Is Michael Young finished?

Track record of similar players shows there is hope for a rebound

Originally Published: December 6, 2012
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs
 Michael YoungMichael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty ImagesCan Michael Young continue to be a productive player going forward?

[Editor's note: This article was updated following Michael Young's trade to the Phillies.]

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Michael Young from the Texas Rangers to fill their hole at third base, a move the Rangers were willing to make both because of their surplus of talent around the infield, and because Young was the least productive player in baseball in 2012, posting a minus-1.4 WAR in 651 plate appearances.

Of course, his one down year came after a nine-year stretch as one of the game's most consistent players, as he put up a WAR of between plus-2.5 and plus-4.5 each season from 2003 to 2011. The Phillies seem to be betting on Young's track record of success, understanding that one bad season doesn't mean a player is necessarily finished. In fact, the recent track record of players who had similarly lousy seasons to Young in their mid-30s shows that there's some real chance for a rebound in 2013.

From 2002 to 2011, 24 Major League players got at least 400 plate appearances and posted a negative WAR in a season in which they were between 34 and 36 years old. Seven of those 24 -- 29 percent -- actually rebounded to be above-average players in the following season.