Michael Young (TEX) – Young will be batting second on a revamped Texas line-up featuring a lot of youth, and some seasoned sluggers. Young is an anomaly, bouncing around the line-up and the infield in Austin, but he has put up impressive, yet unpredictable numbers over his tenure. Because of the constant change in his role on the team, some years he goes long 20+ times, others he is hovering around 15. Some years runs are around 115 and some years around 80. This year, with the potential for a lot of power hitting behind him (Davis, Cruz, Vlad) expect his numbers to be more reminiscent of the years where he was leading off. One of Young’s strong suits has been hitting for average, and with a speedster in Julio Bourbon in front of him, and HR potential behind him, we can expect his high average to continue.
Projections: R:92, HR:14, RBI: 78, SB:12, AVE:.325
Chone Figgins (SEA) – Figgins for the first time in his career will not be suiting up for the Angels, and moves to the hot corner of the Mariners. Like Young he is a player who has bounced around in position over the years, but unlike Young he has been entrenched at the leadoff position during his time in LA. In Seattle however, Ichiro is the incumbent leadoff batter, and neither Figgins nor anyone else is going to usurp that spot. Figgins will be batting second behind one of the leadoff hitters in baseball which can only help his average and on base percentage. Behind Figgins however there is not nearly as much pop as there is in Texas, so Seattle will likely try and play small ball so his stolen based numbers are not likely to decline.
Projections: R:89, HR:2, RBI: 65, SB:49, AVE:.320
The Debate: Michael Young and Chone Figgins are two similar players, playing 3B with average draft positions of 70 and 71 respectively. 3B is a shallow position, so if you miss out on the top tier players, this is a decision you will likely have to make. Figgins will provide stolen base numbers that Young cannot, but across the board Young is in a situation to outperform. Texas has too good of a line-up top to bottom, and the ballpark is too friendly to not give Michael Young the edge. Something can also be said for Figgins needing time to adjust to a new position in the line-up and a new set of teammates after playing with the remarkably low-turnover Angles for his entire career. I would have to give the edge to Figgins if he and Young traded teams, but this is not the case.
Winner: MICHAEL YOUNG