Sep 15, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Chris Young (24) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Young isn’t the flashiest free agent on the market. He isn’t coming off of a great season. But could he have a big impact with the Astros? Absolutely, and teams won’t be lining up with offers, either. Young may fit the Astros financial constraints perfectly, while offering a huge upside in the process.
The 31-year old Young is originally from Houston, which should put the Astros in the running. His lackluster performance over the past two seasons (.211 batting average, 23 home runs, 78 rbi over those seasons) should make him affordable for a Houston team that isn’t looking to add too much in the way of payroll. Left field was a problem area for the Astros in 2014, with Robbie Grossman (67 games), Alex Presley (43) and L.J. Hoes (36) receiving most of the playing time in front of the Crawford boxes.
Let’s compare the numbers of these four players in their 2014 campaigns.
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For all intents and purposes, Chris Young was the equivalent of Robbie Grossman last season, while playing marginally better defense. This still doesn’t sound appealing does it? Here is where it gets interesting. In 2013, with the Oakland Athletics, Young was able to play at Minute Maid Park, in front of friends and family. In those games, Young went 10-for-30 (.333), with three home runs (he hit four in Oakland in 176 at-bats) and drove in nine. There may be something special about playing in Houston for the outfielder.
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Still not convinced? Lets add in his stats against the AL West that season. Against Seattle, he went 8-for-25 (.320) with two home runs and four rbi. Against the Angels, Young batted a paltry .192 in 51 at-bats, but against Texas, Young picked it up again, going 11-for-34 (.324) with two home runs and seven rbi. In 2014 against Oakland, Young sought revenge while a member of the New York Mets, going 3-for-7 (.429) with three home runs and four rbi. Sure, these are small sample sizes, but Chris Young could definitely turn around his career trajectory as a member of the Houston Astros in 2015.
To sign Young, there likely won’t be much competition. The Yankees may look to re-sign him after putting together a decent run with them in 23 games down the stretch. Can the Astros compete financially with the Yankees? No, but they can offer him something no other team in the majors can: a chance to come home.