at 09:14 PM (#4649654)
This article is trying to make people appreciate Young, but it does the opposite, practically begging people to argue against its bad arguments. If you want to make people appreciate Young, maybe say nice things about him that actually make sense.


Absolutely agree. I love Willie McGee(as every right thinking Cardinal fan should) but I wouldn't bother wasting my time talking about his greatness by comparing him to Griffey Jr. The writer of this article absolutely thinks Michael Young isn't a hof candidate, his point is that he should be in a discussion, but he fully screws it up by trying to make a weak ass comparison to a massively better and different player.

Michael Young is the type of guy who I absolutely think should be on the hof ballot, and who I think should get 2-5 votes from reporters who covered him, but that is the extent of his National recognition. Should he go into the Ranger hof?(assuming they have one) Absolutely and anyone who argues differently is a freaking idiot, but that is the upper echelon that he should be considered.
   26. puck Posted: January 31, 2014 at 09:22 PM (#4649655)
2375 hits vs 3316


That's nuts and says a lot about Jeter. That discrepancy alone should have been enough for this guy to understand.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: January 31, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4649658)
That's nuts and says a lot about Jeter. That discrepancy alone should have been enough for this guy to understand.


To be fair, 2375 is an impressive number.. Jeter has an elite number. I fault the presentation on that one, but not the thought process.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: January 31, 2014 at 11:55 PM (#4649695)
Last night I flipped to the MLB Network. Dan Plesac said that Michael Young reminded him of Paul Molitor

See my post in the other Young thread. Young 27-34 is a decent match to Molitor 27-34, especially if you ignore defense (which is tough to do). Of course Molitor added 24 WAR before age 27 and 21 WAR after age 34. Comping to Jeter over the same ages seems like it should be closer than it is -- ends up at 11 WAR there too. 312/381/452, 119 OPS+ doesn't seem like a big advantage over 312/360/463, 113 OPS+ but it is over 100 fewer outs/100 more times on base. An extra walk every two weeks for 8 years turns into 80 runs -- go figure.
   29. villainx Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4649701)
793 games at SS vs 2544 at SS

This surprised me, I didn't realize he was moved off SS that long ago.
   30. NattyBoh Posted: February 01, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4649737)
Were his gift baskets of lesser quality as well?
   31. BDC Posted: February 01, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4649755)
Were his gift baskets of lesser quality as well?

I'd imagine Michael Young would provide a classy, if modest, gift basket. Maybe a weekend pass to Six Flags and coupons for Sonny Bryan's BBQ.

The guys you really don't want gift baskets from are Lenny Dykstra or Chad Curtis.
   32. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: February 01, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4649771)
What a weird article. "Look, we all know Jeter is great. Jeter is going to the Hall. And Young is not as good as Jeter. So why isn't Young going to the Hall?!"
   33. Swoboda is freedom Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4649794)
The guys you really don't want gift baskets from are Lenny Dykstra

A wad of used chewing tobacco, some twizzlers and a coupon for a free car wash!!
   34. GregD Posted: February 01, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4649796)
just some ashtray money, bro
   35. Walt Davis Posted: February 02, 2014 at 12:33 AM (#4650002)
Were his gift baskets of lesser quality as well?

Depended on whether the young lady asked him to change positions for "the good of the team".
   36. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 02, 2014 at 12:56 AM (#4650008)
2375 hits vs 3316

That's nuts and says a lot about Jeter. That discrepancy alone should have been enough for this guy to understand.


Do you know what the difference between hitting 2375 and 3316 is? Just 941 hits. Okay, there's six months in the 2013 season. That's about 25 weeks, that means if you get just thirty-eight extra flairs a week, just thirty-eight. Thirty-eight gorks. You get 38 ground balls with eyes! You get just 38 more dying quails a week and you're in Jessica Alba.
   37. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 02, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4650034)
Depended on whether the young lady asked him to change positions for "the good of the team".

Nice!

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