Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Meet a Prospect: Chris Young

Chris Young has burst onto the Yankees scene after starting the 2014 season with the New York Mets. The Mets designated the right handed center fielder for assignment only for the Yankees to pick him up, call him up in September, and get the most out of his bat. I usually say that you’re not a Yankee until we do one of these posts but since I am a little behind and Young has hit like 14 clutch and walk off hits and home runs since I think it’s safe to say he is fitting in quite well without the post. Even so let’s meet a prospect, the Chris Young edition.

Christopher Brandon Young was born on September 5, 1983 and spent his High School years attending the national powerhouse Bellaire High School. Young broke his arm during the playoffs in his senior year attempting to catch a fly ball hit by Elkins High School’s Chad Huffman. Huffman is currently an outfielder with the Cleveland Indians. Broken arm and all the Chicago White Sox selected Young in the 16th round of the 2001 MLB First Year Players Draft. By 2003 Young had become an Appalachian League All-Star outfielder and by 2005 Young had been named Baseball America;s 1st team Minor League All-Star outfielder and the Chicago White Sox Minor League Player of the Year. Young was on his way to bigger and better things but those things would not be with Chicago as he was traded after that breakout 2005 season to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Orlando Hernandez and Luis Vizcaino for Javier Vazquez and cash considerations.

Young would start his Diamondbacks minor league career in 2006 by becoming a Triple-A All Star and by being named to Baseball America’s 2nd team Minor League All-Star outfielder. A strong 2006 campaign allowed Young to make his major league debut on August 18, 2006 and in turn made him the Diamondbacks every day center fielder at the beginning of the 2007 season. In that 2007 rookie campaign Young set a Diamondbacks rookie record when he hit his 23rd home run of the season and also became just the eight rookie to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season. Young finished with 27 stolen bases that year which led all NL rookie and hit 32 home runs which was second behind only Ryan Braun. Young finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 losing to the aforementioned Braun but did get selected to the 2007 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team. Young followed up his rookie campaign with a strong 2008 season in which he started 157 games in center field finishing with a .248 average, 22 home runs, 14 stolen bases, 85 RBI and 85 runs scored. The 2009 season was a setback for Young as he hit .212, the lowest of all qualified National League batters, and was demoted back to Triple-A on August 10. Young was on the downward slope.

Young recovered a bit in 2010 and made the NL All-Star team for the first time in his career, albeit as a reserve, and also participated in the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby. Young only finished with one home run and was eliminated in the first round. Young finished his career with the Diamondbacks playing out until after the 2012 season when he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Cliff Pennington and Yordy Cabrera. Young was less than stellar under Billy Beane’s watchful eye and had an overall uneventful couple of seasons with Oakland before hitting free agency before the 2014 season. Young would sign a one year deal with the New York Mets worth $7.25 million.

Young’s disappointing tenure with the Mets ended on August 8th as he was designated for assignment and subsequently released on August 15th of this year. Less than two weeks later on August 27 the Yankees swooped Young up on a minor league deal and called him up on September 2 when the rosters expanded. Nine days later on September 11 Young broke up the Rays Alex Cobb’s no hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning with a double and hit a game winning three run home run to walk off against the Rays in the very next inning. The very next day Young hit his third home run in three days breaking a 0-0 tie in the 11th inning with the Baltimore Orioles before the bullpen blew the lead and the game. Young also played some stellar defense in left field the next day on September 12th and even stole home on a double steal cementing one good week with his new club. Now Young will forever be remembered for these moments because they have been put in (virtual) ink right here on the blog. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)