ESPN Just Couldn’t Wait Another Year

Because a year from now, Amy K. Nelson’s column would probably be much more warranted. The only thing preventing it from being just another Ecksteinian or Erstadian article about hustle, energy, and undue praise grit is the fact that Chris Young will – in all likelihood – be very good at baseball one day. Normally I’d go through the whole article, but Phil Hughes is pitching soon and that takes priority. The highlights:

“He’s the spark plug,” second baseman Orlando Hudson says. “He’s leading off for us, and he’s doing a great job of it. As he goes, we go.”

Young’s season OBP is .291. His OBP leading off is .333. The league-average OBP is .348. Young is below-average at getting on base.

I suppose Hudson is technically at fault for saying something like that, but shame on Nelson for including that misleading quote.

Even though his average is just .243, he’s leading all major league rookies with 19 home runs.

(1) I love how – in general – ESPN places great value on average, but uses better statistics (slugging percentage in this case) when average fails to prove a point.

(2) It doesn’t support their point. Young’s good SLG of .465 doesn’t save him from mediocrity. His .243/.291/.465 line means he has an OPS+ of 87, which is bad.

“This was the most confident .200 hitter I’ve ever seen in my life; he still kind of walked around with the same kind of aura and presence around him. That was the impressive thing.” (Eric Byrnes)

“This is the most praise I’ve seen heaped upon a mediocre baseball player all summer; the article presents itself as informative and insightful even though it contains no useful information. I am amazed.”

The organization is unsure where he eventually will hit in the lineup, but Young has done well thus far leading off. All agree his defense is near the top and will only get better.

I repeat: .291 OBP, 87 OPS+. He has not done well so far leading off, or at any other spot in the lineup. His defense is fine.

With that, it’s time to go watch Hughes pitch.


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