Many baseball fans remember former Boston Red Sox player Kevin Youkilis for his unique batting stance at the plate.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) July 22, 2020
One of the core players for the Red Sox from 2006-2011, Youkilis had some productive years.
He was also part of two World Series victories, in 2004 and 2007.
While he was known for his abnormal stance, he had a keen eye in the batter’s box.
Over the course of his 10-year career, Youkilis faced a 3-0 count 292 times but never swung once.
As a result, he walked all 292 times.
During his peak years with the team, his on-base percentage (OBP) hovered around .400, considered elite in the MLB.
He wasn’t just a walking threat either, as he developed himself into a true threat at the plate.
This resulted in three All-Star appearances and two top 10 MVP finishes.
From 2008-2010, he hit over .300 in three straight seasons and was one home run away from having 20-plus home runs in each of those years.
Kevin Youkilis Home Run Compilation! pic.twitter.com/BYF5marKsk
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) April 7, 2020
However, he had a quick and sharp drop off.
After an All-Star appearance in 2011, Youkilis was out of the league by 2013.
What caused the rapid fall for the former three-time All-Star?
Here is a look at the complete story of why he had such a short peak.
Injuries Derailed His Career
Starting in 2010, Youkilis began having his career hampered by injuries.
On August 2, a right thumb abductor tear cut his season short, limiting him to just 102 games.
Prior to the injury, his slash line was .307/.411.564, with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs.
He was likely on pace to have the best year of his career.
In 2011, he posted the lowest batting average of his career (.258) and fell out of favor with his teammates.
This resulted from a report that was released claiming that the Red Sox best pitchers spent their off days eating fried chicken and drinking beer.
His teammates believe that Youkilis was the source of this information.
All of this was amidst a major collapse that took the Red Sox out of playoff contention that season.
In 2012, manager Bobby Valentine expressed his concerns over Youkilis and started benching him.
The organization eventually decided to move him to the Chicago White Sox.
Next offseason, Youkilis signed a one-year contract to join the New York Yankees.
people forget kevin youkilis played for the yankees, but we all try to forget the 2013 yankees, to be honest pic.twitter.com/ZR32YPgqh2
— max (@MaxWildstein) April 4, 2020
However, a string of injuries that season including two back strains and a herniated disk ended his season in June.
In the following offseason, he wasn’t able to find a job in Major League Baseball and opted to sign a contract in Japan.
He only played in 21 games there as he suffered from plantar fasciitis.
Time Was Numbered For Youkilis
Beyond the injuries, Youkilis’ time in the majors was limited from the start of his career.
He was never in premier shape and was always seen as a little “chunky.”
When he was taken in the 2001 draft, he was regarded as the “fat third baseman who couldn’t field, hit, or throw.”
He found success when he started getting into better shape, with his best seasons coming as he improved physically.
Unfortunately, it became clear that his body just simply did not age well.
His swing also wasn’t necessarily friendly to an aging athlete
Regardless of this, Youkilis will go down as a fan favorite for Red Sox fans that grew up watching him.
He was a big part of those Red Sox teams, and he put together an impressive five to six-year peak in the MLB.