Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How Good Is Kevin Youkilis?

Sometimes as a fan you have a player in your midst who you simply don't appreciate. Ergo, I ask the question "how good is Kevin Youkilis?"

Despite the Greek god of walks moniker, Youkilis isn't primarily a 'bases on balls' machine, although he does lead the AL in walks. Here are some statistics that might give you pause and some general comments:

  • I'll argue that Youkilis is the Sox best player and one of the top five in the AL. Why?
  • Youkilis has won a Gold Glove, although his fielding isn't his best attribute.
  • He has finished in the top 6 in AL MVP BOTH of the past two seasons.
  • He has been in the top 8 in the AL in "Wins Above Replacement" each of the past three years.
  • Among active players he is eleventh in on base percentage.
  • He has been in the top five in SLUGGING percentage in the AL each of the past three years.
  • He has been in the top four in On Base Slugging percentage (OPS) in each of the past three years.
  • He currently is third in the AL in OPS.
  • He leads the AL in runs scored.
  • In summary, as well as providing above average defense at first, he is among the top five RUN PRODUCERS in the AL. He gets on base, scores, has a high slugging percentage, and is recognized by TPTB as among the elite by virtue of AL MVP results and all-star selections. 
He might be the most underrated player in baseball, as I'd guess that most fans wouldn't view him among the most elite hitters (if asked to name the top five in the AL) around, but he clearly is. In "Moneyball" Billy Beane asked, "if he's such a great hitter, then why doesn't he hit better?" Youkilis does deliver and deserves more credit for what he does game after game, while not giving away at bats. I rest my case. 

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