During the 2012 season the Phillies position players were the oldest in the National League with an average age of 31.1. One of the main off-season goals for the Phillies was to get younger and it looked like they were going to do so after trading for 24 year old Ben Revere. Then perhaps Ruben Amaro Jr. got a little confused and mistook the need to get young for the need to get Young, and the Phillies traded for 36 year old Michael Young.
Michael Young isn’t a bad player having hit .301/.347/.444 for his career, but he is on the downward slope of his career and the Phillies are asking him to play a position in third base that he last played full time in 2010, and when he did had a -5.4 UZR. In a small sample size of 25 games at the position in 2012 Michael Young managed to nearly equal that UZR with -4.8 and had a UZR/150 of -30.3. If Michael Young can somewhat get back to numbers close to his career average then he will help a Phillies team that got a .672 OPS from third base in 2012. There is doubt as to if Young can be that type of offensive player anymore and even more doubt as to if he can even play the position the Phillies will be asking him to play.
Ruben Amaro Jr. wasn’t done in his quest to get young though and felt the Phillies needed to upgrade the power in the outfield, but instead of trying to trade for a young powerful hitter like Giancarlo Stanton or Justin Upton the Phillies signed Delmon Young. To his credit Delmon Young is only 27 but with every passing year he gets closer and closer to the body type of Dmitri Young and looks less and less like the promising five tool outfielder that debuted with the Rays in 2006.
The Phillies are once again asking a player with the last name of Young to play a position they are no longer familiar with as the wish Delmon Young to play right field. The last time Delmon Young played right field was in 2007 when he wasn’t bad with a 3.4 UZR, but he hasn’t played the position since and in 2012 only played 31 games in the field overall. The Phillies are hoping that the smaller outfield in Citizens Bank Park will hide some of Delmon Young’s defensive weaknesses.
The other hope for the Phillies is that moving from an extreme pitchers park in Detroit to the much smaller Citizens Bank Park will help to spark some of Delmon’s power. The problem is that Delmon Young has never been a particularly powerful hitter topping out at 21 homers in 2010 and his career .415 SLG is below the MLB average of .434 for a right fielder.
The Phillies may have gotten two players named Young, but they did not get any younger. Instead what they did get are two players that could be so bad defensively that they are unable to even play the field and have below average power for their positions. None of this is all that relevant as the Phillies will go as far as Utley, Howard, Halladay, Hamels, and Lee take them. It didn’t matter last year that the Phillies had Hunter Pence in right and Shane Victorino in center.
With Howard and Utley not in the line-up and Halladay under performing the Phillies were not very good, but once Howard and Utley were back the Phillies were a .591 team. While both the Youngs are more likely to have a negative effect on the 2013 Phillies than a positive one it isn’t going to matter all that much as long as Howard and Utley stay healthy and Halladay, Hamels, and Lee perform to their par.