Michael Young has requested a trade from the Texas Rangers. This is not good news for Fantasy owners who have Mr. Young on their rosters. A move from the Ballpark in Arlington would certainly affect his numbers. Young hit .305/.362/.441 at home in 2008 – and just .264/.317/.364 on the road. In his career, his splits are: .322/.369/.480 at home, and .279/.323/.404 on the road.
The option of staying in Texas, though, may not be too appetizing either. The shortstop, who had his string of five 200+ hits seasons broken in 2008, has been asked (told?) by Texas to move to third base for the 2009 season in preparation for top prospect (and shortstop) Elvis Andrus. Young – who came up in the Jays system as a shortstop – previously moved from second base to shortstop at the Major League level to help fill the void left by Alex Rodriguez‘ departure from Texas.
Despite his .300 career batting average, Young does not have the power potential traditionally required at the hot corner. His career slugging percentage is .442 but it has been at .418 and .402 in the last two seasons. Young’s ISO has gone from .145 in 2006 to .103 in 2007 to .118 last season. Andrus, with a .073 ISO in 2008 at Double-A, will not help make up for lost power.
Defensively, the move may be wise. Considered a plus defender at shortstop in the minors, Young’s defence was overrated. He has steady hands and converts what he gets to, but his range is below average. At third base, he would have less ground to cover. In the last two seasons, Young has posted UZR rates of -10.1 and -3.9.
Young is also beginning the first year of an ill-advised, five-year contract that will pay him about $62 million (It was originally $80 million but some was handed out as a signing bonus, and some is deferred) despite the fact his overall value as a player – both offensively and defensively – is diminishing. That will make it very difficult for Texas to adhere to the shortstop’s wish for a trade – unless the organization eats a large portion of the contract.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.