Friday, January 31, 2014

Looking Back: How Good Was Michael Young?

Another MLB season has passed, and another great fantasy baseball player has decided to hang up his cleats.  Following in the footsteps of Mariano "Mo" Rivera and Lance "Big Puma" Berkman, Michael Young has retired from the game of baseball.

Young leaves the game as a 7 time All-Star, 6 in a row ('04-'09) and a gold glover at the SS position in 2008.  On top of that, he finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting in 2004, a year in which he hit .313 while driving in 99 runs thanks to 33 doubles and 22 home runs while scoring 114 runs and 2011 when he hit a career best .338, driving in 106 runs with 41 doubles and 11 home runs while scoring 88 runs.

Michael Young started his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, before being traded to the Texas Rangers for Esteban Loaiza, a deal Toronto wishes they could have back!

In front of Young on the Blue Jays depth chart at SS, was Alex S. Gonzalez.  Gonzalez had been with the team for more than 5 seasons and it made sense for Toronto to give him back his gig after a injury knocked him out of the 1999 season.  Instead, the Jays traded for Tony Batista to fill in and then moved him to 3B the following season.  There was no where for Michael Young to play in Toronto, so they shipped him to the Rangers for Loaiza and the rest is history.  Just imagine what the Blue Jays could have done with a core of Carlos Delgado, Michael Young, Vernon Wells, Orlando Hudson and Alex Rios.

Gonzalez ended up being traded to the Chicago Cubs for Felix Heredia and James Deschaine after the 2001 season and Toronto was left with Chris Woodward, Chris Gomez, Russ Adamn, Corey Koskie and Eric Hinske manning the left side of the infield for the next few seasons.

Once Michael Young arrived in Texas, he couldn't stop hitting.  He averaged 34 doubles a season, starting in 2001 and 7 seasons in a row hit more than 35!  He managed to add 20 home runs 4 times in his career but never hit that elusive 25th home run.  Six time he totaled 200 hits, including 5 straight seasons from 2003-07.  He won the batting title in 2005 hitting .331 that season.  Not even Derek Jeter (2308) himself has had as many hits as Young (2375) since the start of the 2001 season.  No SS does.

He helped lead the Texas Rangers to two straight World Series appearances, but he never was able to declare himself a World Champion, losing to the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. 

Is Michael Young a Hall of Famer?  That will be for the writers to decide (or Deadspin) but one thing is for certain, he was a great MLB player and one of the best fantasy baseball players at his position.

Check out Michael Young's Baseball Reference page and see where he ranks amongst active and all time hitters in many categories!

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