When the Cleveland Indians intentionally walked Josh Hamiton on Thursday night to load the bases for Michael Young, the feeling in the stadium was one of excitement.
Walking the 3-hole hitter to get the clean-up hitter is never a great plan, and Young proved that once again when he sent a bases-clearing double to the wall as part of the Rangers big 5-run fifth inning.
The hit gave Young 101 RBIs on the season as an atypical clean-up hitter but one that gets the job done anyway.
Young leads the team in average (.334), hits (197), doubles (40), triples (6) and RBIs despite having just 11 home runs on the season, much of which has been spent in the clean-up role.
Now that Adrian Beltre is healthy, and tearing it up on a 19-game hitting streak, it would make sense to move him back to No. 4 in the order, but Young is making it incredibly hard for Ron Washington to do that.
Young's best three seasons came in 2004-06. In 2005, he won the AL batting title with a .331 average, and in 2006, he had a career-high 103 RBIs, which will obviously be eclipsed this season. The average is looking promising as well, which would give him career-highs in both categories in the same season.
If Young had a regular defensive position, he'd be a top-flight MVP candidate, but he doesn't and he isn't. He wlll get plenty of votes though and might have a respectable finish, but I don't think there's any question who the Rangers team MVP is this season.