clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chris Young is undervalued, but he shouldn't be

New, comments

After seeing Beltran get off to a rough start, fans have to wonder if Chris Young will start to see a little more time in the lineup soon.

Does Chris Young deserve a spot in the starting lineup?
Does Chris Young deserve a spot in the starting lineup?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In the short season so far, Carlos Beltran has significantly underperformed. He is batting .143 with an OBP of only .167. Given Beltran's struggles as a right fielder in the everyday lineup, the red hot Chris Young should take some of his at-bats..

The 31-year-old Houston native was signed by the Yankees in 2014 after being a bust for the Mets. Then, after hitting .282/.354/.521 with three homers  in 79 plate appearances, the Yankees re-signed him in November to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. After a strong spring training, Young has hit .357/.438/.857 with a pair of homers in 16 plate appearances to start the season. While Young's numbers are unsustainable, the Yankees should play the hot hand and give him more time.

Minus the 14-4 win over the Red Sox, the Yankees have struggled to score runs in this season. To compare stats, Beltran is ninth on the team in total bases with six, while Young is tied for second with 12 bases. Young also currently has the highest average, slugging percentage, and OPS on the team, granted, with fewer at-bats. And if you want to look at WAR, Beltran, in 2014, was a -0.2, while Young was a 0.9. It's a marginal improvement and a product of small sample size, but an improvement nonetheless. Meanwhile, one could also turn to Garrett Jones to come in and play right field. His 2014 stats showed 15 homers and a .411 slugging percentage, while also playing nine games in right field for the Marlins. Originally brought in to be a 1B/DH, it wouldn't be the smart decision to turn to Jones over Young in right field on a daily basis.

Not only does Young currently provide a boost at the plate, but in the field, as well. Beltran boasted a .946 fielding percentage in 2014 as an outfielder, while Young boasted a percentage of .973, again in fewer chances. Other advanced stats indicate that Beltran hasn't really been an acceptable defender since 2009, Young has at least been adequate. Even if Young is getting fewer chances, he should get more.

Now, don't get me wrong, upgrading at just one position is the least of the Yankees concerns. Problems with some starting pitching, along with defensive problems (an MLB-high nine errors) are the biggest problems for the team this year. But, marginal upgrades like this one will generally help the Yankees, getting more players on base and leading to more chances for runs to be scored.

When the Yankees first brought in Young, he was thought of to be a depth outfielder for the Yankees, coming in to the lineup in case of one of the regulars being fatigued. But, after a very surprising end of 2014 wearing pinstripes, he was re-signed. He is still thought of as "just another guy" in the organization, but he has the talent lately to really provide for this Yankees organization. The Mets bust has turned into a useful Yankees piece.

Fans, do you think it's time to take Beltran out and insert Young, or is there another solution?