Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kevin Youkilis is a monster

About a year ago, Casey Kotchman hit .296/.372/.467 as a 24 year old. Kevin Youkilis hit .288/.390/.453 as a 28 year old. Both are excellent defenders at first base. Their value is similar, but Kotchman was 4 years older younger, so I was quite happy having him, and certainly would not have done a straight up trade.

What a difference a year makes. Youkilis had a career year, and Kotchman slipped a little in Anaheim, and after being traded for Mark Teixiera he played like crap in Atlanta. Now, I read rumors that the same Mark Teixiera could be headed to the Red Sox. This would push Youkilis to third. How does that affect his value?

bUZR, from Fangraphs, has him around +12 in 154 career games at third. Watching him in the playoffs after Lowell's injury, I don't remember him missing any play. He's a hell of a third baseman, and his defensive talents are wasted at 1st.

So I wonder what he's worth, 2 years away from free agency, at a more premium position. His offensive projection is +21 runs per 625 PA, at third base he gains 2.5 runs for a position bonus. While I use 20 runs as the gap between an average and replacement level player, all of these numbers have to be adjusted for expected playing time, which includes the possibility of missing time to injury. My projection site has a player evaluation tool that accounts for all of this, but with one missing ingredient: defense. That UZR mentioned above needs to be regressed. For valuation purposes I'll look at the row that describes him as a good, but not excellent defender, about +7 runs.

Youk will be the 6th player and first non-Angel to have a full player page posted. The chart shows that a good defensive 3rd baseman who hits like he does is worth 18.9 million per season.

Since he's arbitration eligible for 2 more years, that salary should be reduced to 60% and 80% respectively. If the team wants to sign him to a 6 year deal, he should ask for 11.3 the first year, 15.1 his second, and his free agent value after that. That's a total of 6 years, 100 million. If the team doesn't want to pay so much, he should simply wait two years and then get a contract for his full free agent value.

39 Comments:

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Darren said...

No, this is crazy talk. He's got old player skills and a bad body. No body quickness at all! He'll be lucky to still be in Majors in 2 years. He should sign for 3/15 and a Wakefield-esque team option, if the Red Sox are even willing to that high.

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Darren,
Can you please pass me some of that shit you are smoking? Youk is more valuable than 29 year old Big Tex who is about to make $20+ MM per season for 7+ years.

 
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