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Michael Young: The Santa Claus of Veteran Presents


According to Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers have shown some interest in 1B/3B Michael Young. Michael Young brings many things to the table. He is extremely versatile, he plays baseball the right way, he’s willing to move to another position to make room for a younger player, he grinds out at bats, he’s a career .300 hitter, he’s a great defender at several positions, every one of his doubles has been of the utmost class, and he’s probably a Hall of Famer. It’s not often that you can get so many veteran presents from one player!

Is Santa Claus Coming to Town? Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

If you can’t tell by this point, the first paragraph is sarcastic satire. I don’t think much of any of Young’s veteran presents (presence).  For one, he’s not versatile at all anymore. Despite playing each of the infield positions at some point of his career, Young is a 1B-only at this point. He’s never posted an above average UZR in a full season at 3B, SS, and his last at 2B was in 2002. Young is even a below average 1B at this point posting UZRs of -3.8 and -6.7 the last two years.

Not only is Young not defensively versatile, but he can’t hit enough to play the one position he’s capable of. Despite being a career .300 hitter, Young’s wRC+ have been 79 and 102 respectively the last two years. Even the better number of 102 would ranks 22nd for all qualified 1B last year, and his 79 in 2012 would have been the worst of any qualified 1B.

So what is the point of Michael Young you may ask. Well he’s right handed, and Juan Francisco is left handed. The obvious answer is that Young would be there to platoon, and be a body that you can at least put at 3B, and while being awful there, he still is better than what Mat Gamel or Ryan Braun was. He has been decent against left handers the last two years, posting wRC+ of 113 and 99 the last two years against southpaws. While that is no star, it gives us a bit of finality regarding what Milwaukee wants to do at first base.

If we’re talking a very cheap deal, there’s a bit of value in having Michael Young on your team. He can platoon with Juan Francisco, but mostly importantly, keep the organization from doing something rash like signing Kendry Morales (costing a first round pick), or ponying up too much for Ike Davis. The Brewers are clearly not satisfied with a Juan Francisco/Sean Halton platoon at 1B, and while Michael Young improves it a little bit, the greater value that Michael Young brings is that he prevents a bad decision from being made. Just get ready for his greatest present of all: “Past a diving Michael Young.”