Letís head to Arizona for the next stop on our Rotten Rookies tour. Todayís topic: Chris Young.
THE DAMAGES: Young hasnít done much so far. Heís hitting just .200, hasnít gotten on base very often (.264 OBP) and isnít hitting for power (.338 SLG).
CAN HE IMPROVE SOON? Yes. I feel quite good about Mr. Young.
Why? Many reasons:
-- Youngís plate discipline hasnít been stellar, but itís been OK. Right now he has a 9/5 K/BB in 65 at-bats. Thatís not too bad, especially compared to the other rookies weíve profiled this week. I would like to see a couple more walks, but the strikeouts are fine. Young is making acceptable contact. The lack of Kís also shows Young hasnít been overmatched. Pitchers arenít having their way with him.
-- Young isnít hitting for much power, but heís bashing a ton of fly balls (0.73 G/F) and plays in a splendid hitterís park. The skill is there, and the environment is terrific. Expect more dingers very, very soon.
-- Experience is no problem. Young received 466 at-bats in Double-A two years ago, then got 402 at-bats in Triple-A last year. Thatís great to see. One problem with some of the other rookies (i.e. Alex Gordon and Troy Tulowitzki) is that they were rushed; they made the jump to the bigs from Double-A, and they might not be ready. Young was able to get the seasoning he needs, and I expect that experience to pay dividends soon.
-- Young battled a groin injury a couple of weeks ago. I donít know how much that ailment has hurt his production, but it certainly hasnít helped. Heís feeling better now, though, so expect his swing to improve.
-- His job is secure. Young doesnít have to look over his shoulder. Heíll be given the chance to improve.
WHAT DOES THE LONG-TERM FUTURE HOLD? While I like Young in the short-term, I really like him long-term. Last year at Triple-A, he flashed plenty of power (21 homers) and speed (17 steals), and he did it while maintaining a strong batting eye (71/52 K/BB). Itís all there.
Benching Young while heís slumping is obviously wise, but do not give up on him. Thereís a lot to like here, and he should be able to get going soon.
Tomorrow, weíll wrap up our rookie series with a look at Chris Iannetta.