Chris Young

Where do you have Chris Young in your SP ranks? That is the Million Dollar Question. This used to be someone I really liked going into drafts the past 4 years. Petco was hiding his extreme fly ball tendencies, his WHIP was great, the ERA was good and the K/9 was above average…. and then Albert Pujols dam near decapitated him.

Chris Young is a name being thrown around the fantasy community as a “late rd flier” or sleeper or under the radar bla bla bla. Same old “worth a late rd pick” cop out advice that is used to describe a hard to predict pitcher. However, I just want to be the first to warn people against using a Late Round pick on hopeless individuals like Chris Young (or even Brad Penny). Why is Chris Young a hopeless cause? Hmmmm, where do I start? He is a radical pitcher, a very interesting case.

Let’s start with his history of injuries. Chris Young has never reached 180 Innings during his five full seasons in the bigs. We’re talking about arm fatigue, a fractured hand, stress reaction in his foot, upper back, oblique, forearm and groin strains, wrist soreness, elbow stiffness, elbow tightness and most recently, shoulder surgery. He is purveyor and collector of injuries, a connoisseur if you will. [Injury Tracker]

recent injury news via [Fanball] 2-19-10

Chris Young (shoulder) got through a successful throwing session on Friday. Young has progressed well ever since undergoing shoulder surgery in August, and at this point it looks like he’ll be good to go by the start of the season. He’s a talented pitcher but will always come with the risk of injury

Ok, let’s talk about his dropping velocity. Since he entered the league with Texas, he has been losing velocity on all four of his pitches. His fastball averaged 91.2 mph in 2004 and last year it averaged a Jamie Moyer-ish 85.8 mph. That’s not even fast enuff to travel in time with 1.21 gigawatts from the Flux Capacitor. His velocity is something to keep an eye on in Spring Training. Shoulder issues tend to rob players of power so I have doubts about his 2010 velocity. This is why I am waiting to project and rank Chris Young.

Maybe we should discuss the rising walk rate. It was near 2.50 BB/9 in Texas, and it’s been getting worse ever since he moved to the NL. We’re talking a steady regression: 3.46 BB/9, 3.75 BB/9, 4.22 BB/9 and last year he posted a 4.74 BB/9. Luckily for Chris Young’s WHIP, he is able to maintain a seriously low BABIP (career .265 BABIP when the league avg is a little above .303)

Last season, Young’s K Rate fell off the charts dropping over 2 Ks per 9. It’s nice to see him throwing more sliders at the expense of his fastball, but the loss of control is hurting his F-Strike% and Zone% and thus his Ks. The loss of velocity isn’t helping anything either. If you track the values of his fastball, it looks like Young peaked in 2007 (26.8 runs above average) and will be throwing under hand in 2010.

These disturbing trends and injury history are enuff for me to use my Late Rd pick on some one else. I’m not one to mess with shoulder injuries anyway. I wonder how low his velocity will be this year. I mean, it’s not even feasible to hook him up to the clock tower in hopes of lightning helping his velocity, MLB games are put on hold during electrical storms. Unless Chris Young shows up to Spring Training reaching 88 mph and bringing his 2007 fastball back to the future, I won’t be wasting my time on this Biff.