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Stats affirm why Young should win Final Vote

Stats affirm why Young should win Final Vote

ARLINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Michael Young has already had a memorable first half.

Not only has he helped lead the Rangers to the top of the American League West, he has also moved himself to the top in several notable all-time club hitting categories.

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On June 16, Young had two hits against the Marlins to pass Ivan Rodriguez for the most hits in Rangers history. He has also established all-time club records for most triples, multihit games and 10-game hitting streaks.

Next up is doubles. Young has 24 in the Rangers' first 81 games, leaving him 17 short of matching Rodriguez for the all-time club record.

This run at the Rangers' record books reestablishes why Young is considered one of the top hitters in the game and why he is a strong candidate to win the American League's Final Vote competition.

"He's extremely consistent," Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said last month. "He's a guy that can go up there and use the whole field, but he can hit for power as well. He hits balls in the gap, he runs every ball out. He never gives away an at-bat. He's an all-around kind of player that you want on your team."

Young is currently trailing for the final spot on the AL All-Star team after Monday's results were announced, with Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher leading the pack. The six-time All-Star is also competing with the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis, the Twins' Delmon Young and Paul Konerko of the White Sox.

Now in its ninth year, the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show and continues until 3 p.m. CT on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

Mobile voting in the U.S. is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 1122. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555. Standard rates may apply.

"He's been like that ever since I saw him here," Rays manager Joe Maddon said last month. "Michael Young is just disgustingly consistent. This guy, offensively, he's very similar to Derek Jeter when you break him down offensively: the way they hit, the fact that if it's a very hot moment, you don't want to see them at the plate.

"He went from second base, where he was very good, to shortstop, where he was very good, now he's at third base, where he's very good. So he's the ultimate team guy. Great offensive player, because of the way he works an at-bat, you just don't want to see him when it matters. And furthermore, I got to know him a little bit, and I think he's a wonderful young man. He's got it all going for him. He's really that good."

Young is trying to earn a seventh consecutive spot on the AL All-Star team. He was the Junior Circuit's starting third baseman last year, when Evan Longoria was a last-minute scratch because of an injury. Young was the Most Valuable Player in the 2006 All-Star Game, when he hit a game-winning two-run triple in the top of the ninth inning off Trevor Hoffman.

"If you look at Michael's numbers, they are phenomenal," club president Nolan Ryan said. "Five years with 200 hits ... it just shows the dependability of his bat, the longevity and the consistency. No matter what organization, the all-time hits leader is one of your star players who has spent a lot of time with the organization and contributed a lot, whether it was Craig Biggio in Houston or Michael Young in Texas."

Young's numbers this year are very good. The Rangers are exactly one-half of the way through the season, and he is hitting .307 with 55 runs scored, 104 hits, 24 doubles, 11 home runs and 51 RBIs. He has a .352 on-base percentage and a .487 slugging percentage.

Repeat those numbers over the second half, and Young will have another outstanding season to go on his resume. He is the only Rangers player to have been in the starting lineup for all 81 games.

His numbers, his consistency and his standing within the game suggest he belongs in Anaheim next week for a seventh straight All-Star appearance.

The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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