Key Statistics: Chris B. Young was finally able to put together a season scouts had always predicted from him – big power and lots of speed. But he had an even better year than his statistics showed. Take a look:
156 G, 94 runs, 156 hits, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 27 SB, .257 BA, .793 OPS
This is a great fantasy line, but it defies logic for a few reasons – in a good way. Young’s spot in the lineup was shifting all season, probably due to the coaching changes. Young was still able to score 94 runs despite having only 173 plate appearances batting leadoff. He appeared 108 times in the 4 hole, 81 times batting 5th, 134 times batting 6th and 83 times batting 7th. Young also hit .284 and .275 in the 6 and 7 spot, respectively, managing 91 RBI. This is even more amazing when you consider the D-Backs, despite being ranked 15th in MLB in OBP, struck out 200 more times than the next closest team. The point of all of this is that if he had been on a team that had been halfway decent and he had been plugged in to a certain role for the entire season, his numbers could be even better. Considering that if all goes right, Young has the potential to be a 100 R/30 HR/100 RBI/30 SB guy, he could be a steal at this point in the draft.
Skeptics Say: The knock on Chris B. Young’s game has always been his low batting average and propensity for strikeouts. I’ve been watching Young since he first came in the league and I can’t count the number of times he’s struck out in the clutch against the Dodgers.
Last season Young hit a career high .257. Yes, of his four seasons, that was the best he’s done. In the past 4 seasons Young has struck out 141, 165, 133 and 145 times, and managed OBP of .295, .315, .311 and .341. His 2010 OBP was higher than his earlier seasons because he walked a surprisingly high 74 times, up from 59 and 62 the two seasons before that. But overall, Young hasn’t been trending upwards the past few seasons, staying relatively the same or even regressing. I might be playing it safe, but I’m guessing that last season was the outlier.
Peer Comparison: Young, athletic, full of power + speed potential; this fits B.J. Upton to a T. Justin’s older brother has had very similar seasons to Chris B. Young.
2010: 154 G, 89 R, 127 H, 18 HR, 62 RBI, 42 SB, .237 BA, .745 OPS
B.J. also split time between hitting 1st (166 PA) and 6th (219 PA) and had a similar walk rate. If I’m choosing between the two, I’d have to go with Bossman Junior over Chris Young. They both have power potential (Upton hitting as many as 24 homers and slugging .508 in 2007) and can be run producers depending on the lineups around them, so let’s call that a wash. But Upton has had stolen at least 42 bags and scored at least 79 runs over the past 3 seasons. Young obviously had the better season last year, but in terms of consistency I’ll take the guy who, despite being a disappointment, will give me at least those numbers year-in and year-out.
Lineup Outlook: New GM Kevin Towers said he wanted to cut down on strikeouts and shipped out reigning K-king Mark Reynolds, as well as Adam LaRoche. But even after that, I can safely say that there are no reliably consistent hitters in the desert right now. Age is actually the biggest problem here – either the players are getting older or are young and inconsistent. Between Justin Upton, Kelly Johnson, Brandon Allen, Melvin Mora, Stephen Drew, Xavier Nady and Miguel Montero, it is really difficult to predict what that offense will look like. If everything goes to plan (which it never does), they have a potent lineup with 30 homer threats like Upton, Allen, Young and Johnson. At their worst, they are a 90 to 100-loss team. I’d settle closer to the former. Even if Young is getting on base at a better rate than years past, I’m not expecting that lineup to bring him home very often.
What They’re Saying: Yahoo: #23 Outfielder & #87 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #20 Outfielder; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #85 Overall; John Halpin of Fox Sports: #41 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #147 Overall; RotoChamp: #166 Overall
Projection: Looking at the D-backs roster right now, Kirk Gibson will probably put his biggest stolen-base threat in the leadoff spot. Young will remain a decent option in OF because of his SB numbers and speculative power behind him. I would love him to become that 100 R/30 HR/100 RBI/30 SB guy, but I’m thinking his plate discipline will take a tumble this year.
87 R, 18 HR, 81 RBI, 25 SB, .246 BA
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