Campaign Season

Pity Kevin Youkilis.

No, seriously. Although he’s loved by millions of Red Sox fans who have created their own chant for him, Youkilis is largely underappreciated across the rest of the game, known mostly as the answer to a trivia question (Moneyball’s Greek God of Walks).

When pundits discuss Youkilis, they note his gaudy OBP numbers and his ability to eat up pitchers, but they dismiss him as light on power, and even Baseball Prospectus sniffs that he was less valuable at his position offensively than Kevin Millar last season.

When discussing the Red Sox’ chances this season, many seemed to discuss Youkilis as having already attained his ceiling, despite the fact that 2006 was his first full season, one in which he battled minor injuries to help the team shoulder through more significant ones. Needless to say, we’re not surprised that Youk is again lighting up AL (and NL) pitchers.

Entering tonight’s game, Youkilis is raking with a .340/.429/.519 line, good for a 152 OPS+. If he keeps that up, he’ll hit 24 homers with 95 RBI — granted, more than even his most loyal supporters would project. His batting average is 41 points higher than the next-best first baseman, Texas’ Mark Teixiera, and his OBP is 22 points higher than Nick Swisher’s. Even his slugging, arguably Youkilis’ weak point, is fourth among AL first basemen, making his OPS of .948 a whopping 36 points better than any other AL first baseman.

Despite being clearly the best first baseman in the American League thus far, Kevin Youkilis has no chance to make the All-Star team as a starter, victimized for the second straight year by the game being held in a National League park. David Ortiz is the club’s selection at first. Youkilis can only be written in. To make it worse, one must vote either for a listed candidate or write in a candidate for that position — no double dipping.

It’s pretty terrible luck. In fact, the only worse thing I could imagine would be if he were playing for the Yankees (zing!).

I never thought I would say this, but I’m starting a campaign — don’t vote for David Ortiz. He doesn’t play first (YFs never fail to remind us of this), and he’s a lock to be selected as a reserve if he isn’t voted in by the fans. Vote for Youkilis. Even Yankee fans should be able to agree — he’s deserving (and who are you going to vote for, really? Doug Mientkewicz? Are you serious?), he’s likable, and that gotee is a monument to good old-fashioned testosterone.

I don’t doubt my campaign will fail. Youkilis is up against All-Star worthy candidates from the Sox at both positions he plays: first (Ortiz) and third (Mike Lowell). But it’s worth a shot. Write in Kevin Youkilis on your ballots.

23 comments… add one
  • I would prefer the whole team not win so every one of them can get 3 days rest.
    But yeah, sucks to be the Youk in this situation.

    LocklandSF May 21, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • I was with everyone on that goatee looking ridiculous early on in the season. Now that it’s filled out, though, it’s starting to grow on me (as well as him). More like a lumberjack’s beard, less like a “freshman in college guy trying to be cool”‘s beard.

    Devine May 21, 2007, 3:33 pm
  • “Despite being clearly the best first baseman in the American League thus far”
    I agree about that, but the goatee is another matter…

    Andrews May 21, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • The facial hair is awful. He seriously looks like he ate too many syrup-covered pancakes and then went bobbing for mink.

    SF May 21, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • “He seriously looks like he ate too many syrup-covered pancakes and then went bobbing for mink.”
    SF, I think you should get an award for this.
    Care to wax poetic about Matt Clement’s chin?

    Anonymous May 21, 2007, 3:41 pm
  • regarding whether Youkilis has been unappreciated on a national level. I would say that I’d disagree with Paul’s assessment here, but have no way of proving this except for anecdotally. It seems to me that the people in the MSM think he was a solid player last year–a nice role player on a strong team. The truth, however, was probably that he underhit for a first baseman last year because his power wasn’t there. This year has been a coming out party of sorts for Youkilis, as he has added more power to his game. He’d get my vote for first base definitely.

    Nick-YF May 21, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • Apparently, his significant other (I forget if he’s a girlfriend or fiancee) really likes it. No accounting for taste, I guess. It wouldn’t be so bad if he trimmed it to a staright even vertical line half an inch or so wide on either side of his mouth. Instead it’s some weird diagonal thing that makes no sense.
    This coming from someone who’s had at least four different versions of the gotee/beard/mustache since high school.

    Paul SF May 21, 2007, 3:46 pm
  • that anonymous post was me.

    Nick-YF May 21, 2007, 3:46 pm
  • I am incapable of growing a full beard or mustache. I didn’t start shaving until college, which I guess makes me less manly or something. I’ve inherited the German (as opposed to Eastern European) part of my ancestry in this regard. Anyway, because I am no longer student teaching and just taking classes, I have now gone a week without shaving and I’m starting to look like a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And I think that means I’m looking like a hipster. Goal reached!

    Nick-YF May 21, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • It seems to me that the people in the MSM think he was a solid player last year–a nice role player on a strong team.
    I think that’s accurate, Nick. I guess it was mainly that it was his first full season, and that he got surprisingly little credit for doing so well considering that fact. Projections for him this season continued to place him at his 2006 numbers, which seemed unfair, considering the likelihood for an upward trend based on experience/greater longevity/comfort, etc.

    Paul SF May 21, 2007, 3:55 pm
  • HAHA! S.O. goes with me. To each their own, I think it looks pretty good now.

    Devine May 21, 2007, 3:56 pm
  • Paul, I agree about the projections. Actually, I disagreed with a lot of Prospectus’s assessment of the Sox in this year’s annual, especially their take on Youk. I guess he was kind of old for a first year player, which factored into their projections. But he seems to be proving them wrong now.

    Nick-YF May 21, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • I am in total awe of Youk’s beard, myself. I think he could take the finish off of a car with that thing. Going into second head-first would be the same thing as sliding spikes-up, that beard is so fierce.

    Jeremiah May 21, 2007, 3:59 pm
  • Devine, I tend to agree with you on a lot of things but apparently the aesthetics of facial hair is where we part ways:)

    Nick-YF May 21, 2007, 3:59 pm
  • I’m a quarter Italian, Nick. Which means I got all the hair and loud/OCD behavior and none of the dark skin or good looks.

    Paul SF May 21, 2007, 4:06 pm
  • something i’ve noticed this year….every web gem has come off of youks bat. honest to god, he has been a highlight machine for other players. rough estimate of 8 hits he’s been robbed of this year.

    sf rod May 21, 2007, 4:25 pm
  • This was my prediction on Youk before the season started.
    Youkilis: .325 with 21 HR, 44 doubles and 107 runs
    and this is his Player card Projections
    Projected .340 with 24 HR, 41 doubles and 122 runs.

    TJ May 21, 2007, 4:39 pm
  • If he had those 8 hits his batting average woulda be .391

    TJ May 21, 2007, 4:41 pm
  • I think that Youk still suffers from being the “new kid” on the team, and thusly, isn’t as prone to getting the recognition that that longer tenured players would get for the same type of play. That said, it seems that with the tear he’s been on lately, the national press is slowly coming around to the fact that he’s s serious grinder. I don’t think he’ll get all-star notriety this year, but they way he’s tearing it up now, you can’t help but notice. And to think of the way my fantasy league looked at me when I took him in the 5th round!

    ToddSF May 21, 2007, 4:45 pm
  • also pay attention to kevins HBP rate. that front knee is taking alot of tailing in fastballs.
    as for the beard….he’s gotta a career in acting if OZ comes back and they need some jailhouse aryan nation stand ins.

    sf rod May 21, 2007, 5:02 pm
  • He’s got my 25 votes. If nothing else, it’s a nice show of support.

    pastorsteve May 21, 2007, 5:51 pm
  • I have him as a write in for 2nd base, let’s face it, it’s not going to be Dustin going to the game anyway. Once he’s there the MGR can put him in anywhere he wants

    OleElvis May 23, 2007, 10:49 am
  • He will get the second chance online vote.

    pokerfoos May 23, 2007, 1:14 pm

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