Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Chris Young returning to Mets

by Nicholas Minnix on June 4, 2012 @ 16:05:34 PDT

 


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On Tuesday, the New York Mets will send Chris Young to the mound for his first start since May 1, 2011, when he was also a member of the club. In late March of this year, the Mets re-signed the right-hander to a minor league deal.

Young
10-tm mixed Pass
12-tm mixed Watch
15-tm mixed Watch
NL-only Acquire

Young tore the anterior capsule in his right shoulder last season. In mid-May of 2012, he underwent a procedure similar to the one that Johan Santana did about eight months prior, as Adam Rubin relates. Young had hoped to land a major league contract for this campaign, but no organization was willing to guarantee him a deal, understandably.

Young's extensive injury history includes plenty of shoulder problems. In addition, it's fair to wonder if he's gone through ample rehabilitation of the joint considering that he's returning to professional action months ahead of when Santana did.

When he's been healthy, the 6-foot-10, 260-pounder has been productive. Lifetime, he has a 3.74 ERA, a 7.83 K.9 and a 3.55 BB/9. Throughout his career, he's been a heavy - heavy - fly-ball pitcher (53.3 percent fly-ball rate), so he's benefited from making his homes at spacious ballparks. But many of those lofts were easy outs (15.5 percent infield fly rate), too.

Will this incarnation of Young hold up at the new and improved Citi Field? In four starts for New York's minor league affiliates Port St. Lucie (advanced Class A, three) and Buffalo (Class AAA, one), the 33-year-old was 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA. True to form, he induced 0.30 ground-outs for every air-out in that time.

Red flags for prospective investors include the 3.52 K/9 (versus a 1.96 BB/9, at least) and multiple reports that Young's velocity was in the low 80s for those rehab appearances. Young has never been a blow-them-away pitcher, but he was merely surviving when his heat lived in the mid-80s for the last three years, before injuries curbed those seasons.

As Rubin notes, Young received extra days of rest between starts while he was in the minors. His Tuesday outing will be his first of the year - and in more than a year - on normal rest. The righty went through a few months of sim games and extended spring training, but the lack of work under the conditions he'll encounter in the bigs is disconcerting.

Young is a crafty pitcher and, at this stage, if he endures, will do so primarily because of his smarts. Given the cases of those who've had similar surgeries, there's reason to hope that he'll be a reliable arm in due time. The Mets may be pushing it, however, considering the amount of work that the pitchers with those inspirational stories put in before they were back in form.

NL-only managers should be willing to stash Young should he prove to be healthy and end up looking like a possible asset. Those in other formats will want a lot to go on before they let him occupy a roster spot.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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