What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
It seems like there are two kinds of fans. Which of these describes you? If you like counting RBI and error totals, believe in clutch hitting, and like listening to Harold Reynolds you probably flinch when people praise Ian Kinsler. If you are into WAR and zone rating, talk about limited sample sizes, and own a copy of Moneyball or a Rob Neyer title or two, then you are probably annoyed when people talk about Michael Young's intangibles.
Which is to say, both of these guys have become straw-men for a deeper debate about how to think and talk about the game. Its all well and good, except that it isn't fair to these guys. I realized the other day that nearly everything I say about MY is bitter and mean and there is no good reason for it. He never characterized himself has a paragon of manly virtue. People who I fundamentally disagree with did that. I'm done taking it out on Michael. Passion is good. Having an position in the big debate is good. But letting real people become stand-ins for values is a pretty poor way of understanding anything about them. I've been a guilty of it as anyone, but I was wrong.
I don't think it's all about saber vs. old school, though that may be part of it. I think some people have difficulty when things aren't black and white. MY is a consistent hitter with decent power, but he has no range. Does that make him a hero or a goat? Ian Kinsler is a high-OBP guy with good speed, power, and great defense. But he's not hitting for avg. and pops up a lot. Elvis has great range but for whatever reason, has trouble with routine plays. Are they great or are they terrible?
You have to accept the bad with the good. You can't say I love MY when he hits an RBI double, but I hate him when he watches a double go down the 3rd base line and looks like he has concrete in his shoes. Or wouldn't it be great if Elvis could keep his range but could also make routine plays 99.5% of the time. There aren't that many super players who are perfect in every aspect of the game. As a fan, it's hard to accept.
The debate is caused by the fact that there are people that want baseball to be an exact science, and there are people that would be very sad if baseball was just an exact science. I love statistics for the books after that fact, they lay out what was achieved. For the future predicting though, while I value them, they are just as capable of detracting from the human element, the human drama and the majesty of the game. In my opinion, statistics gloss over the real story just as much as they tell it. When you read over the history books of what a player like Ken Griffey Jr. achieved, its amazing in and of itself. But when I speak to my son in the future about Griffey, its the amazing moments of apparently effortless power and fearless diving catches against the wall that I will impart. He was a guy that made you marvel, and sure, the statistics can attempt to quantify it, and actually do so, but it still leaves the good stuff out. No statistic will ever impart the smell of the outfield grass, or the fist pump CJ does after Josh Hamilton just robbed a hit with a sliding catch for example. And that, is just as much what baseball is if not more, than the math it generates.
Is Michael Young a great player? Who cares really. Can he reach 3,000 hits in his career? Its not likely, but the beauty is that we just don't know, and no statistic can say he can not.
The stats are fun to look at once the games are over. But in the moment the most gratification comes from just watching the game as it unfolds without all the extra chatter.
MY absolutely can reach 3000 hits. Granted, it'll take him another 5-6 years, but if he's healthy and continues to hit anywhere near his current rate, he could play long enough. Will he? It's too hard to say, but considering how well he'd have to keep performing and the possibility of injury derailing him, I'm putting the odds at around 35% (yes, I just pulled that out of thin air).
I don't understand the people that dog MY. He's not the greatest 3B ever, but he's competent. Would I rather have Beltre out there? Of course. He's younger and better (perhaps partially because he IS younger). But there are plenty of other 3Bs I'd pass over for MY.
Kinsler is streaky, but there's some things he does well even when his BA lags, like walking a lot and striking out less than most of our everyday staff. And his defense is pretty damn good. He may not have Cano's power, but he beats him on defense. I'm never unhappy to see Kinsler out there.
Maybe Ian shouldn't be leading off...that's debatable. And yeah, he could definitely stand to be less streaky and keep his average above .250 (preferably higher). But I'm not going to hate on him like some of you guys are.
Just my $0.02.
I think the problem with MY comes from the franchise and some of the press trying to force it down your throat what a great player/great guy he is. He clearly is not a GREAT player not a GREAT guy. He is a very good player that has been exposed as having diminishing skills on the fielding side but a cagey bat similar to an old cagey pitcher that can still get anyone out, he can still hit anyone. Then on the personality side he is like most of us normal and prideful and gets a little pissy when he face the fact that his skills are not as valued by the FO as he would like. Demanding trades while making the kind of money him makes is one thing but then to be told what a team guy he is at the same time is a little much and MY is caught in the middle.
Ian drives me nuts too but I have learned that it is just the way he is. His lack of hustle on soft infield hits and his consistently bad body language drives the old man in me insane. However he never takes an at bat off when in the field he has huge range and defensively he turns hits into outs almost on a game by game bases. Pare that with the way he grinds at the plate and is on base percentage etc and he is a solid solid player that like MY is a lightening rod.
In the end the minor leagues treat players pretty poorly and once a player earns some rights and gets leverage to not expect that player to use them is I think being a little dishonest however there are those players that are payed more than they are worth even by just a little bit and those guys need to make the sacrifices the team demands of them with a smile (at least publicly).
You nailed the Mikey Baseball piece, mhilgtx.
I am not SABER or old-school. I am both. I played the game for a long time but I also have an advanced education and have always had a fascination with stats. When I watch the game, I really enjoy watching MY and Kinsler play (even if I grumble at Young hitting 4th). But I find myself bristling at the media and fans who want to make Mikey out to be some sort of Mother Theressa/Cal Ripken Jr. On the flip side I find myself defending those who bash Kinsler because I can see with my own eyes that he is the best 2nd baseman we have had since, well...anyone.
So for me, the reason these 2 players are lightning rods is because of my personal feeling that Mikey is given too much praise and Kinsler is too harshly criticised.
@Adam: I agree that Kinsler is too harshly criticized, and that MY is given too much praise...by a lot of people. On here I think he's criticized a bit too much.
Andy, I think the over-criticism of MY on here is a direct response to the other media always bowing at the alter of Michael the Great. I know it's really the only reason I ever bash him. Well, other than my pure delight in PADMYs.
The problem I have with Ian and MY is that they are both 2Bs. Ian's bat would be rendered mediocre at best if he played LF or DH. But to get it out of a Gold Glove quality 2B? Fantastic! As I've said over and again, Young's highest and best use on the diamond is as an offense-first 2B. As a DH, he is average. 2011 has clearly been one of Michael's 3 best offensive seasons. Yet I don't see how anyone can look at an .863 OPS DH with an even .800 career OPS (especially factoring in RBiA) and feel like they've got anythind special. Take those numbers to the 2B position, and they become standout numbers. The become the kind of #s that would grossly overshadow even slightly below average defense.
@Adam...I'm new to this site...and I have seen it a couple of times...but what do y'all mean by 'PADMY'?
Past A Diving Michael Young - referring to the grounders that Young dove at but missed
makes perfect sense...thanks
I didn't take the time to look at the numbers, but just from watching the games, it seems that MY has played a large percentage of games in the field and not at DH. I know some people think that he should never play the field, but I'm not so sure. Even though he's below avg. defensively, there might be some value in giving our infielders some rest. (Is it a coincidence that Kinsler hasn't been injured this year?) And it's nice now that Beltre's out for an extended period not to have to go with Blanco in the lineup. Young as DH/infielder may not make sense long-term, but it seems to be working out pretty well for this particular team. The Rangers have lost their All Star 3B for 5-6 weeks, and so far, it hasn't really been a huge issue. That's due in part to Napoli, Cruz, and Torrealba heating up, but MY's versatility allows him to play the field so that Napoli/Torrealba can DH. You couldn't do that with the typical DH.
@Adam: no surprise we agree that Mike, like so many other people, is overrated by many. But really, is there anyone who isn't overrated by some? Probably not, but that's not my point. I love MY, but I recognize him for what he is, a good ballplayer, not a god.
And as amusing as PADMYs can be, I'm never happy to see one.
Andy is right. I had this arguement not long ago. MY will put up similar numbers to Jeter. Id he wore pin-stripes, he'd be a shoe in. He had the chance, yet he stayed. He is great in the community, in the club-house, and on the field. He is the epitomy of a base-ball player.
@Ricky: Thank you. Nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks he's worth a damn.
(For the record, MY got to 2000 faster than Jeter did, and he started 2 years older...currently, Jeter's lifetime avg is .312, MY's is .303. I'm not arguing that Young is better than Jeter, or even as good...because I'm not properly researched enough to make such a lofty claim. But he's a great ballplayer and I'm very happy he's playing for us instead of against us.)
@ Adam - I'd never claim one is better than the other.
I will however say that they are one in the same... except that Mike has started at every infield position but Catcher.
That said, Mike will match his numbers, given the opportunity.
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