Was Nate McLouth The Better Choice?

An article by posted on November 26, 2013

The New York Mets might get lucky with Chris Young the same way they did with Marlon Byrd last season. It could happen. However, are you betting on it?

I am not buying for a second they’ll make a play for Nelson Cruz, but there are others I would have liked to see them get over Young.

McLouthWe know that Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury were also out of their price range, and supposedly they liked Corey Hart. But how about Nate McLouth?

McLouth, 32, hit .258 with a .329 on-base percentage – both superior to Young – and drew 53 walks in 593 plate appearances. He also homered 12 times, equal to Young’s production, but the difference is more stark when you throw in his 31 to 18 edge in doubles. And, he did it for $2 million. Plus, he stole 30 bases, plays good defense and always hustles.

You can’t convince me for a second Young was a better choice. They got Young, who is two years younger, for $7.25 million. Don’t you think they could have gotten McLouth for two years at $8 million?

There aren’t a lot of great choices out there, but Young was a bad one. They gave a lot of money for somebody they hope will rebound from a season that ranked 49 out of 50 among American League outfielders with 300 or more plate appearances last season.

Sandy Alderson says he values on-base percentage, and clearly he had a better option in McLouth. Too bad he didn’t make a harder run at him.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Defensively, McLouth posted a 4.0 UZR and 5.5 UZR/150 trumping Young who finished last season with a 0.2 UZR and 0.3 UZR/150.

According to John Dewan’s Defensive Runs Saved, Young cost the A’s six runs with a -6 DRS. It appears that Young’s bad season wasn’t limited to just the plate.

Offensively. it’s not even close no matter how you look at it and it goes far beyond the vast differences in their slash lines and OPS (.729 vs .659). However, what really jumps out at you between the two are the strikeouts.

McLouth had 86 K’s in 531 AB for a 14.5 K% compared to Young 93 K’s in 335 AB for a 24.8 K% last season. Both players performed very closely to their career norms, so there’s no blips on the radar screen here.

Young’s platoon splits against rightys is something to be concerned about.

It’s clear that the Mets paid Young $7.25 million to play everyday. Even if you were to ignore his 2013 season, Young is still batting .225 with a .295 on-base in 2,895 PA against righthanded pitching in his career. That’s a huge problem.

McLouth is seeking a two-year deal and has a few teams interested in him including the Yankees. It will be interesting to see how much he signs for. We can reprise this discussion again after that happens. In the meantime you may recall seeing this highlight last August.

About the Author ()

I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 25 years, including 15 in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that. Today I am a freelance writer and social director for several media outlets and a Senior Editor for MetsmerizedOnline.com.

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