May 6, 2013, 11:58 AM EDT
Clearly the difference between the Phillies lineup and good isn’t as simple as another lineup shakeup. But there’s one move that can, at the very least, help them maximize what little offense they’re getting: move Michael Young to the leadoff spot.
That he grounds into so many double plays all but necessitates it. Whether he’s hitting No. 2 behind Jimmy Rollins or No. 3 between Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, Young’s ML-leading nine GIDPs basically negate the few times the Phillies top-of-the-order hitters actually manage to get on base. Worse, almost half (4) of Young’s GIDPs this year have come with men in scoring position.
This isn’t an all-of-a-sudden thing for Young, either. Last year, he ranked second in all of baseball behind GIDP-leader (and apparent Quadruple Crown King) Miguel Cabrera. It also doesn’t look to be seasonal, seeing as Young’s monthly splits of GIDPs were even throughout 2012.
With Young’s 60.9 GB% (Ben Revere’s 74.7% is No. 1), this isn’t likely to change. The Phillies can either adapt to Young, who actually has a lot to offer, or continue to be burned by one of his flaws.
This isn’t to bash on Young. Part of the argument for putting him there actually speaks to a positive. Face it: Even as his OBP has sagged to .381, Young is still the Phillies best on-base guy. Rollins isn’t. So let Young do what he does well (get on base) and let Rollins do what he’s wanted to since, like 2006, swing for power. As for the lefty-lefty-lefty argument: if it wasn’t a problem to line up Rollins, who’s basically a lefty, Utley and Howard when Revere was leading off, why’d it be an issue to go Utley, Rollins, Howard with Young at the top?
While Young isn’t exactly a burner on the base paths, he’s shown enough speed to get from first to third when he has to, and it’s not like Rollins has been Rickey Henderson this year either. Despite having a clear path for, basically, the entire season – even when Revere batted ahead of him, he never actually got on base, anyway – Rollins has a whole three steals, or as many as Justin Upton.
Save for Jose Canseco becoming the commissioner of baseball, there’s nothing that can make the Phillies become offensive juggernauts at the snap of the finger. But there’s still more they can do to wring every last drop of out of what they’ve got. That starts at the top, and putting Michael Young there.
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