Michael Young entered the 2011 season as a 34 year old coming off of a disappointing 2010 season and playoffs. His .774 OPS in 2010 was the third worst of his nine full seasons and his .619 OPS in the 2010 postseason followed a pattern of decline that began in July and continued through August and September. Additionally, despite assurances from Ron Washington, the acquisitions of Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli created the possibility of diminished playing time in shared roles of DH and utility infielder.
The aggregate 2011 projections for Young reflect this with an average of 549.5 PA and an OPS of .782. The playing time concerns, either due to age or role, were especially acute given an average of 697.3 PAs in his last nine seasons and only a single year below 600 PA in an injury filled 2008.
And given of all these potential issues the most obvious thing happened, Michael Young had one of the best seasons of his career. His OPS of .854 was the third highest of his career and concerns over playing time proved false with a very healthy 689 PA. Even the most optimistic projections fell short of his fantastic 2011 season. Using the basic version of Bill James' Runs Created (RC), Young performed 47% better than the LSB Average projections for the second highest improvement among Texas Rangers position players.
Using a Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) approach [lower is better] the top and bottom individual projections have Athos at the top of the projections and Mark from OC at the bottom. Everyone's rankings can be found in this Google Spreadsheet and the top and bottom 5 shake out as:
| Top 5 ||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||OPS||RMSE|
| Bottom 5 ||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||OPS||RMSE|
|131. James Welch
|132. Mark from OC