Skip to content

Michael Young and the chase for 3,000 hits

Jan 30, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

Michael Young Getty Images

Michael Young led the American League in hits for the second time in his career in 2011, finishing with 213. That brought his career total to 2,061 through age 34, and despite a late start — he didn’t collect his first hit in the majors until age 24 — he appeared to have some shot at getting to 3,000.

Bill James has long had what he calls “The Favorite Toy,” a system that looks at the previous year’s results, career totals and age before spitting out a percentage score of a player’s chances of reaching a certain milestone. After the 2011 season, James had 12 players with at least a 20-percent chance of getting 3,000 hits, not including Derek Jeter, who was already there.

Alex Rodriguez – 94%
Johnny Damon – 86%
Vladimir Guerrero – 67%
Albert Pujols – 56%
Miguel Cabrera – 46%
Ichiro Suzuki – 38%
Michael Young – 34%
Adrian Beltre – 30%
Robinson Cano – 28%
Juan Pierre – 27%
Carl Crawford – 23%
Nick Markakis – 22%

Given the percentages James came up with, five or six of the above players should eventually get to 3,000 hits. And now, two years later:

Alex Rodriguez: 2,939 – suspended for 2014
Johnny Damon: 2,769 – out of baseball in 2013
Vladimir Guerrero: 2,590 – out of baseball in 2013, retired
Albert Pujols: 2,347
Miguel Cabrera: 1,995
Ichiro Suzuki: 2,742
Michael Young: 2,375 – retired
Adrian Beltre: 2,426
Robinson Cano: 1,649
Juan Pierre: 2,217
Carl Crawford: 1,765
Nick Markakis: 1,370

A-Rod need only come back for one more year to get 3,000. He should pull that off unless he’s blackballed. Despite his setbacks the last two years, Pujols should still have more than 653 hits left in him. He is signed for eight more years, after all. Cabrera remains very much on pace. Ichiro, though, is a big long shot now. Beltre is looking pretty good with 574 hits to go as he turns 35 in April. The same goes for Cano, though he’s just over halfway there at the moment. The bottom three all appear done for. Crawford may stay healthy enough to get to 2,500 or so, but 3,000 is out of reach.

So, that’s three likelies in Rodriguez, Pujols and Cabrera and two maybes in Beltre and Cano. Which isn’t so bad. Unfortunately, the reduction in teams willing to suit up pure DHs hurt the cause for Damon and Guerrero. Both were still decent hitters, but neither had the power to convince a team he was worthy of a few million dollars and a roster spot. I do believe that we’ll someday see the DH in both leagues. For better or worse, not having it now most likely cost Damon 3,000 hits, maybe Guerrero, too.

As for the now 37-year-old Young, well, there probably would have been more demand for his services with another 15 DH jobs open in the NL. However, he wasn’t likely to remain productive enough to get another 625 hits anyway.

In the old days, it seemed like quite an exception when a player was about as productive in his mid-30s as he was during his prime years. Then it wasn’t as much of an exception for a while, perhaps because of PEDs and amphetamines. Now it’s starting to look like an exception again.

Latest Posts
  1. Xander Bogaerts cleared to return from the 7-day concussion disabled list on Saturday night

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:27 PM EDT

    xander bogaerts getty Getty Images

    Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has passed MLB’s concussion protocol and will return from the 7-day disabled list this Saturday night.

  2. Video: Andrelton Simmons protects the Braves’ late lead with an amazing play at shortstop

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:23 PM EDT

    andrelton simmons getty Getty Images

    Andrelton Simmons kept the Braves’ late lead intact with this ridiculous play Wednesday night against the Mets …

  3. Manny Machado undergoes season-ending knee surgery

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:48 PM EDT

    manny machado getty Getty Images

    Orioles infielder Manny Machado underwent successful surgery Wednesday to repair a partially-torn ligament in his right knee.

  4. David Price surrenders nine consecutive hits to the Yankees in the worst start of his career

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT

    david price getty Getty Images

    The Tigers entered play Wednesday night trailing the Royals by 1 1/2 games in the American League Central standings and were hoping to get another strong start from trade deadline acquisition David Price, who tossed eight innings of one-run ball last week in Tampa Bay. Price did not come through.

  5. Tigers’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: a set of old Tiger Stadium seats and three paintings

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT

    derek jeter getty Getty Images

    Derek Jeter’s retirement tour continued Wednesday night at Detroit’s Comerica Park with another set of gifts …

  6. Video: Jorge Soler homers in his first major league at-bat

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

    jorge soler getty Getty Images

    Watch as Cubs top outfield prospect Jorge Soler goes deep to left-center field in his first major league at-bat Wednesday evening at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati …

  7. Michael Wacha to make first rehab start Sunday with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT

    wacha getty Getty Images

    From Brian Stull of STL Baseball Weekly comes word that Michael Wacha has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. Wacha threw a simulated game at Springfield on Wednesday afternoon and reported no issues with his shoulder.

  8. Rockies place Wilin Rosario on the disabled list

    Aug 27, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    wilin rosario getty Getty Images

    Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario continues to battle with inflammation in his left wrist and was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday evening.

  9. Adam Wainwright has a “dead arm”

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Wainwright

    Which, despite the name of it, usually isn’t as serious as a lot of other stuff that can afflict pitchers.

  10. Yankees sign Mets castoff Chris Young

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    chris young getty Getty Images

    Young signed a one-year, $7.25 million deal with the Mets this offseason in the hopes of building back his value before hitting the free agent market again, but instead he hit just .205 with eight homers and a .630 OPS in 88 games.

  11. Royals demote Aaron Crow to Double-A

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Aaron Crow AP

    Crow was an All-Star in 2011 and has a 3.35 ERA in 226 career innings through age 26, including a 3.86 ERA in 59 appearances this season.

  12. David Ortiz is back in the Red Sox’s lineup

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:18 PM EDT

    David Ortiz AP

    In the 10 games prior to the injury Ortiz hit .515 with four homers, three doubles, and a 1.606 OPS while the Red Sox went 2-8.

  13. Jury awards Jose Offerman’s bat attack victim $940,000

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT

    Jose Offerman AP AP

    Offerman ended a man’s career by hitting him with a bat. Now he has to pay for it.

  14. Yonder Alonso needs surgery to “re-attach a ruptured tendon to the bone”

    Aug 27, 2014, 2:21 PM EDT

    yonder alonso getty Getty Images

    Alonso is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason coming off a career-worst season in which he hit just .240 with seven homers and a .682 OPS in 84 games.

  15. Great Moments in Drug Testing and Punishment: The NFL Edition

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    marijuana

    The league that has no HGH testing and never gets criticized for its drug policies, has suspended a guy for a year for using a substance that is legal in two of the 22 states in which the NFL operates.

  16. Mark Appel had the best start of his pro career last night

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:13 PM EDT

    Mark Appel AP AP

    Astros prospect Mark Appel was terrible at Single-A and then there was a weird quasi-controversy about him throwing a bullpen session in Houston, but now the former No. 1 overall pick is thriving at Double-A.

  17. HBT Daily: Alex Gordon and the Royals keep on rolling

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    Alex Gordon and the Royals fly under the radar, but here they are, on top of the AL Central.

  18. Tony Cingrani unlikely to pitch for Reds again this season

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    Tony Cingrani Tony Cingrani

    Cingrani has been on the Triple-A disabled list since late June with a strained shoulder and recently had to halt the start of a throwing program due to continued discomfort.

  19. Diamondbacks expect Patrick Corbin to be out until June of next season

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Patrick Corbin AP

    “He’d probably punch me if heard me saying that but you’re really going to take your time and make sure he’s ready to go.”

Featured video

Alex Gordon, MVP candidate
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (4537)
  2. D. Ortiz (2558)
  3. Y. Molina (2556)
  4. J. Soler (2403)
  5. M. Cuddyer (2103)
  1. M. Machado (2001)
  2. Y. Darvish (1993)
  3. B. Colon (1984)
  4. R. Cano (1952)
  5. S. Doolittle (1881)