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December 07, 2011

Update: Can Michael Young Reach 3,000 Hits?

In March 2010, I analyzed the probability of Michael Young reaching 3,000 hits. At the time, Young had 1,662 hits entering his Age 33 season. I compared Young's career to the members of the 3,000 Hit Club as well as other 32-year-olds with careers similar to Young at that point. My conclusions:

  • Everyone reaching 3,000 except Wade Boggs had a significant head start on Young, who didn't collect his first hit until turning 24 or have a great offensive season until 26. The average 3,000 Club member already had 462 hits entering his Age 24 season.

  • The average 3,000 Club member had only 1,267 hits after turning 33. Young needed 1,338, more than what 19 of the 27 members achieved. Young would have to "outhealth" and outhit some of history's best to reach 3,000.

  • The 25 hitters with careers most similar to Young through their Age 32 seasons averaged only 706 hits from Age 33 onward, and only two (Molitor, Biggio) had as many hits as Young needed for 3,000. 12 of the 25 were done as everyday players after Age 35.

  • Bill James’s “Favorite Toy” tool gave Young an 18% chance of reaching 3,000. I felt that was optimistic.

Here's how Young compares to the 3,000 hit list, which now includes Derek Jeter:

Player (age)
Career
Hits
Debut Age
Hits thru Age 23 Season
Hits thru Age 34 Season
Hits after Age 34 Season
Age of Last Season as Qualifier
Age of Last Season
Michael Young 2,061 24 0 2061 ? ? ?
Pete Rose 4,256 22 309
2,547
1,709
42 45
Ty Cobb 4,189 18 959
3,052
1,137
40 41
Hank Aaron 3,771 20 718
2,792
979
41 42
Stan Musial 3,630 20 584
2,597
1,033
41 42
Tris Speaker 3,514 19 547
2,576
938
39 40
Honus Wagner 3,420 23 81
2,132
1,288
42 43
Carl Yastrzemski 3,419 21 529
2,267
1,152
42 43
Paul Molitor 3,319 21 467
2,086
1,233
41 41
Eddie Collins 3,315 19 487
2,382
933
38 43
Willie Mays 3,283 20 352
2,381
902
40 42
Eddie Murray 3,255 21 526
2,352
903
40 41
Nap Lajoie 3,242 21 451
2,229
1,013
40 41
Cal Ripken 3,184 20 569
2,371
813
40 40
George Brett 3,154 20 544
2,219
935
40 40
Paul Waner 3,152 23 180
2,473
679
36 42
Robin Yount 3,142 18 871
2,747
395
37 37
Tony Gwynn 3,141 22 149
2,204
937
38 41
Dave Winfield 3,110 21 307
2,083
1,027
41 43
Derek Jeter 3,080 21 385
2,535
545
? ?
Craig Biggio 3,060 22 140
1,969
1,091
41 41
Rickey Henderson 3,055 20 553
2,139
916
39 44
Rod Carew 3,053 21 428
2,394
659
39 39
Lou Brock 3,023 22 115
2,194
829
38 40
Rafael Palmeiro 3,020 21 257
2,158
862
39 40
Wade Boggs 3,010 24
0
2,098
912
38 41
Al Kaline 3,007 18 880
2,446
561
39 39
Rbto. Clemente 3,000 20 554
2,559
441
37 37
Average
-
20.7
442
2,370
919
39.5
41.1
Median
-
21
467
2,371
933
40
41

Where does Young stand compared to the end of 2009?

  • Young had 399 hits in his Age 33-34 seasons, the eighth most in MLB history and third compared to members of the 3,000 Club, behind Waner (437) and Collins (401). The average member had 335 hits.

  • Young has surpassed one member of the Club, Craig Biggio, who missed the last two months of his Age 34 season with a knee injury and totaled only 285 hits in his Age 33-34 seasons. He still trails the others.

  • Young needs 939 hits to reach 3,000. Ten members of the 3,000 Club had at least that many from Age 35 onward, and another four (Speaker, Gwynn, Brett, Collins) were within a handful that figure. Roughly speaking, Young will reach 3,000 if he emulates the "average" member of the 3,000 Hit Club for the rest of his career. Far easier said than done, of course, but two years ago he was climbing an even steeper hill. Young needed to make up ground and has.

What of Young's immediate peers, hitters with similar attributes through the age of 34? As before, I compiled a list picking hitters closest in starting age of career, hits per game, and batting average, BABIP, walk rate, and isolated power, all of which eliminate batters with hitting profiles extremely dissimilar from Young.

Player
Hits thru Age 34 season
Hits / Game
Debut Age
Batting Average
Career Hits
Hits after Age 34 season
Age of Last Season
Age of Last "Good" Season
Age of Last Season as Qualifier
Michael Young
2,061
1.24
24
.304
?
?
?
?
?
Kirby Puckett
2,135
1.30
24
.318
2,304
169
35
35
35
Mark Grace
1,875
1.17
24
.310
2,445
570
39
37
37
Bobby Veach
1,765
1.18
24
.310
2,063
298
37
36
36
Wade Boggs
2,098
1.29
24
.338
3,010
912
41
39
38
Paul Molitor
2,086
1.23
21
.302
3,319
1,233
41
40
41
Lou Brock
2,194
1.19
22
.293
3,023
829
40
38
40
Garret Anderson
2,081
1.18
22
.297
2,501
420
37
32
37
Wally Moses
1,756
1.19
24
.300
2,138
382
40
38
34
Jim Bottomley
2,022
1.20
22
.315
2,313
291
37
32
36
Kenny Lofton
1,642
1.20
24
.302
2,428
786
40
40
40
Willie McGee
1,832
1.15
23
.298
2,254
422
40
38
34
Ken Boyer
1,855
1.11
24
.293
2,143
288
38
37
35
Bernie Williams
1,950
1.18
22
.305
2,336
386
37
33
36
Magglio Ordonez
1,830
1.19
23
.312
2,156
326
37
36
35
Julio Franco
1,784
1.15
23
.300
2,586
802
48
46
38
Zack Wheat
2,121
1.16
21
.307
2,884
763
39
39
37
Will Clark
1,964
1.11
22
.302
2,176
212
36
36
36
Doc Cramer
1,757
1.29
23
.305
2,705
948
42
29
39
Dave Parker
1,850
1.14
22
.304
2,712
862
40
39
40
Bill Terry
1,706
1.27
24
.341
2,193
487
37
37
36
Del Pratt
1,774
1.10
24
.291
1,996
222
36
35
36
Al Oliver
2,158
1.18
21
.303
2,743
585
38
37
36
Tony Gwynn
2,204
1.30
22
.333
3,141
937
41
41
38
Tony Oliva
1,637
1.21
23
.311
1,917
280
37
36
36
Bill Madlock
1,800
1.13
22
.309
2,008
208
36
36
34
Average
1,915
1.19
22.8
.308
2,460
545
39
37
37
Median
1,855
1.18
23
.305
2,336
422
38
37
36

Players in orange reached 3,000 hits. Numbers in orange are players who reached as many hits as Young needs for 3,000 after Age 34.

For the most part, this list is still testament to the ravages of age.

  • The average peer was done as a regular and a capable hitter after three more years. Moses, McGee and Madlock didn't even qualify for the batting title again. I thought about deleting them from the comparison, but I couldn't find anything that in their Age 34 seasons that foretold the end of the road. All hit capably at that age. Nothing is guaranteed for Young, not even one more healthy season.

  • Only two of the 25 surpassed the 939 hits Young needs for 3,000: Paul Molitor and Doc Cramer. Young needs more hits than Tony Gwynn (937) and Wade Boggs (912), both the very definition of professional hitters who aged gracefully.

  • The 2009 version of this table had Molitor, Brock and Biggio among 3,000 hitters. This year's model loses Biggio but acquires Boggs and Gwynn.

  • Notwithstanding park and era factors, Young and Puckett have had eerily similar careers, statistically. Puckett seemed well on his way to 3,000 before eye trouble abruptly ended his career after just one more season. More on him in another post.

So, I'd say Young has increased his chance of reaching 3,000 but is still a longshot. He needs about 187 hits for five straight seasons (through Age 39), or 156 for six.


Spacemen 3, "Take Me To The Other Side," from The Perfect Prescription, 1987.

Posted by Lucas at 06:40 PM