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Merely Mortal
JOE SHEEHAN
July 02, 2012
Does the Greek God of Walks have anything left?
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July 02, 2012

Merely Mortal

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Does the Greek God of Walks have anything left?

Kevin Youkilis was a part of two world championships in Boston, but questions about his decline were in play even before a back injury put him on the DL for three weeks and created an opening for rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks (.326/.365/.583). Youkilis, a middle-of-the-order threat two years ago, is hitting .233/.315/.377 and has had back problems, which have sapped his power, for two seasons; his slugging percentage has dipped from .564 in 2010 to .377 this year, and he's stopped getting the ball in the air. (His flyball rate is 60% of what it was two years ago.) Most worrying, his plate discipline—so famously chronicled in Moneyball—has disappeared (39 strikeouts against just 14 walks in 165 PAs this year). The White Sox were desperate enough for offense at the hot corner that they were willing to ship two warm bodies to the Red Sox on Sunday (and pick up all but $2 million of the $7.5 million still owed the veteran), but it's no longer clear that Youkilis can provide enough pop to be worth more than two wins over a replacement player for a full season.

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