A topic that received a mention or two by anyone and everyone who covers the Rangers was the unfortunate and sharp decline of Michael Young's production. In 2011 he had one of his very best seasons and the next year one of his very worst seasons.
For context, I compared it to every other qualifying season by a regular DH since the American League implemented the rule in 1973. By OPS+, which tells you a park adjusted and league adjusted comparison of a player's OPS to the rest of league with 100 being average, Michael Young had the fifth worst offensive season ever.
Below is a table of the ten worst offensive seasons by a regular DH. It includes their previous three year average, and in all cases but Ruben Sierra, each of the hitters was an above average offensive performer before suddenly falling off of a cliff.
Additionally, you can see how those players performed in their next year. The results are mixed:
- Paul Molitor and Dave "Cobra" Parker, the two oldest players on this list by far, retiring after an excellent careers that seemed done.
- Ruben Sierra performing even worse in limited appearances but eventually rebounding to stay in the league for several more seasons.
- Alvin Davis having a very slight improvement in OPS+ in a small number of PA before hanging it up. Alvin Davis's drop from a very good hitter to absolutely being terrible is a strange thing at only 30 years old.
- Every other player rebounded to have either an average to above average offensive year the very next season.
In terms of projecting Michael Young, ZiPS by Dan Szymborski expects him to put up a slash line of .279 / .317 / .401 for an OPS of .718 next year. That still isn't close to the .800+ OPS Michael Young has averaged over most of his career, but it's still regression upwards to his career numbers compared to 2012.
I don't expect Michael Young to come all the way back, but I also think it's reasonable to expect that he'll have an improved year in 2013.
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