Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why its time for the Rangers to trade Michael Young

Yes, you read that right, The Rangers should trade Michael Young. Despite making 16 million dollars (he will also make 16 million for 2012 and 2013) in 2011, he had a 2.4 WAR. This is a WASP of 6667, over twice as much as the Halladay Standard. This means, at least according to the Halladay Standard, his salary is over twice is much as his production is actually worth. In 2011, the Rangers had a payroll of about 92 million dollars. This means that, according to WAR calculations that I have used before on this blog, for every 1 Win above Replacement (assuming the Rangers want to make the playoffs by winning 95 games), they can pay 2.13 million dollars. This means that Young's 2.4 WAR is worth 5.11 million dollars, about a third as much as Young makes. According to his WAR average of the past 3 years, he is worth slightly more to the Rangers at 5.68 million. These simple calculations show that Young is hurting the Rangers with his gigantic salary and low production, and that it is quite obvious that the Rangers need to trade him. However, let's look at other numbers to see if they tell the same story. In 2011, some of his basic metrics looked pretty good, as he had a .380 OBP, 124 OPS +, and 1.994 O4S. He had an Offensive Winning Percentage of .666 and 6.7 Runs Created per a game. These are very good numbers, but there are a couple of concerning ones that I think shouldn't be ignored, such as Secondary Average (just .217), ISO (.136), walk percentage (6.8%), HR percentage (1.6%), and pitches per plate appearance (3.61, with a PPS of just 89.67). So many essential metrics suggest that Young was not all that great offensively. He was also 5th in the league in BABIP with a .367. This most likely means that his positive 2011 season statistics were probably very fluky. He actually has an above average BABIP at .338 for his career, but it is still a .029 difference. If that BABIP was adjusted to his career average, his OBP would have been .350, less impressive, but also exactly his career OBP. Along with that career OBP, he has a 106 OPS +, 1.851 O4S (about .100 above average), .554 Offensive Winning Percentage, 5.6 Runs Created Per Game, and .229 Secondary Average. Again, most of these are pretty good numbers. His PPS is 91.15, and this is a microcosm of Young, just above average offensively. On defense, there is a different story. In his 12 year career, he has a -7.9 D-WAR. Much is made about his ability to play several different positions, but it appears he plays none of them very well. In 2011, he had a -.9 D-WAR, despite playing 69 games at DH. At first base (a position he hadn't played before), he was very poor, with a Range Factor of 7.78 (league average is 9.24), and fielding percentage of .989 (league average is .993). He also had below average range factor at every position he played in 2011. "Runs Saved" metrics also showed that he was a well below average defender. To give you another idea of just how poor of a defender Young is, when at third, 85% of balls hit to him turned into outs (89% is league average), and at first 86% of balls hit to him were turned into outs (94% is league average for first basemen). Much is written about Young's leadership skills and team attitude (and in following the Rangers for almost all of Young's career, I can say that a lot of this is true. However, Young ran to the press to blast Ranger's management after both his move to 3rd base and 1st base/DH, and even demanded to be traded. His team attitude is probably overrated, he is, after all, making 16 million dollars), but these immeasurables are just that, immeasurable. In the face of numbers that clearly show that Young is not even close to worth his 16 million dollar salary, and the fact that he has no real position, it simply doesn't make any sense to say "he is a good leader, and therefore he is valuable". With the Rangers stupidly deciding to give a whole bunch of money to Joe Nathan, and players like Cruz, Hamilton, Feldman, and Uehara all making big money or due big money, it is obviously time for the Rangers to move on.

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