Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
I was wrong, I admit it. When I first heard that 32-year-old Michael Young would be moved to third base to make room for 20-year-old shortstop Elvis Andrus, I thought it would hurt his fantasy value. In fact, I predicted that he would be no better than the 11th or 12th-best third baseman.
But Young has rebounded from a mediocre 2008 (.284, 12 HR, 82 RBI, .741 OPS), to become what he was at shortstop from 2003-2006, a top-five performer.
The Texas Rangers third baseman is batting .324 with 59 runs scored, 17 HR, 48 RBI, seven steals and an OPS of .910. Young has been on a power surge of late, hitting seven homers since July 10th. That was the one area in which I thought he would fall short when compared to other third baseman.
He is batting a stunning .413 over the past three weeks with an OPS of 1.226.
The across-the-board filling of his stats page has him No.5 on my list of third basemen, behind Mark Reynolds, Ryan Zimmerman, Chone Figgins and David Wright and ahead of names like Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez and Chipper Jones.
Young has produced at this high level despite the lack of expected protection from Josh Hamilton, who because of injury and a swing change has disappointed both Rangers fans and fantasy owners (.226, 7 HR, 29 RBI), but that's a story for another day.
Young has always been a consistent hitter from April to October, so there is no reason to expect a change over the next two months. Enjoy the ride.