In 2012, Michael Young made 651 plate appearances for the Rangers, hitting 277/312/370 in what was the worst offensive season of his career. You can make the case his 2002 season, in which he hit 262/308/382 was worse, but I’ll take 2012.
Between his ugly 2002 and his ugly 2012 seasons, Young got 6,332 plate appearances in which he hit 311/358/461. He came into 2012 having hit 313/361/476 over his last three seasons.
So what went wrong for Young in 2012?
Whatever it was, it probably didn’t have a lot to do with hitting against left-handed pitching. The righty Young posted a 333/371/423 line against lefties in 2012. His career line against left-handers is 314/365/471. His isolated power against left-handed pitching was .090 in 2012. Coming into the 2012 season, he was hitting .312 against lefties with a .476 slugging percentage. That’s an isolated power of .164.
So, relative to his career numbers, in 2012 he hit for a better average against lefties, but with less power.
In terms of problems, though, the slight drop in power against lefties is nothing compared to what the right-handed Young hit against right-handed pitching in 2012. Young hit 257/291/352 against righties last year. He put up a wOBA against right-handed pitching of .280. Among the 223 players across both leagues that had at least 250 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, the .280 mark was 199th. Shane Victorino, unbearably awful against righties in 2012, was 201st with a .279 wOBA against righties.
So Young was terrible against righties in 2012. That hasn’t been the case over his career, though, or even in his recent history. Here are some of his numbers against right-handed pitching over the past eight seasons:
|Year||wOBA||% H||% BB||ISO|
In 2012, Young posted his lowest wOBA against righties for the last eight years, got hits in the fewest percentage of plate appearances against righties in the last eight years, walked in the fewest percentage of plate appearances against righties in the last eight years and hit for the lowest isolated power against righties in the last eight years.
Notably, Young was good against righties as recently as 2011. Given he’s going to get a whole lot of chances to hit right-handed pitching for the Phillies in 2013, let’s hope 2012 was a one-year funk.