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More Michael Young And Milestones

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In light of yesterday's accomplishment, I felt like browsing what sort of chance MY has at hitting other Rangers milestones.


Young is currently fourth in games played for the franchise, behind Ivan Rodriguez, Jim Sundberg and Rafael Palmeiro. He's just 167 games behind Raffy, meaning, barring a career-ending injury or a trade, Michael Young will become the Rangers' all-time leader in games played sometime next season. Surpassing some other milestones will be a little tougher, but all those games played will help


I doubt anyone cares about at bats, but Young only needs 60 more of them to pass Palmeiro. So he'll have that in the next three weeks or so. As far as plate appearances, he's 483 behind Raffy. He'll probably get that early next season.


Young is fourth in career runs scored, 96 behind, again, Palmeiro. He's only 16 behind Gonzalez, so he'll get that probably some time after the All-Star break at his current pace. After that, so much depends on luck and the team around him, so there's no real accurate projection for when he'll pass Palmeiro, but he almost certainly will next season.


Young is also fourth in total bases, needing 473 to pass Gonzalez. If he keeps up the pace he has over the last few seasons, he can probably be expected to get that some time in early 2011. Even with a serious decline, that's another franchise record that will probably belong to him eventually.


Doubles is another one sure to fall soon, as Young places second with 332, just 20 behind Pudge. Over the last three seasons, he's been good for 36-37 every year. He's already got 21 this season, meaning a regression to his norm over recent history would still probably put him in first place. His updated ZiPS projection has him ending with 44, which would be the second highest total of his career and put him past Pudge sometime in the final weeks of the season. Obviously if he manages to keep this pace up, he'll do it much sooner than that.


I didn't know this, but when Young tripled off of Luke Hochevar in the sixth inning of a May 26 game in Kansas City, he tied Ruben Sierra for the all-time franchise lead in triples with 44. I also would not have guessed Sierra was the leader. In any case, I assume at some point this year, Young will break the tie and become the Rangers all-time leading triples hitter.


Youngs 144 home runs place him 11th all-time. He has no hope, really, of passing Gonzalez's 372, but he will move up on the list. He's on pace to repeat last season's 22 if he can get 160 games this season. If he could actually keep it up and reproduce last season's total, those 13 more home runs would vault him over a host of names: Larry Parish, Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, Dean Palmer and Alex Rodriguez. He has a reasonable chance to end the season sixth in franchise history. As for where he'll end up, it remains to be seen. His ZiPS update puts him at 16 to end the season, which would finish his year at 151 (10th place, one behind Blalock). If he does that, then Bill James's Favorite Toy projects him to average 16.5 a season over the next five years. If those came consistently, at the end of his contract, Young would be pass Sierra for the top five Rangers home run hitters ever with 201. As Sierra is only at 180, I would say that's at least where he ends up. If that production going forward is front-loaded (which is likely), passing Pudge for third fourth place is doable. And, who knows, if his 20-plus home run late career surge is real, he could even pass Frank Howard and make the top three.


Young is 140 strikeouts behind behind Gonzalez for the franchise record. He'll do that next year.


Finally, at some point in the last few days, Young surpassed Alex Rodriguez to reach the top 10 on the Rangers' all-time career wins above replacement list with 24.1, per Baseball Reference. This year, he's on pace for a career-high 5.1 over 695 PAs (yes, despite poor defense and a poor start, Michael Young might be in the midst of the best season of his career). While I doubt he keeps quite that up, if he just repeats last season's 3.7, he'll end the season at 25.9.

If he could continue to defy aging too much and merely put up ~3 wins each season for the remainder of his contract, he would move quite a bit up the list, surpassing Juan Gonzalez and Kenny Rogers next season, Frank Howard, Sundberg and Toby Harrah in 2012 and finally finishing in the neighborhood of Charlie Hough and Buddy Bell in the last season of his career. So if MY can just manage to be an above average player for the rest of this contract, the only players comfortably ahead of him in franchise history in wins above replacement would be Palmeiro and Pudge. Catching Pudge's 48.9 is pretty doubtful, but Bill James's Favorite Toy gives him a 17 percent chance of doing it in the next five seasons.

Sure, most of this comes from a franchise without a great history and is mostly based on having a long career of compiling. And yes, I've been very critical of Young in many instances in the past, as well as critical of how he's treated by many fans and members of the media. But this is still impressive and important for the history of the franchise we profess to be fans of. And it's extra impressive from a light hitting position player who was never expected to be any more than a utility infielder at best.


As another note on the franchise WAR list, three more active Rangers appear in the top 50 (position players): Ian Kinsler ranks 15th with 16.6, Josh Hamilton is tied today with Mark McLemore and Chuck Hinton at 26th with 8.7, and Nelson Cruz is 41st with 6.0. Cruz's per-game pace would have been, comfortably, the best season in terms of WAR in franchise history if he hadn't been injured. If he comes back healthy and doesn't lose too much from what he was doing, he could still challenge A-Rod's stranglehold of the top three seasons and, even with some regression, should at least challenge the top 10.

Marlon Byrd, by the way, put up 9.5 wins in his short time in Texas; nothing too impressive, but it's the most ever for a center fielder since the franchise moved to Texas. Oh, and Milton Bradley's one season in Texas was good enough for the 47th career total among position players.

Two active pitchers show up on the pitching list: Darren Oliver is 24th with 6.5 (tied with Doc Meredith) and Frank Francisco is 43rd with 3.9 (tied with Paul Lindblad).

Also, on an unrelated mile stone list, I just found out watching the Dodgers' game that Manny Ramirez is just two grand slams behind Lou Gehrig for the career record.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.