Manuel thinks extra-base hits will come for Young

Manuel thinks extra-base hits will come for Young
May 4, 2013, 5:45 pm
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When the Phillies acquired Michael Young, they knew they weren’t getting a home run hitter. That wasn’t his role on very good Rangers lineups over 13 seasons. From 2004-11 – a period that can loosely be identified as his prime – Young averaged 17 homers per season in 155 games.

His power was gap to gap. Young averaged 39 doubles during that eight-year span, ranging from 33 to 52 per season. Through 114 plate appearances this year, he has only three, putting him on pace for fewer than 20. Charlie Manuel sees it, but he isn’t necessarily worried one-fifth of the way through the season.

“He’s hit some balls hard. Line drives in the outfield and they’ve caught some of them,” Manuel said of Young, who gets the night off Saturday against Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez.

“He’s hit balls in the gap. It’s just a matter of him getting the balls up in the air. That’ll come. He’s been hitting the ball pretty hard, all the singles he’s got.”

Just 16.7 percent of Young’s balls in play this season have been flyballs. That is the third-lowest rate in all of baseball, to teammate Ben Revere (11.7 percent) and the Padres’ Everth Cabrera (14.1 percent). That is about half of Young’s career rate, and it figures to regress to the mean as the season wears on.

What we’ve seen from Young early on are a lot of singles and a lot of double plays. He had two more GIDPs on Friday and leads the majors with nine. He hit into 26 double plays last year, so it’s nothing new. It’s the result of a lot of contact and a little bad luck.

But even with all the double plays and the 2 for 17 slump, Young is still hitting .320 on the season and giving the Phillies more than most expected. He hasn’t been a liability at third base. His range has been an issue less than a handful of times, and his UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is as close to average as it gets, at minus-0.2. Last season it was minus-5.6.

He’s also taking walks, which has been a pleasant surprise. His walk rate is three percent higher this season than where it's been in his career.

“He’s hit good,” Manuel said. “It’s just a matter of being a little more patient. [The power] will come.”

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