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Chris Young is having a special year against left-handed pitching and it needs to continue

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Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Young is having a pretty good 2015 season. His 120 wRC+, even before the home run yesterday, would easily be a career-high if maintained over the rest of the year. If he does fall off somewhat, though, he has already stepped up in a big way while Jacoby Ellsbury has been on the disabled list. If the Yankees do make the postseason, Young will deserve some thanks for what he has already done, whatever he ends up providing in the second half.

The Yankee outfielder has had much success in 2015, despite such pronounced platoon splits at the plate. As a right-handed hitter, Young is incredibly effective against left-handed pitching. This year he has crushed left-handed pitching to the tune of .379/.438/.682 slash, .303 ISO, .209 wRC+ and he's provided positive value, despite the Ellsbury injury forcing him into more time against right-handed hitting. In 104 plate appearances, he's hit .200/.233/.370, .170 ISO, 58 wRC+, but it doesn't even matter because he's been that good against southpaws. He's put up video game numbers, or even better, Babe Ruth or Ted Williams numbers, this year. As good as he's always been against lefties, it's never looked anything like this:

chris young lefty righty

It might be easy to worry that he'll eventually regress, especially since he's done this in just 74 plate appearances, but sometimes, especially after a three-month span, you just have to sit back and enjoy the dominance without worry about what might happen. He's already hit two home runs in Houston, and one of them was actually against a righty, so hopefully he keeps it up a little longer.

Looking at his heatmaps, it must be pretty fun for Young to face a lefty at the moment, considering the way he's likely seeing the ball.

chris young heatmap slugging lefties

The colour spectrum above shows how each spot compares to league average; bright red is particularly good, but there probably needs to be a different color tier for the middle-in square showing .703, since league-average in that location for right-handers facing lefty pitching in 2015 has been .223. Clearly, though, Young is crushing everything in the near vicinity of his favorite spot over home plate.

chris young lefties swinging

Above we have his swing percentage against pitches. Notice how it peaks, relative to league average, middle-in and dead-center, then cools off very quickly when moving away from his preferred hitting zones. Young is clearly seeing the ball well out of the hands of southpaws. It's likely been three months of baseballs looking like watermelons for him. For reference, here is the same distribution for Young against right-handers:

chris young swinging righties

Swinging at everything, he quite simply is a different hitter. A big component of the platoon split is that hitters have an easier time picking the ball up when thrown by a pitcher of opposite hand, and in 2015 Chris Young we have a poster boy for this.

Of course, there is no telling if Chris Young will cool off by the time Ellsbury returns, just as there is no way of saying for certain that he can't keep crushing lefties all year. As long as he is in this form, he simply has to play against left-handers even after Ellsbury returns. Helpfully the Yankees have an easy way to make that happen by platooning Young with Carlos Beltran. Even if Beltran is a switch hitter, Young needs to keep playing against southpaws until he does cool off.

After all, as long as Young keeps doing things like this, he is far too much fun to bench.