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Michael Young expects to be “better than ever” at third base

Mar 16, 2013, 8:31 PM EDT

Michael Young AP

Stifle your laughter. Phillies third baseman Michael Young is very confident about his return to the hot corner, reports’s Paul Hagen:

Can Young, at age 36, play third better than he ever has before?

“I expect to,” he said. “Preparation is the key to anything and I feel like I’m prepared and working hard, and I want to keep doing that during the season. I feel comfortable now, but there is always work to be done. I know I haven’t been at third in a while, but I do know what it takes to play third base at a high level and I have definite goals in my head about the type of third base I intend to play. I’m going to keep working hard until I get there.”

He’s keeping those goals to himself, and they’re not necessarily numerical.

“It’s the way I feel over there. The third base I know I can play. I don’t feel like I’ve played it to this point in my career. I’ve worked at it and worked at it, but at the same time you need the reps. A lot of things are starting to click over there that I was kind of searching for a little bit earlier. This is a classic example of learning by doing,” he said.

Young’s mediocre defense has been the inspiration behind such legendary animated .gifs as this and this (and probably this, too). If you put any stock in Ultimate Zone Rating, he has been the third-worst-fielding third baseman in baseball since 2009. Overall, he was the second-least-valuable player in the big leagues last season. But he has grit, leadership, and passion for the game, which is what really matters when your team is hovering around .500.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Oh no – Craig got to Baer – just listen to that Philly-trolling snark (sounds of evil laughter and a pipe blowing bubbles.)

    • Bill Baer - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Don’t give that awful man any credit for my incredible personality

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        Fair enough – but if we see a post from oyu that Ryan Braun is the greatest victim of our time, we will know Mr. Clean has gotten to you 😉

      • ewyorksockexchange - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        The one thumbs down came from Craig. I’m sure of it.

  2. paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Young isn’t setting the bar particularly high, is he?

    • Kevin S. - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      The soft bigotry of low expectations, as Keith Law might say.

  3. andreweac - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    The Professional Hitter has spoken.

  4. djpostl - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Dude has a -35 Rdrs for his career lol.

    Not really too difficult to be “better than horrible”.

  5. einjzmolf - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    what an adorable picture, goes well with such an adorable statement

  6. flavordave - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Its clear that the phillies will dominate this division and win the title. Why even play this year?

    • kiwicricket - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:28 PM

      Is that you Bicepts?

      • bleedgreen - Mar 17, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        Flavor Dave is a Philly troll. He’s constantly on PFT talking about Chip Kelly dominating.

        I love my Phils and Eagles, but yeah.

  7. indaburg - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    If Young knows what it takes to play 3rd base at a high level, why has he waited until now?

  8. baseballer28 - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    So this guys hates philly too?
    What a dick.

    • paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      Yep, he hates Philly and the Phillies so much that he started up a blog about the Phillies….just to hate them.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:15 PM

        So what you are saying is, Bill is really committed to his hatred?

      • paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        If you are going to do something….you may as well do it right.

  9. phillyphannn83 - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I particularly enjoyed the final link. We should ALWAYS trust WAR numbers because Jeff Francoeur is the worst player in baseball, clearly. What a joke. I love when people invent new stats. There’s a reason why it hasn’t been a stat since the beginning of baseball, or even 20 years ago.

    • paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:49 PM

      Yes, there is….but that reason isn’t because it isn’t useful.

      Based on your logic, “vaccines are a joke and you love when people invent new cures. There is a reason why vaccines hadn’t been a part of medical practices since the discovery of disease.”

      • phillyphannn83 - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:42 AM

        Hence why I added the “or even 20 years ago” part. Plus how did you possibly take my statement as being all-encompassing pertaining to all of humanity? I made no such assertion that my opinion had anything to do with anything other than sports statistics. So try again, this time staying ON topic.

      • cktai - Mar 17, 2013 at 2:38 AM

        PET scans are a joke and you love it when people invent new diagnostic methods. There is a reason why PET scans havent been a diagnostic method since the beginning of medicine or even the last twenty years

        Logic does limit itself to certain fields of knowledge. What is the difference between evaluating disease and evaluating the worth of baseball players, other than there significance? They both improve all the time, why dismiss a new method simply because its new? You know that batting average did not exist since the beginning of baseball either? and that there was a time when it was no older than 20 years?

    • tuberippin - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:53 AM

      Clearly you have not watched Jeff Francoeur play baseball in the past few years. Dude is horrendous.

    • atlrod - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Ok fine. We’ll stay off your lawn.

  10. phillyphannn83 - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Hahahaha I didn’t even look at the 4th link. There’s no way a sure fire HoF’er could have possibly been the 5th worst fielding 3rd basemen in the league for the last 4 years(sarcasm alert!) These cherry-picked stats are such a joke. And if you didn’t notice, this is a Phillies fan defending Chipper Jones.

    • paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM

      There is no way MY is ever going to be inducted to the HOF for his play.

      • indaburg - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        phillyphann is referring to Chipper, not MY, as a sure bet HOFer. The phrasing in his comment is awkward. Initially, I thought he meant what you thought too. Jones is also the 6th worse rated according to that Fangraphs ultimate zone ratings graph, not the 5th worst as he said. I thought Jones’ declining defense was well known but I guess it’s new to phillyphann.

      • paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        Yeah, that is hardly an improvement in logic….but at least that is one correct thing in the post.

      • phillyphannn83 - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM

        Hahaha, that wasn’t confusingly written AT ALL! If you were confused, then you clearly did not check the link I referred to before posting your opinion. Furthermore, indaburg, go look again, he’s 5th according to that graph! You people astound me. Maybe I should’ve made my post simple for the simple minds here…Numbers shouldn’t simply be taken at face-value. Professional baseball is a complex game and you cannot property analyze it while cherry-picking single stats, especially those recently made up. Comprende?

      • tuberippin - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:58 AM

        You don’t need UZR/150, Total Zone data, WAR or any other quantifiable sabermetric analyses to know that Michael Young is a piss-poor third baseman. All you need is eyes to confirm that suspicion.

        That said…for as much as he’s getting ragged on, MY can’t be that much worse than the recent string of Phillies 3rd basemen. David Bell, Pedro Feliz, Abraham Nunez and Placido Polanco is not exactly a “who’s who” of talented players at the hot corner.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 17, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        Actually Pedro Feliz and Placido Polanco were very good with their gloves at the position. They just weren’t power hitters (Pedro was brought in specifically because he projected 20 HR a year… never happened), and Polanco was good when Healthy, which was a rare occurrence.

        Now if your idea of talented is David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Adrian Beltre, then yeah, not much going on in the hot corner in Philly.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      Plenty of crappy fielders, especially if we’re just looking at their late thirties, are in the Hall of Fame because they could hit the ever-living snot out of the ball. Chipper falls into that category.

    • indaburg - Mar 17, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      I did check all of the links prior to posting. If you sort by UZR, Chipper is 6th. If you sort by UZR/150, he’s 5th. Either way, his skills declined as a 3rd baseman as he aged, and this is not news. Even without stats, anyone with functioning eyes could see it. MY and Chipper are definitely cases where the stats confirm what we see. Like Kevin S. said, Chipper’s going into the HoF for his ability to hit, not for his D.

  11. randygnyc - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Say what you want, but Young hasn’t lost any arm strength. He was throwing missiles from third today. He gunned down each and every one of my beloved Yankees today.

    • cktai - Mar 17, 2013 at 2:41 AM

      Might have something to do with the declining speed of your Yankees.

      • cur68 - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM


      • evanwins - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Yeah, Brett Gardner is a turtle. Ichiro has always been slow footed, right? And now that he’s declining he’s well below average speed, right? And all those young guys that replaced their starters? Young guys are never fast.

  12. grumpyoleman - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Ultimate zone rating is a joke. No wonder so many people give no credit to the saber metric types.

    • jwbiii - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      DRS doesn’t like him much, either. Watching, I think he looks bad. His team spent a lot of money to replace him because they thought was bad. Then they traded him with with $8.8M for a middle reliever and a middle reliever prospect.

      What are you looking at?

    • jwbiii - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:29 PM

      Sorry, I misread that. That should be $10M.

  13. mungman69 - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Oh my.

  14. coryfor3 - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Cut the guy some slack. He’s always been at least a good player. The fact others think his intangibles are worth so much isn’t his fault. I don’t understand why hbt gives young so much guff.

  15. polonelmeagrejr - Mar 17, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    The aging process fools all of us into thinking we can do the things we used to do as well and as often as we did when we were younger.

  16. coloradogolfcoupons - Mar 17, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    The boo meter in Philly will need to be repaired weekly if Young stays at third all year. ‘Ole’ is not just a bull-fighting term anymore, the way he plays.

  17. nbjays - Mar 17, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Did Michael Young spend the offseason working on his intangibles?

    Could he, in fact, be in the BISOHL (Best Intangible Shape Of His Life)?

    Stay tuned, folks…

  18. aceshigh11 - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    These comments are a riot!

  19. andreweac - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    To question the greatness of Michael Young is like asking why the sun rises from the East. Don’t do it!

  20. evanwins - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    WOW. This article has 43 comments, more than twice as many as the next closest one (Chapman wants to Close has 19).

    It’s odd how many people love to hate on the Phillies. Good thing that hate has zero effect on the actual truth of things.

    As bad as The Phillies were last year and as much as people don’t like them, the fact remains that they are the 2nd most winning franchise in baseball over the last 6 years, they are 1 of 3 teams with an over .500 record in that time and they are one injury laden season removed from a 102 win season, the most in the Majors.

    So what’s that mean? It means the team knows how to win.

    I’m not concerned about the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies. Not at all.

    • atlrod - Mar 17, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Wait, so what does that mean? The organization keeps a secret pamphlet in a safe? Like, there’s a roadmap to victory or something? Have they handed out this secret brochure titled “Winning!” every year of their existence or something? I’m not clear on what exactly you’re claiming.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 17, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        That’s exactly what he means – the “Winning” pamphlet by the greatest pamphleteer of our time, Charlie Sheen.

  21. stex52 - Mar 17, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Phillies trolls and Philllies fanboys. The great comic diversion of this blog. The running gag that never gets old.

  22. stlouis1baseball - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Is that one dude rubbing the other guys finger?
    If so…he is doing it wrong. The guy looks disturbed by it.

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