Chris Young (youngch04)
Christopher Brandon Young
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Bellaire (TX) High School
- Debut August 18, 2006
- Final Game July 3, 2018
Chris Young is an outfielder who spent the first 7 years of his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played in 30 games with them in 2006 and made the team in 2007. Although his 2007 batting average was low, he hit over 30 home runs in his first full major league season.
Young was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round of the 2001 amateur draft. He was signed by scouts Joe Butler and Paul Provas and debuted professionally in 2002 with the AZL White Sox, hitting .217/.308/.380 and getting caught in over half of his steal attempts. In 2003, Young improved, hitting .290/.357/.479 for the Bristol Sox, stealing 21 bases in 28 tries and scoring 47 runs in 64 games. He also hit .176/.200/.265 in 10 games for the Great Falls White Sox. He made the Appalachian League All-Star team in the outfield and Baseball America rated him the league's #2 prospect behindAdam Miller.
Chris continued to blossom in 2004, batting .261/.366/.503 for the Kannapolis Intimidators. He hit 24 home runs and 31 doubles and scored 83 runs. He struck out 146 times, but drew 67 walks too. He stole 31 bases in 40 tries. His 335 putouts led South Atlantic League outfielders and his 136 games played led the league as well. He did not make the SAL All-Star team, with Josh Anderson, Brandon Moss, Delmon Young and Ryan Goleski claiming the slots. Baseball America rated him the league's #15 prospect, though.
Playing in AA at age 21, Chris hit .277/.377/.545 with the Birmingham Barons. He scored 100 runs in 126 games, cracked 41 doubles, banged out 26 homers, drove in 77, drew 70 walks, struck out 129 times and stole 32 bases in 38 tries. He led the Southern League in slugging, runs, total bases (254), extra-base hits (70) and doubles while tying Brandon Sing for the homer lead. He again missed the All-Star team, with Matt Murton, Delmon Young, Jeremy Hermida and Jerry Owens making the cut. Young was rated the league's #4 prospect by Baseball America behind Delmon Young, Hermida and Jeff Francoeur. The publication also rated him the best defensive outfielder in the SL. Chris played in the 2005 Futures Game, going 0 for 2 while playing the whole game batting 9th and playing in center for the USA.
That winter, Young was traded with Orlando Hernandez and Luis Vizcaino to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Javier Vazquez. Assigned to the Tucson Sidewinders for 2006, Young produced at a .276/.363/.532 clip. He homered 21 times, doubled 32 times, scored 78, drove in 77 and stole 17 bases in 22 tries. Baseball America ranked him as the #7 prospect in the Pacific Coast League between fellow outfielders Matt Kemp and Adam Jones.
Called up to Arizona in August, Young hit .243/.308/.386 in 30 games for the 2006 Diamondbacks. He became a full-time starter in center field the next year, playing 148 games with a .237 average, 29 doubles and 32 homers, with 85 runs, 68 RBI and 27 stolen bases. He was one of the team's offensive leaders as they finished with the best record in the National League and hit .273 with a pair of homers as the D-Backs swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS. In the NLCS, he went 4 for 14 as his team was in turn swept by the Colorado Rockies. He was named to the 2007 Topps All-Star Rookie Team after the season.
Young remained the starter in center field for Arizona from 2008 to 2011, never playing fewer than 134 games during that stretch. Posting relatively low batting averages but with good power, he hit .248 with 42 doubles and 22 homers in 2008, then only .212 with 28 doubles and 15 homers in 2009. He had his best season in 2010, making the All-Star team for the only time of his career, when he hit .257 with 33 doubles and 27 homers, driving in 91 runs and scoring 94. In 2011, the Diamondbacks came out of nowhere to win the NL West title, with Young again the full-time centerfielder. He played 156 games, hitting .236 with 38 doubles and 20 homers, scoring 89 runs and driving in 71. In the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers, he was outstanding, going 7 for 18 with 5 runs, a double and 3 homers, but his team was beaten in 5 games by the Brew Crew.
After seven seasons with the Diamondbacks, Young was traded to the Oakland Athletics on October 20, 2012 in return for SS Cliff Pennington and minor league infielder Yordy Cabrera. He was coming off his poorest season with the D-Backs, having hit .231 in 101 games, with 14 homers and 41 games. The games played, homers and RBIs were the lowest since his first full season, and the home run his second worst. His struggles continued with the A's in 2013, as he hit only .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 107 games. He failed to keep a regular job in the outfield, backing the team's regulars at all three positions and became an afterthought in the postseason, not getting any playing time as the A's were defeated by the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. No longer figuring in the A's plans, he signed a one-year contract with the New York Mets on November 22nd.
Young was the starting centerfielder for the Mets on Opening Day, March 31, 2014, but he lasted just one inning before having to leave the game with a strained quadriceps and going on the disabled list. He came back a couple of weeks later and played 88 games for the Mets, splitting time between left field and center. He hit .205 with 8 homers and 28 RBI before being released on August 15th. The New York Yankees signed him on August 27th and he got to play the hero on September 11th, when the Tampa Bay Rays' Alex Cobb was cruising along in the 8th inning with a 4-0 lead at New Yankee Stadium, not having allowed a hit yet. Young broke that bid with a one-out double, then came to score when pinch-hitter Martin Prado followed with a homer. But he wasn't done; in the 9th, he hit a walk-off three-run homer against Jake McGee to give the Yankees an improbable 5-4 win. He pulled off more heroics on September 13th when he doubled and stole home in a double steal with Antoan Richardson to score a key run in a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. He ended with a .282 average in 23 games for the Yankees, for a combined batting line of .222 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs in 111 games. A free agent after the season, he became the first member of that year's class to find a team, re-signing with the Yankees for one year on November 9th.
Young played 140 games for the Yankees in 2015, taking advantage of various injuries to starters Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to get a lot more playing time than the Yankees had initially planned for him. He did well, hitting .252 with 20 doubles and 14 homers in 318 at-bats, good for a slugging percentage of .453, 53 runs and 42 RBIs. He started games at all three outfield positions, with more starts in left, but more games ion right, where he often replaced Beltran late in games. He was selected to start the Wild Card Game against the Houston Astros on October 6th in center field, taking the place of Ellsbury against lefthander Dallas Keuchel. He went 0 for 2 with a walk as the Yankees were shut out. He became a free agent again after the season and signed with the Boston Red Sox on November 30th.
On August 25, 2017, Young was involved in an exceedingly rare situation, as he was allowed to re-enter a game from which he had been removed. The Red Sox were blown out by the Baltimore Orioles, 16-3, that day, and as is often the case in such lop-sided games, a position player came to the mound to spare the bullpen the task of pitching the final inning. In this case, it was Mitch Moreland who moved from first base to the mound, while Hanley Ramirez came off the bench to replace him at first base. The result of that move was that the Red Sox had forfeited the use of the designated hitter for the remainder of the game, and as a result Ramirez had taken over Young's place in the batting order. However, when the Red Sox came to bat in the bottom of the 9th, Rafael Devers led off with a fly out and Young then stepped up to bat when it should have been Ramirez's turn. He hit an infield single, but no one objected, and the hit was left to stand as Rajai Davis followed him to the plate. He is thus listed in the boxscore as starting at DH and batting 7th, being replaced by 1B Ramirez in the top of the 9th, and pinch-hitting for Ramirez in the bottom of the 9th, his illegal plate appearance having been legitimized by the fact no one appealed. Still, home plate umpire Scott Barry clearly erred in this case: if in a case of batting out of turn, he should not interfere until the victimized team objects, in the case of an illegal batter, he should have intervened immediately and called on the proper man to come up to bat. He hit .235 in 90 games that season, with 7 homers and 25 RBIs, and was initially left off the roster for the Division Series against the Houston Astros. However, in the 1st inning of Game 1 on October 5th, Eduardo Nunez re-aggravated a knee injury, and Chris replaced him on the roster after the game. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2018 season and hit .168 with 6 homers and 13 RBIs in 56 games before retiring after the season. He joined MLB Network as an on-air analyst in 2021.
Main sources: 2002-2007 Baseball Almanacs
- 2007 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- NL All-Star (2010)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2007, 2008, 2010 & 2011)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2007)