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Michael Young = Derek Jeter

Oct 18, 2011, 7:09 AM EDT

Michael Young dugout

In the wake of my Michael Young post from yesterday, I was drawn into a little Twitter skirmish with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, who called the post “boneheaded,” and said I didn’t understand or appreciate Michael Young.

What Evan missed, I think, was that I wasn’t criticizing Young as much as I was being critical of the coverage he receives that seems to sweep all of his flaws and foibles under the rug as if they never happened.  Despite our conversation, Evan didn’t quite come around to my way of thinking. But then again Evan recently made the argument that Young should be the American League MVP this year, so I think it’s safe to say that he himself is one of many who get stars in their eyes when the topic of Michael Young comes up.

We’ve seen this sort of thing before, haven’t we? Indeed, it’s very much like the Derek Jeter dynamic. The dynamic in which it’s not enough to say that he’s a fine player, he has to be considered the best, and let no one give voice to the notion that his game has declined or has a flaw or three. In which his missteps, to the extent he has them, are invariably cast as strengths or, at the very least, explained away by his passion and leadership.

Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger makes the comparison today. I don’t think he’s being critical like I am when he makes it, but in some ways that makes it all the more telling:

In many ways, Young is the Jeter of Texas. So many similarities when it comes to demeanor and, as Young has said, the approach to the game they share. Play to win. Do what is asked. Don’t make excuses.

However, because we are provincial, because we live and work in the New York market, and focus so hard on “our” players, we probably never thought of Michael Young as a player who should be mentioned in the same sentence as Derek Jeter, the Yankees captain.

What follows is the same fairly non-critical assessment of Young’s history of moving positions in Texas. Bradley misses one earlier instance of Young pouting at a position move (when he had to move off short for Andrus) and there isn’t much scrutiny of how a man can still be considered a great team leader when he twice bristled publicly because he was not getting his own personal way and playing the position he wanted to play despite there being better options available to the team.

source:  But that’s how the Michael Young narrative has evolved, has it not?   Like Jeter, he puts people in the strange situation of having to say a great player is overrated because it’s not enough for most people to assess him for what he actually is. Instead he is cast as Lord of the Intangibles and, like Jeter, that story of his intangibles won’t accept the unpleasant truth that, at times, he has behaved in ways we don’t normally associate with leadership.  Not that he’s a bad seed or a bad player or anything close to that. He isn’t. It’s just that he’s not as perfect as his local press makes him out to be because, hell, no one is that perfect.

Like with most players, there is an ego, however understandable and limited, at work there that has led both Jeter and Young into a couple of unfortunate stances. Yet they catch little if any hell for it and woe be to the person who tries to point it out.  These players are teflon and they have a small security force of fans — including some journalists — who defend them as if they were bound by an oath to do so.

I suppose observing all of this means that I am a boneheaded hater.  If so, I suppose I’ll just accept that and hope that one day Michael Young will find it in His heart to offer me absolution.

That’s how it works, right?

119 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. hooks024 - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    Young isn’t fit to carry Jeter’s jock strap. Come see me after he has a fist full of rings. Perhaps a comparable number of all star nods, or gold gloves. Maybe rookie of the year(over Alex Rodriguez, mind you). Until then, he can be like the Dan Marino of mlb. Only not that good. Derek Jeter is a biracial angel.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:51 AM

      Young isn’t fit to carry Jeter’s jock strap. Come see me after he has a fist full of rings. Perhaps a comparable number of all star nods, or gold gloves. Maybe rookie of the year(over Alex Rodriguez, mind you).

      Things in that list that aren’t relevant to a player’s ability: rings, all-star appearances and gold gloves. Also, Arod probably wasn’t eligible for the ’96 RoY voting as he already had 200 PA by ’96.

      But yes, Young still isn’t as good as Jeter.

      • protectthishouse54 - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:07 AM

        So now World Series rings don’t matter either? I thought that’s all that mattered. I’m confused.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:10 AM

        They never mattered, unless Luis Sojo is one of the top twenty players of the post-strike era.

      • jwbiii - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        Obviously, Ricky Ledee was a much better player than Ted Williams. That’s your argument, right?

      • protectthishouse54 - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM

        My argument isn’t that the players with the most rings are the best. That’s dumb. My argument is that rings matter when we compare players’ careers and their legacies, which is essentially what we’re doing here. Clearly, Jeter had a much greater chance at those rings than other players, but he did play a major part in those championships and without him, I doubt the Yankees would have won all 5. I’m not saying it’s the most important criteria, and maybe I’m being old fashioned, but I don’t think we should completely devalue and disregard the greatest achievement in the game.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        There’s a difference between devaluing and disregarding something and using it properly. Team success in baseball, more than any other sport, is the sum contributions of individual actors – there is relatively little synergy in performance, especially for position players. Maybe the Yankees don’t win all five rings without Derek Jeter, but Derek Jeter doesn’t win any rings without his Yankee teammates. Don’t confuse individual accomplishments with team accomplishments – they’re two very different things.

      • protectthishouse54 - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        True. Maybe I am getting too into team accomplishments. But, this isn’t a debate about stats and numbers. It’s more about the perception of these players in the media… that they both are winners with no ego who do the necessary things to win ballgames (intangibles, if you will). Maybe I need to take off my pinstriped glasses, but I think Jeter lives up to the myth far more than Young.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:55 AM

      You shouldn’t use the Gold Glove argument when talking about Jeter. It boggles my mind that he has any Gold Gloves let alone 5. I’m not sure where the myth that he is a good defensive SS came from, but it isn’t true. He has never been a good defender….hell, he has never been an average defender, yet he racks up Gold Gloves year after year. It has really diminished the award and made it something of a sham.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM

        Well I think Palmeiro winning a GG while playing 28 games at 1B made the award a shame, but Jeter has definitely been helping move it along as well

      • phillyphreak - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:03 AM

        Palmeiro with 28 games at first is the most boggling…..

      • phillyphreak - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:03 AM

        Well Church beat me to it…well played sir.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:05 AM

        Yes, fair point….all credibility was lost with that.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:27 AM

        The only bigger sham than Derek Jeter’s gold gloves this decade are Michael Young’s gold gloves.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:33 AM

        Kevin,
        I believe Young only has 1 GG and in fairness he had a good defensive season that year. The only year where his defense was actually acceptable. Really quite the anomaly. A guy who had previously had 2 of the worst defensive seasons ever rebounds to have a stellar defensive year only to go back to sucking. Odd.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:19 AM

        You are correct, it was only 2008, but the fact that TZ liked him that year doesn’t mean he actually played good defense. It’s better to find a consensus on defense stats, both across the various measures and up and down the years. UZR and DRS both had MY as a -5 defender that year. For his career at short, TZ thought he was a -8 fielder, UZR had him at -10, and DRS pegged him at -15. There’s no evidence in the stats, if you’re using them properly, to support Michael Young’s winning the GG that year.

    • cshearing - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:08 AM

      You prove Craig’s point so succinctly; you should be getting paid.

    • thefalcon123 - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:29 AM

      A-Rod wasn’t a rookie in 1996. And for the record, A-Rod’s 1996 season was much, much better than Jeter’s. A-Rod hit .358/.414/.631 with 36 homers and 123 RBIs. Jeter hit .314/.370/.430 with 10 homers.

      Jeter deserved the award that year, but he won nothing over A-Rod.

    • evanhartford - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      At the heart of this is the concept that sports exist because of their entertainment value and good-looking, psychologically-sound, athletes are raised up over (perhaps) better performing ones. Despite what statisticians will tell you, at the end of the day a Young and Jeter are probably more valuable to their respective teams than most of their contemporaries because of their star power. Then again, most statisticians look at baseball as a chess match rather than a business.

    • awriterorsomething - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      Even as a life-long Yankee fan, I have to agree with all the people piling on you, sorry

      As mentioned A-Rod was not elligible for the ROY
      Rings do not make a player great because no one player has ever gotten a team to the world series all by himself

      Jeter is a great player. His consistancy, leadership and clutch play has stamped him as great.

      He is not the greatest anything.
      Not the greatest shortstop
      Not the greatest hitter
      Not the greatest leader

      This is not to say he is not among the greats, he is, but to say that other very good players or great players are not in his league is just absurd.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    sigh, a sham, not a shame

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:05 AM

      It is really both.

  3. Francisco (FC) - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    Arlington Texas, 8:23 AM EST (East Coast Bias!). A massive shadow was cast in the city as the Craig Blimp positioned itself strategically to be visible to most of the people moving about in the morning commute (Impossible really, it just picked a random spot with lots of people). The screen on the side lit up and Craig’s visage stared down at them:

    “People of Arlington. Rangers Fans. Sports Writers. Lend me your ears! Michael Young is a fine ballplayer and still shows flashed of great baseball. But seriously cut down the love fest. He’s not Derek Jeter! He has flaws! Stop sweeping them under the rug! He’s not a baseball Messiah!”

    In the Lair Craig switched off the Transmission and the Blimp began its trek towards St. Louis. On his 70″ LED Tiffany’s face appeared with a bemused expression.

    “Craig! Are you fighting with bloggers and sports writers again?”, she asked.

    “They started it!”, he said defensively. “I am Baseball’s Great Defender! I must call people out on their BS when I see it, it’s my duty to the best sport in the world.”

    “And you haven’t considered that you might be going a bit overboard? A blog post would have sufficed.”

    Craig bit on his bubble pipe. He puffed a bubble or two considering the matter and then polished the pipe on his Braves Bathrobe.

    “No”, he declared. “It’s not enough! In the struggle for Baseball Integrity no effort must be spared to set the record straight.”

    “Well, I have to admire your zeal,” she said as her image winked out. Craig pressed a button and his display showed Sections of the morning press in Texas: newspapers, weekly periodicals, blogs, twitter, fan sites. All the articles spewing ridiculous adoration for Michael Young. He would set them straight. At Any Cost…

  4. rambodiaz - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    You know, if Joe Morgan was doing color commentary for the WS, I can actually envision him referring to Young as the Lord of the Intangibles. Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch for McCarver or Buck, but I’m not sure.

    • phillyphreak - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:32 AM

      Re Joe Morgan

  5. hooks024 - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    A rod was eligible for roy in 96. Finished 2nd in voting.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:29 AM

      On what planet?

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1996.shtml#ALroy

      He didn’t receive any votes in ’95 either

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1995.shtml#ALroy

    • throwstrikes - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:33 AM

      No and no. His 94 and 95 season game totals made him ineligible for ROY and he finished 2nd in MVP in 96 not ROY.

    • thefalcon123 - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:32 AM

      Dude. Like 4 seconds of research could have prevented you from looking like a complete ass with this post.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      I’m sorry, but even if Michael Young did win the Rookie of the Year over A-Rod, is someone arguing that Young was a better choice? Angel Berroa won in 2003, defeating Hideki Matsui and Mark Teixeira. Ben Grieve beat Magglio Ordonez in 1998. I’m sure there are better examples of this. The voters screw up all the time.

      • seanmk - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        i wouldn’t say “voters screw up” rookie of the year since it’s merely saying best rookie for that specfic year, not “guy that will have the best career”.

      • jwbiii - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        Rookie of the Year award winners fit almost equally into three categories. Those who grow up to be Hall of Fame type players (ie, Derek Jeter, 1996), those who have good careers but won’t be the guest of honor at a mid-summer party in Upstate New York (ie, Nomar Garciaparra, 1997), and those who don’t do all that much after their rookie seasons (ie, Ben Grieve, 1998).

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:46 PM

        Oh, I always thought of it as the “Guy who will have the best career” Award.

        Can I give myself a thumbs down?

  6. Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Young is a “good but overrated” player. Jeter is (or was, anyway) a “great but still overrated” player. There’s a difference between people debating if a guy’s just a HOFer or the greatest ever and people trying to make an above-average player out to be a star.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:09 AM

      1, Seems to me the debate is between what Jeter was and what Young is. Jeter has played 5 more seasons, has 5 rings and a thousand more hits. In 2011, Young hit .338, .854 OPS, 106 RBI, and will be playing in the World Series tomorrow night.

      2. Let’s see what Jeter does if/when he’s asked to change positions.

      3. For Jeter, It’s about being a Yankee. Duh.

      • Alex K - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:16 AM

        He already refused to move off SS. When some bag of meat named Rodriguez was brought on to the team.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:25 AM

        1. Michael Young also did that as a DH. When you factor in position and ballpark, even accounting for the hit Jeter takes for his terrible defense, you find that Jeter’s average season is better than what Young had this year.

        2. No question, Jeter has many of the same ego issues. He absolutely should have moved to third when A-Rod was acquired. My point was only that Michael Young can’t carry Jeter’s jock strap as a player, making the comparison a bit apples-to-oranges.

        3. Not sure what that has to do with anything I said.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        I always thought Jeter should have moved to center when Bernie Williams left; I think he’d make a lousy third baseman. Jeter has good speed, but a lousy first step. I’m not sure his reflexes are a strength. That lousy first step wouldn’t be a problem in center.

        Maybe I’m wrong. Jeter’s sure-handed on the balls that he gets to (which is why he gets so few errors), but doesn’t cover a lot of ground. But his poor reflexes bode well for a third baseman.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        1. Yes, they aren’t too far apart:

        Jeter’s career: .313/.383/.449
        Young’s 2011: .338/.380/.474

        My observation stands; you’re comparing a player’s production in one season to another player’s average production over 17 seasons. That’s the apples-to-oranges comparison, IMHO. BW:

        Jeter’s 2011: .297/.355/.388 (though he is 37, after all)

        2. See #1 above. You can’t count Jeter’s seasons when he was in his 20’s, and say he’s superior to Young today.

        3. This wasn’t a comment on your comments. Just a general observation about Yankees being over-hyped.

        Strikes me that this whole thread is about who is more over-hyped. Hard to bet against a Yankee, but Young is putting up a good fight.

    • Alex K - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      This was my first thought. I’m honestly curious how much HOF support Young will get when he’s eligible. I bet it will be more than he deserves. Which isn’t to say he shouldn’t get a few votes and maybe kick around on the ballot for a couple years.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:27 AM

        He shouldn’t get a few votes and maybe kick around on the ballot for a couple years. They’ll probably still be sifting through the backlog of HOF-caliber players about to crash the ballot in the next couple of years, or the guys who follow and get stuck in the pile. Young will have no business being discussed with them.

      • Alex K - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM

        True, I didn’t think about the wave of elite players coming up when I wrote that. Consider me incorrect about how much support he should get. But I will stand by my statement that it will be too much.

  7. dohpey28 - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    I don’t remember Jeter requesting a trade before this or any season. Oh yeah it was Michael Young who did so.

    • kopy - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:47 AM

      I wish Michael Young had gotten what he asked for and had been traded out of Texas. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with any of this nonsense.

      Obviously, the guy is just impervious to any criticism and should be treated as such. Remember when all the Rangers fans got up in arms when Gleeman pointed out how getting 2,000 hits isn’t as rare as people think it is? In fact, several players have accomplished that this year alone.

      Honestly, Michael Young’s lack of professionalism really could have been swept under the rug, but his career missteps keep being brought into the limelight whenever people try to claim the contrary, that he has never been selfish in Texas.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:03 AM

        Plus the Rangers would be exactly where they are right now if Young had been traded. They won their division by 10 games, so they would have gone to the playoffs anyway, and he has stunk in the playoffs with the exception of one game the rangers won by 10 runs. He is like Jeter in that you apparently have to dance around his ego…the difference is that the Rangers have smartly made him change positions when they obtained better options instead of continuing to let him play bad defense at important positions.

  8. Brian Donohue - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Craig, your problem with Grant has little to do with the player in question and more to do with the fact that you’re pointing to the mud in his turf. He’s a sportswriter, he thinks he lives on hyperbole and aggrandizement. If a sentence cannot fit 3 adverbs, 5 adjectives, and half a dozen superlatives, then it needs to be made longer. That’s his trade, or so he imagines. And along you come to say that it’s nonsense, so he reacts irrationally, kind of the way that Wall St. hedge fund trader reacted in the press the other day to the OWS people when he claimed, “financial services is the only thing that’s done well in America” (I’m still trying to get up off the floor from that one).

    People will get insanely silly and sometimes even violent in their rhetoric when they think they are defending their turf. I’ve watched this dynamic at work in corporate America for over 2 decades, and that’s what you’re dealing with in this guy Grant. You just have to carry on and leave him to his battlefield by himself, fighting alone. Once the turf defender realizes he has no enemy to combat, the silliness of his fight becomes manifest even to himself and his will to war sputters and dies.

  9. paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Young is a nice player…but he is 100% a creation of his home ball park.

    Home: OBP .377, SLG .496
    Road: OBP, .331, SLG .415

    Yeah, that is a 126 H/R difference in OPS.

    Weighted, that becomes a Home wOBA of .377 and wRC+ of 127 and a road wOBA of .326 and wRC+ of 92 (below league average).

    Throw in the pouting for changing positions (for his career he has negative defensive scores for every position, no matter which metric you choose)…throw in a vehement public trade request and multiple complaints to the media about being asked to switch positions (contrary to the claims of the article he has never quietly done what is asked)…..I have no idea how anyone could have this opinion of Young…it is akin to thinking your local politician is the only honest one.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:03 AM

      Are the home/road splits for this season or his career?

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:04 AM

        Career

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM

        Holy shit…I knew he had pretty dramatic splits but absolutely did not realize they were that severe. I don’t even know what to say about that….shocking.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:27 AM

      Lions, thank you so much for the home/road splits on Young. I am going to print out your comment and keep it folded in my wallet for times whenever a Young fan tries to make a case of how awesome he is, in that case I will do the following: Make an annoyed face, pull out the paperlions comment that is neatly folded in my wallet, read the comment word for word as if they were the persons Miranda rights then I would walk away.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        Cool. Good luck….is a video of the event(s) too much to ask for?

  10. metalhead65 - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    maybe he is like everybody else and tired of your nitpicking on players who do not meet your superior standards on what a good baseball player should be. everybody knoews players decline as they get older but that does not mean you have to point it out and write them off because they do not perform like they did in thier peak years.maybe we do not want the players who stll give it their all and never did anything to tarnish themselves or the game to be picked on.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      Wow…this post has a ridiculously skewed perception on what Craig actually wrote.

    • Alex K - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      Even at his peak he wasn’t good enough to be talked about how he is talked about.

  11. mattjg - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    To be fair, Young’s 2011 WAR ranked 6th among offensive players. It’s not a stretch to say he could be in the discussion for team MVP. What? Grant was arguing he should be the league MVP? Young finished 6th on the Rangers in WAR, not 6th in the AL.

    I guess WAR just can’t capture the grittiness of semi-talented white infielders. Good thing Eckstein isn’t with the Cards anymore or the press box would have to be covered in plastic, and not to protect the walls from champagne.

    • paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      Huh? According to whom or what? He isn’t on any top 10 list for position players or for offensive WAR for the AL. He’s 15th in “batting” value in fan graphs and 31st in oWAR on baseball reference….and everyone agrees that his defensive contributions have been negative this year. He isn’t anywhere near the 10th best position player in the AL this year…and he clearly isn’t the best position player on his own team…and has not be for quite some time.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:25 AM

        Think he meant he’s 6th on the Rangers in bWAR. Confused the hell out of me too.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        That…I would buy.

  12. yankeesfanlen - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Who is this Michael Young and where is Texas?
    Beep-beep is the only True Yankee on the only True New York team that plays the only True Baseball.With any luck, he will only be in the HOF posthumously because retirement is not an option.

  13. badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    It seems the point was not how good Young or Jeter are, but their Teflon-icity . . . the idea that greatness = perfection and any criticism makes one a hater.

  14. antlerclaws - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    As a Ranger fan and a Michael Young fan, I will say that Craig is dead-on with his assessment. Does MY get too much adoration? Yes. Did he whine and grouse when he had to move positions? Yes. But once he accepted that he had to move and wasn’t being traded, you have to give him credit that he let it go, put it all behind him, and came out and gave 100% like a true professional. I think his ego took a little bruising before the season, but it has not been a problem at all since he reported to Spring Training and said he was committed to winning with the Rangers. And here we are today, and MY finished the season just a couple of percentage points behind the AL batting champion.

  15. El Bravo - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    HBT and its crusade to bash Michael Young continues. I never even liked or hated Young, I’ve just been indifferent. There’s the Young lovers (mainstream media at times) and Young haters (CC and Gleeman). So yes, it is similar to Jeter but to a much lesser extent in terms of lovers/haters. What I don’t get is who the f@ck cares?

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      I agree, Pedro. This kind of debate reminds me of the debates the geeks in High School used to have about Dungeons and Dragons and whose armor was better and which character was stronger on offense and defense and whatever the hell else they obsessed about. At the end of the day, they were all still geeks. Same thing here…who cares about Michael Young and whether people obsess about him. Everyone involved in the conversation sounds like a geek.

      To each his/her own is what I always say. You will have your MY lovers…MY haters…MY-lover haters…MY-lover lovers…MY-hater haters…MY-hater lovers. But at the end of the day, they are all wasting their time instead of enjoying the World Series.

      • phillyphreak - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        Even if that is your opinion, it doesn’t mean people can’t have a discussion/debate about this. You have debates like this in Phillies threads all of the time. Maybe to them, you sound like a geek when you talk about Howard.

    • Mark - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      It’s not a crusade against Michael Young. He’s simply pointing out that most guys who ask to be traded and bitch about being flipped to a different position when they are no longer the best option aren’t exactly the definition of team player.

      And yet all we hear is about how Michael Young is the consummate professional, about how he’s a leader.

      Well, guys who ask to be traded because they get moved off SS for the superiorly defensive guy in Andrus or off of 3B for Beltre (who is one of the best defensive 3B in the game and a much better hitter) are definitely not leadership type guys. If Young was really a team player, he’d recognize that Andrus was a better option at SS, and Beltre is a better option at third.

      But he’s not a team first guy. He’s a me first guy. There’s nothing wrong with that in the abstract. But somehow the press doesn’t call him out for this, and as Craig pointed out he somehow gets called this team first guy when his actions and his words speak to the contrary.

      This isn’t about how overrated Young is as a player. It’s about how he gets a free ride in the press despite doing the complete opposite about what’s written about him.

      • El Bravo - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:31 PM

        Craig and Aaron go out of there way to knock Young down a peg every time that he is knocked up a peg by anyone else in the media. I find that whichever way you slice it, both arguments are tired, annoying and equally off base. Young will never be as good at baseball or as a good a person as the media portrays him and he’ll also never be the non-team player & below average player that Craig and Aaron paint him as. Thus, both parties are wrong and with this much debate about the completely-average-to-marginally-above-average Michael Young is a waste of time. That is my opinion of course, but then again, I’m never wrong so put that sh!t in the mothaf@ckin’ pipe and drag.

  16. ezwriter69 - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    “I wasn’t criticizing Young as much as I was being critical of the coverage he receives”
    Bullbleep. Yes, you were…. and yes, you clearly have a personal issue with this dude.
    Liar. We can read…

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      Then, by all means, please quote the passages in which my personal issue with Michael Young is made so clear to you. That is if you’re being truthful and you can read.

    • Alex K - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

      I don’t think I’ve ever liked someone not in my family as much as you seem to like Michael Young.

  17. pistolpete31 - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    What are these flaws and foibles your talking about? He had a great average and a lot of rbis this year. This year he complained because they moved him around like they always do and I think he had a right to demand a trade.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      Twice when the Rangers wanted to move him for a superior player at that position (Andrus at short, Beltre at third) he went to the press to complain and demanded trades because the situation didn’t make him happy. Which would be fine if it ended there — he’s a competitor and has an ego as all competitors should.

      But how we go from there all the way in the other direction to the “Michael Young is a selfless leader” stories — which there are many of — is a mystery to me. If Young had his way he wouldn’t be on this team. And just because he eventually accepted his role and excelled in it doesn’t mean that his reaction to the move in the first place was indicative of “leadership” or “character.” Quite the opposite, actually.

    • lazlosother - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      The fact that he may have a “right” to demand a trade (you can demand anything you want, getting it is another matter) doesn’t mean he isn’t a petulant ass for doing so. Look at how Biggio handled his position switches, catcher to second to center to second. No complaints there.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      This year he complained because they moved him around like they always do and I think he had a right to demand a trade.

      Any time you’re asked to move for the betterment of the team, because the player who is replacing you is better, and you complain about it and/or demand a trade, how are you considered the ultimate team player?

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        Does anyone know what it means when a player “demands” a trade? I mean, the team still has the player under contract. Isn’t it just an empty gesture.

        I would imagine that there are agents (and occasionally players) who let the front office know, quietly, that the player would welcome a trade, especially if there are extenuating circumstances like a family illness (“It would be great if you could trade me to a midwestern team.”) And I’d bet we never hear about it. But the team isn’t going to make itself worse just to make a player happy.

        But that’s all in my head. Does anyone KNOW?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        KNOW?

        Probably not, the Carson Palmer situation is the first I can remember where a player actually sat out rather than play for the team. Guys like Eli Manning and John Elway always made threats because they were never in a put-up-or-shut-up situation (training camps/still had contract time left).

        Gary Sheffield always made threats about making life a living hell for his teams if he weren’t traded. Isn’t that why Milwaukee let him go?

    • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

      He had a great average and a lot of rbis this year.

      He had an empty average and a lot of runners on base in front of him this year.

      FTFY

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        I am stunned that on this board, it took over an hour and 5 responses for someone to write this.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:56 PM

        I was busy earlier. :-D

  18. irishphilly87 - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    correction craig calterrararrarara derek jeter = 5 world titles derek jeter = one of the best champions of all time. derek jeter = one of the greatest hitters of all time. this is coming from a person that isnt even a yankees fan but i at least acknowledge hes a pure champion and ur comparison is outrageous.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      derek jeter = one of the greatest hitters of all time

      Hahahahahahaha, on what planet, hahahahahhaha!

      • phillyphreak - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        Planet Jeter, duh. That’s why Pluto is no longer a planet. Of course on earth, there are 79 hitters better than Jeter in BA and 150 better in OBP. (There are others ahead of him too on other lists, I just randomly chose these two.)

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

        So, in the 150 years of baseball history, we have a list of 150. I think that makes Jeter one of the best hitters of all time.

        Look, I bash the guy ALL THE TIME. But he’s good at playing baseball, has been good for a very long time, and he’s one of the best ever at it. Is this a controversial statement?

        Instead of looking at 150 years, let’s look at the last 50 seasons, sorted by fWAR:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphswd.aspx?teamid=0&pos=SS&season=2011&season1=1962&grid=25

        This just in: Derek Jeter is really good. He’s still overrated. But he’s really, really good.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:12 PM

        Oh, could someone tell me what the hell happened to Jim Fregosi? Look at that link — he was amazing through age 28, and then stopped.

      • clydeserra - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        Frogosi broke his leg or something, like bobby valentine

    • Alex K - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      You should feel double bad about church laughing at you for that – he’s a Yankees fan!

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        Add me to the list of Yankee fans laughing at him for that.

      • Alex K - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        You were already on the list, sir.

    • thefalcon123 - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      Jeter’s career ranks (with player you’ve probably never heard of that he ranks behind):
      BA: 80th (5 spots behind Bib Faulk).
      OBP: 151st (6 spots behind Topsy Hartsel)
      Slugging: 391st (1 spot behind Moose Solters)
      OPS: 237th (1 spot behind….Matt Stairs!)

      Look, no one is arguing Jeter hasn’t had a great career and isn’t fully deserving of the spot he’ll get in Cooperstown. What everyone is arguing is that the degree of Jeter worship is flat out absurd. He’s not the greatest hitter, the greatest shortstop, the greatest Yankee. He’s a Hall of Famer whose career ranks with the Paul Waner, Reggie Jackson and Frankie Frisch’s of the world. He does not rank with the Ruth’s, Gehrig’s and Cobb’s.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        (1 spot behind Moose Solters)

        That name is awesome!

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        Topsy Hartsel, Moose Solters

        These guys sound like players from the old Commodore 64 Hardball game…

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        So, we’re not factoring in longevity AT ALL?

      • thefalcon123 - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        @18th st.

        Of course we’re factoring in longevity. That’s why I said Jeter is a no doubt hall of famer.

  19. irishphilly87 - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    everybody lovessss to compare loves to say this guy reminds me of this guy..its gotten so out of hand the last 10 years… drafts…everything. just stop comparing and find a better story than michael young = derek jeter… thats garbage man c’mon!

  20. tomemos - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Grant’s thing on why Young should be MVP is a sick joke. Young should be MVP because he made 14 starts at 2B and chatted with Holland and Napoli? Does he think that every other MVP candidate went the whole season without talking to another player?

  21. jwbiii - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    “it doesn’t mean that his reaction to the move in the first place was indicative of ‘leadership’ or ‘character.'”

    Craig, you are making the fallacious assumption that all leadership is positive and that all character is good. The Rangers overcame having a petulant, whiny malcontent on their team and that is to the credit of their other players and Ron Washington. It also helped that Michael Young is petty darn good at hitting baseballs.

    Of course the real question that everyone is avoiding is: Are the nachos at Michael Young’s Taco Hole any good?

  22. spudchukar - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    While I do not support Michael Young for the 2012 AL MVP, that conversation should be reserved for Bautista, Granderson, Cabrera, Elsbury and possibly Verlander, his “value” to the Rangers this year should not go unnoticed. If you are one who defines the MVP by a player on a championship team, then perhaps he enters the discussion.

    Just because Craig didn’t focus on Young’s production this year in his comments yesterday does not dismiss the general crusade to pile on Young. Putting Young in the “gritty, scrappy, white guy” category is unfair. Yes, he has versatility, and can play a variety of positions, and yes he isn’t particularly big so his HR numbers aren’t that impressive. But to somehow disparage his offensive productivity in nothing but blind ignorance.

    It is true that he only had the 3rd best OBS on his team this year, but he trailed Beltre and Hamilton by only .038, and .028 and had 150 more PA, which at least evens their 2012 productivity. He ranked 14th in the league which is pretty remarkable since he doesn’t walk much nor homer much. The truth is that he was called on to hit in the middle of a great line-up and he delivered in spades.

    League MVP, no, team MVP yes.

    HOF candidate, presently no, but if he can put up the same kind of numbers over the next five years as he has averaged so far in his career he is a shoo-in. Only Eddie Collins and Napoleon Lajoie are second basemen who have a higher OPS and 3000 hits. And his career OPS is better than Rose, Ripkin, Yount, and Biggio. Granted he hasn’t play middle infield for all his career, but neither did any of those just mentioned.

    And if the Rangers choose to keep him and he thrives like he did this year, (and he seems to be a young 34) he should be a first ballot HOFer and then maybe the bashing will stop.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      It is true that he only had the 3rd best OBS on his team this year, but he trailed Beltre and Hamilton by only .038, and .028 and had 150 more PA, which at least evens their 2012 productivity

      I assume you mean OPS, and an almost 30 and 40 pt gap in that is huge. Also, his OPS is that high because of his BA. He rarely walks. Here’s a ranking of BB% which is far more indicative of a player’s ability than merely quoting OBP:

      Michael Young 6.80%
      Josh Hamilton 7.20%
      David Murphy 7.50%
      Mitch Moreland 7.60%
      Elvis Andrus 8.40%
      Ian Kinsler 12.30%
      Mike Napoli 13.40%

      Only Eddie Collins and Napoleon Lajoie are second basemen who have a higher OPS and 3000 hits. And his career OPS is better than Rose, Ripkin, Yount, and Biggio

      Using OPS and not OPS+, which factors in league average is disingenuous. Collins (141) and Lajoie (150) blow Young (106) away in that category. Rose (118), Ripkin (112), Yount (115), and Biggio (110) all suffered through their decline phrases and still have better OPS+’s than Young.

      Nevermind that OPS overrates SLG and undervalues OBP, which would be a further knock against Young. Only reason he’ll make it into the HoF is counting stats. He’s the epitome of Hall of [Very] Good.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:21 PM

        I’m very much in the stat geek camp, but our people are sometimes guilty of undervaluing counting stats. Jim Rice hung on like crazy trying to get to 400 homers. Couldn’t get there. Couldn’t have gotten there with three more seasons.

        The ability to be a productive player into your later years, I think, is an impressive accomplishment. I tend to doubt anyone will be paying Michael Young at age 40 to be the player he’s likely to age into, but if he’s better than that? Good for him.

        Bill James’s Favorite Toy has him with a 29 percent chance to get to 3000 hits. I’m not saying Michael Young is a Hall of Famer if that happens, but it would be an impress accomplishment regardless.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        Problem is, counting stats require context. Even WAR, which is designed to be a counting stat that accounts for playing time, needs more to go on. Rate stats on their own aren’t good enough either, but they tend to do a somewhat better job standing alone than traditional counting stats do.

      • spudchukar - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:43 PM

        You have just claimed that walks are more valuable than hits. That is nuts. Especially when you are the clean-up hitter. OPS and OPS+ favor the slugger and the walker, neither of which Young is. Which makes his numbers even more impressive. If Michael Young gets 3000 hits, maintains his OPS of over .800 it would be a crime if he were excluded from the Hall.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:48 PM

        You have just claimed that walks are more valuable than hits. That is nuts

        It is nuts, as linear weights tends to put singles at 1.0 and walks around 0.7/0.8. Good thing I never claimed that, and try to prove that I did. What I said is that Michael Young’s OBP is inflated by his high BA. He doesn’t walk, at all. So when those singles start reaching fielders, or he loses his power, expect what hitting value he does have to disappear.

        OPS and OPS+ favor the slugger and the walker, neither of which Young is. Which makes his numbers even more impressive

        Are we looking at the same Michael Young? What’s impressive about a no-defense player who, for the last 6 years has OPS+: 108, 106, 95, 128, 102 and 124? Twice he’s been at league average or below. Two other times he was less than 10% better than average. This guy is a future HoFer?
        [Oh, and DJ's same six year age group: 125, 114, 125, 132, 121 and 102]

        If Michael Young gets 3000 hits, maintains his OPS of over .800 it would be a crime if he were excluded from the Hall.

        It’d be a crime if he were admitted. bref-com has him at 35.3 oWAR for his career. His career high oWAR is 5.6 (highest bWAR is 4.6 so far). That’s 2.94 oWAR/year. How is this a HoF’er?

      • spudchukar - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:41 PM

        No you did not state directly that BB’s are more valuable, you do though when you disparage his OPS, due to BA. A team would be insane to prefer a .300 hitter with an OBP of .380 and similar slugging numbers as Michael Young’s over his line of .338/.380/.854. And that is what you allude to.

        Plus, he is an average defender, who has been asked to move out of his natural position, and has remained effective. When the discussion of Thome for instance, entrance into the Hall, where are those detractors, for a consistently below average defender?

        Every other player who garnered 3000 hits and have passed the 5 year waiting period are members of the Hall, all 28 of them, and 5 of those members had OPS of below .800.

        What are Michael Young’s best years? 4 of the last 6, which would suggest the silly presumption that he will begin a rapid decline is pure imagination.

        You of course can continue to suggest that Michael Young isn’t Hall worthy in your view, but if you choose to do so, there are many enshrined that deserve your criticism more than he.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:08 AM

        Plus, he is an average defender, who has been asked to move out of his natural position, and has remained effective

        Since when? Total UZR by position:
        1b: -2.1
        2b: -1.8 (propped up by his ’02 stats)
        3b: -14.9
        SS: -55.5

        Aggregate ratings

        DRS has him:
        ’09: -18
        ’10: -13

        TZ has him:
        ’09: -12
        ’10: -5

        When the discussion of Thome for instance, entrance into the Hall, where are those detractors, for a consistently below average defender?

        Thome has one of the better aggregate triple slash lines of all time. He’s a .277/.403/.556 career hitter (.277/.407/.582 H, .277/.399/.531 A btw). His lack of defensive value is an issue, which actually has been brought up. But when you hit like him…

        and 5 of those members had OPS of below .800.

        Are you intentionally doing this? Stop quoting non-contextually driven OPS. An OPS of 900 during the height of the steroid era isn’t the same thing as an OPS of 900 during the dead ball era.

        What are Michael Young’s best years? 4 of the last 6, which would suggest the silly presumption that he will begin a rapid decline is pure imagination.

        By bWAR it’s [in order] ’06 (4.6), ’08 (3.7), ’09 (3.3) and ’07 (3.2). If those are your best years you shouldn’t sniff the HoF. Also, I never said decline was imminent, I said when his skills decline. Try to keep up.

    • spudchukar - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      Sure ball parks matter, but mostly favor the HR hitter which Young isn’t.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

        Rangers Park in Arlington 2011 ESPN Park Factors:

        Runs – 1st
        HR – 1st
        H – 3rd
        2b – 4th
        3b – 1st

        Park factors can affect all types of hitting. The Ballpark, due to the heat + humidity, has probably been an extreme hitters park since inception. Just look what it does for Young, his career splits are:

        H – .325/.373/.493 – 866
        A – .283/.327/.410 – 737

        His home OPS puts him in a class with Danny Tartabull, John Olerud, Darryl Strawberry and Jason Bay (career range 120-130).

        Away OPS puts him in a class with Davey Lopes, Vince DiMaggio and Coco Crisp (career range 958-976).

      • spudchukar - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM

        Thanks for supporting my point.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:09 AM

        I’m supporting your point by showing how when you take him away from the best hitting park in MLB, he hits like Coco Crisp? And again you think he should be in the HoF?

  23. ssazz - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    “We’ve seen this sort of thing before, haven’t we? Indeed, it’s very much like the Derek Jeter dynamic. The dynamic in which it’s not enough to say that he’s a fine player, he has to be considered the best, and let no one give voice to the notion that his game has declined or has a flaw or three. In which his missteps, to the extent he has them, are invariably cast as strengths or, at the very least, explained away by his passion and leadership.”

    It’s never not funny to see guys like Craig cling to this completely bogus straw-man argument. They’re addicted to it like crackheads are to the pipe.

    Sure he’s just a “fine player”, not a first ballot HoF’er or member of 3,000 hit club or anything. He’s simply fine. It’s those irrational Yankee fans and writers who constantly insist, he’s the “BEST!” That’s what they say don’t they, that he’s the “best” and there has never been any player better, and no one in the game today is better, and there are no flaws in his game because he’s the “best”, and we’ll never acknowledged in any way shape or form that his skills have diminished with age, because he’s the “best”! I mean it can’t be refuted, we all know we’ve read thousands upon thousands of articles stating exactly that. Derek Jeter “has” to be called the “best”, because he simply and provably is the “best”. Sure, we know they can’t be reasoned with, I mean they’ve always said he has the “best” range ever at SS, they’ve always said he hits for more power than anyone in the modern era. How are you going to talk to someone like that? These are clearly irrational people, but luckily we have stand up guys like Craig who are going to speak up against this mindless hoard and unnamed media members!! Huzzah!

    (And this is the guy constantly whining about the slanted and biased opinions of other writers?…)

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      What you’ve just wrote is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read.. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      Why are you talking about Derek Jeter? This post is about Michael Young. It’s a comparison made to Jeter in that people can’t stop talking about Young’s intangibles and leadership and all sorts of crap that he, Michael Young, himself directly contradicts. What does this have to do with NY writers/fans thinking that Jeter is the best? Where does that argument come into play?

  24. paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    If you choose to ignore Michael Young’s home ball park when evaluating his performance, then you must also think that Aaron Harang (and his 3.64 ERA this year) is good again and not in any way a function of pitching 1/2 his games in SD.

    Ball parks matter….and when you play in by far the most hitter friendly one in all of MLB, you just can’t ignore it and make any sense whatsoever in your resulting arguments.

  25. artisan3m - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    East Coast writers are generally of the opinion that baseball doesn’t exist west of of the Mississippi (with St. Louis being the exception since it is on the banks of the Mississippi). There is no way Michael Young CANNOT be considered for AL MVP despite all of the misdirecting fluff being offered against him. He’s had a great season. Now having said that, I must in all honesty confess that I am an avid Texas Ranger fan with tremendous respect for Young and his value to the team. But in spite of that, Michael would not get my vote for MVP, not this year. Two other players are in my opinion more deserving, and they are not Rangers.

    • paperlions - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:18 PM

      Craig, does this one count as a separate tongue bath?

    • Kevin S. - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      There’s no East Coast Bias in fWAR – it has Michael Young 36th among AL position players this year. There’s no East Coast Bias in wRC+ – it has Michael Young the 19th best AL hitter. You really need to get over the idea that Michael Young is a great play – he isn’t.

    • mkd - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:31 PM

      Actually, voters have historically been obsessed with the idea of giving undeserved MVPs to Texas Rangers.

      Beyond the voters’ weird Ranger fetish, did you know that of the 34 MVPs awarded since 1994, only 7 have gone to players from Eastern Division teams? Did you know that? Clearly you didn’t know that or you wouldn’t have repeated this BS about baseball not existing west of the Mississippi.

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