What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
I’ve recently seen a number of articles and comments along the line of “for a while Michael Young was the best player on a number of pretty bad teams.” I thought I would take a look at that claim. Was Michael Young ever truly the best player on the Rangers? I’m not the biggest fan of WAR, but there’s not really a better tool to examine claims like this.
First, let’s just start out by throwing out 2001-2003. A-Rod was posting seasons of 7.8, 9.8, and 9.1 WAR. With Barry Bonds as the only player to amass more WAR over that period, It’s fairly safe to say that Rodriquez was the Ranger’s best player.
In 2004 Teixeira led the team in WAR with 4.5. Young fell in behind Tex, Blalock, and Kevin Mench with 2.5 WAR. I’m certainly willing to give Young the benefit of the doubt when the numbers are close, but let’s limit those judgement calls to when Mike is within 0.5 WAR.
For the 2005 season, Mike produced a very healthy 4.2 WAR. That being said, Big Tex threw down a terrific 5.9 WAR.
2006 gives Young his first win as a hitter (it’s really a tie). Young and Garry Matthews Jr. led the Rangers with 3.9 WAR. Technically GMJ was slightly better than Young and this is a case where I really question the defensive component of WAR - UZR didn’t like GMJ and didn’t hate MY in 2006; however, we’ll give this one to Mike. Let’s remember though that there are pitchers too. Vicente Padilla also contributed 3.9 WAR in 2006. This is starting to water down the claim that Young was even the best player on bad teams. The actual best player in 2006 according to WAR? Kevin Millwood with 5.1 WAR.
2007 is a pretty weird season to analyze. Young contributed 2.4 WAR. Kenny Lofton and Teixiera were traded during the season. Lofton amassed more wins than Young as a Ranger (2.5) but only 2.8 in total. Teixeira only posted 1.9 WAR while a Ranger in 2007 but posted 4.2 overall. Millwood posted 2.7 WAR. Depending on how you break it down, Young could be within the 0.5 win margin of error, but there’s enough to suggest that Young wasn’t really the Ranger’s best player.
In 2008 Young’s 2.4 WAR fell behing Marlon Byrd (3.0), Kevin Millwood (3.3), Josh Hamilton (3.8), Ian Kinsler (4.5), and Milton Bradley (4.6). Once again, Young was not the best player on the Rangers.
Young’s 3.9 mark in 2009 falls short of Ian Kinsler’s 4.7, and since he fell short of 6 other Rangers including AL MVP Josh Hamilton in 2010, no one with a shred of sanity would argue that Young was tops in 2010.
For a couple of seasons (2006 and 2007), you could make an intelligent case for Young being the Rangers best player; however, it would appear that those claiming Young was the best player on a bad team are on shaky ground at best. I don't know exactly what it means if you agree with my logic, but it might suggest that Mr. Hindman was correct in assigning some blame to the media.
Good work, Dave... I've bristled at the insistence that Young was the best Ranger in those years, but didn't really feel like doing the work to see how accurate that was. The fact that the best argument for that notion was his performance in the 06-07 years probably explains why JD felt that contract was needed. Especially with Teix's departure so inevitable.
I agree with everything you just said I dont even have a comment because you said it all man. Great post
You rule. Don't ever change.
Have a great summer,
FullerTron - did this somehow turn into a high school year book? What'd I miss?
Ducks go moo, cows go quack, Im the first to sign your crack...
I screwed that up, but you get the point.
I think its hard to define "ever.' Yeah, A-Rod was hella good for the three seasons he's been here. Kins has been better too. Millwood? Sure. Tex? Sure. I buy all of that. But I think its hard to quantify what ever means. If we are putting service time in to the equation, then it might change.
I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I think the service time has to be important. I don't think I would say A-rod is the best Ranger ever because he was a little bitch.
So I'm gonna stop because I don't have any idea what I'm talking about.
I just like high school yearbooks.
Philly - just keep in mind that I'm addressing whether or not Michael Young was the best player on the Rangers at any given time during his career. You could make a decent argument that when considering his career, he's been the best Ranger over that period. His position in that case is bouyed by the fact that he's the only player that's been on the Ranger's major league squad over that entire period - everyone else has less service time with the team.
I guess my point in this article was that at any given point if you take a snapshot of the team, he was never the team's best player. He may have been the best player over that entire period, but he's also their only player that spans that entire period.
High School Year Book quote was solid Gold!! Nice Work
FullerTron - did this somehow turn into a high school year book? What'd I miss?
I was flipping through an elementary school yearbook a week or two back -- cleaning out boxes of crap in my closet -- and found some girl had written "Have a happy summer!" in the front. I will now forever associate that with the Fake Greggo line from one of the Ticket's on-air promos.
Good piece, and I concur with your reservations on WAR -- one of my long-standing reservations, actually. One thing that's always bugged me is MGL saying a single year of UZR data very well may not reflect how well a fielder performed at his position ... unfortunately, we're using that single year of UZR data to determine a player's single-season WAR, and then basing a lot of player evaluation off of that single number. I'll never get the people who think the saber crowd believes it has it all figured out ... no self-respecting saber-oriented fan or analyst would ever believe that.
I'm right there with ya' on that line Joey.
Joey, wasn't that promo the Fake Tiger ? I think the one I'm thinking of was... I hadn't really thought of the UZR as it relates to single season WAR point before. Now I have to figure this whole baseball thing out all over again.
Great post. Makes a fantastic point.
I cross posted you at Newberg and LSB.
This is something everyone should see and think about. Loved it.
Thanks for linking this matchst1ck.
No, you miss the point. Young is such a great leader and teammate, he purposely kept his WAR lower than a couple of teammates every year. The guy just gives and gives, sacrificing everything day in and day out.
Ah gottcha Dave. In that regard, I guess the answer would be no. But not emphatically. I still think, prior to this year, his off the field contributions to the community and the relationship he formed with many fans.
I know a lot of people tend to dismiss that. I do agree that there have been better players on the team while he has been here. No question. It might just be me, but I think there is more to a player than his stats.
It kinda reminds me of Jason Terry. He's always been second or third or the mavs, maybe even fourth. But he is definitely a fan favorite because of his atitude and demeanor. Now, I'm not trying to say he's better than Dirk (LOL), but it's another local example.
1960 World Series~ A Must View
Good article. It's a perfect example of why Baseball will always be aboutthe tangibles and intangibles of play, with some notable and meaningful statistics.Anyone whom has not viewed the 7th game of the 1960 World Series, betweenthe Pirates and Yankees, will understand my point. The darn dirt clod in front of Kubekthat turned the game/series around(as a few other Twilight Zone happenings) for Pirates.Baseball: Expect the Unexpected
I know bbtia strives to parse Face as somewhere between Bengi Gil and Jeff Kunkel at all costs, but, 05 through 09 it's easy to designate him as the top Ranger.
Are you saying collectively for that whole time period Pull T? If so, I probably agree with you.
@HubZ - YES. I wish MLB Network would air that game every single day, but alas, they don't. One can only hope.
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