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Is Michael Young the Worst Everyday Third Baseman in Baseball?

Aug 20, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT


Well, is he? Probably not seeing as Michael Young has been playing more first base than third since the trade deadline.

Okay, but apparently up until three weeks ago, Young was the worst everyday third baseman in the Majors, this according to wins above replacement. Ryan Fagan for The Sporting News compiled a position-by-position list of the worst everyday players based on WAR, which found Young at the bottom of the pile over at the hot corner – after a little tiebreaker anyway.

WAR (and other stats): 0.1, .271/.334/.393, eight homers, 37 RBIs

2013 salary: $16 million

The question of why the Phillies didn’t trade this free agent-to-be at the non-waiver deadline has to flummox Philadelphia baseball fans, but that’s neither here nor there.

Technically, Young and Matt Dominiguez are tied with a 0.1 Fangraphs WAR, but using Baseball-Reference as a tie-breaker, Young gets the nod.

Still though, was or is Young really the worst starting third baseman in baseball? There are six qualifying third basemen who have been less productive at the plate this season based on OPS, which are your on-base and slugging percentages added together. And while he wasn’t winning a Gold Glove or anything, I’m not sure fielding cuts into the difference between Young and a few of these guys all that much.

It should also be noted the Phillies aren’t paying him $16 million, either. The Texas Rangers reportedly picked up the tab for $10 mil or so of that when they traded him to Philly in the offseason. That takes some of the sting away.

I guess the argument is moot anyhow. Cody Asche is seeing most of the action at third these days, and Young will not be retained once he reaches free agency at season’s end – so one area we do have to agree with the writer, again, is how dumb it is not to have dealt the 36 year old for whatever basically.

Of course, had the Phillies been contending at this point in the year like they originally planned, at least they had an everyday third baseman. Whether he was the worst or not – and I’d lean not – they were still better off than they’ve been in recent years with Placido Polanco, who’s always in and out of the lineup and conveniently did not have enough ABs to qualify for this dubious honor.

Oh well. WAR says Michael Young is the worst, so clearly he is.

>> Ranking baseball’s worst everyday players by position [TSN]

  1. Hiccup - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Mr. Young brought a lot both to the club and to the plate this season so whether he was the worst 3rd baseman or the best is beside the point because the experience and knowledge offsets any bad numbers posted by fangraphs or whoever. Mr. Rubes has my full support for whom any player he wheels or deals because he knows what he is doing and let the record show it!

    • facepalms r us - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      lol. im going to the bar.

  2. Greg - Aug 20, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    “I’m not sure fielding cuts into the difference between Young and a few of these guys all that much.”

    At first base I would be OK with this statement. Being a competent fielder at 3rd base is pretty important and Young was an atrocity. You are wrong, Andrew.

    • Andrew Kulp - Aug 20, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      Eh, I didn’t mean to imply it doesn’t matter at all, I simply don’t agree Young’s been so bad that somebody who is significantly less productive at the plate necessarily makes up the difference in the field.

      • Hiccup - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:21 AM

        You sound like Rubes trying to justify one of his stupefying trades or moronic aquisitions all the while robbing Peter to pay Paul, ” what we lose in offense we gain in defense,” as we pass over a more qualified position players due to lack of flexibility in the payroll because previously signed monster “thank you” contracts of under performing star players.

      • Andrew Kulp - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        Ha, well just tell me who was a better option to play third base this year? It had nothing to do with money. The way I remember it, no one else was available.

      • BenE. - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Kevin Frandsen. Someone who is happy to be here.

      • Andrew Kulp - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        Come on, there is no way a team with World Series aspirations (regardless of how short they fell) could go into a season with Kevin Frandsen as its everyday third baseman. What were they supposed to base that decision based on, 200 plate appearances?

        I don’t care how many thumbs down it gets, I’d really like to know the name of the person who was a more viable option back in the offseason.

      • Matt M - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Well, they went into the ’08 and ’09 seasons with Pedro Feliz. And let’s not forget the Abraham Nunez/Wes Helms/Greg Dobbs third base trio of 2006-07. Fact is Michael Young was not necessary and his offensive contributions were no better than what you could have received from starting Frandsen every day. Also, my preferred method was a Frandsen/Eric Chavez platoon which would have cost a lot less than $6 million and an impossible to move no-trade clause.

  3. Mike - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    “We do not recognize these new fangled stats. Where’s the grit index and the hustleometer?”


  4. Mike - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    “Young will not be retained once he reaches free agency at season’s end – so one area we do have to agree with the writer, again, is how dumb it is not to have dealt the 36 year old for whatever basically.”

    That dash between “end” and “so” is there so that you can put your head down, close your eyes, rub your forehead, think “why the hell didn’t they trade him?” and then come back to the article.

  5. Da Bag - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    He cost the team a LOT of runs at third base, not (just) because of errors but because of his total lack of range. And it couldn’t have helped the morale of the pitchers. Never thought I would miss Pedro Feliz – I had to Google just to remember his name.

  6. Phitin Phan - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    DEFINATELY should have been giving away @ the deadline for the flamethrower (99mph)reliever the yanks offered.But with the offseason options it wasn’t that bad of a move.His range is terrible and makes Ashe look like a gold Glover but atleast he stayed healthy.Great clubhouse attitude and his professionalism is the only thing I can think of they kept him around for an example for the younger guys to see.


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